It’s no secret that fans on social media engage more with content that’s generated from friends or family. It’s only natural to have an interest in those people who mean the most to you. This is why social sites like Facebook and Twitter have algorithms to tailor your Newsfeed with content from friends who you interact with the most, in hopes that you will be prompted to like, share, tweet, etc. on a more consistent basis.
Now, this more approachable and relatable type of content is allowing brands take a big step in how they sell and advertise to the world. Instead of glossy, high-fashion shots, many brands and advertisers are aggregating user-generated images to push product awareness and overall brand loyalty.
When working on Herbal Essences, I came up with the strategy of incorporating more Instagrammed imagery onto our Facebook and Twitter pages to better relate to our young, female customer base. By using photos that looked like one our own fan would create, we were able to successfully insert the brand into a conversation that was already taking place within the social space. As a result, we saw an immediate increase in engagement.
Companies like Urban Outfitters plan to push the envelope further by including UGC (user-generated content) on their product pages to create an even fuller shopping experience. As quoted from AdWeek, “Social-generated images are creeping up on all of our marketing channels. That’s where our customers are,” said Moira Gregonis, senior marketing manager at Urban Outfitters.
Additional large retailers, including Dannijo and NastyGal, are also adding Instagrammed shots from consumers to their websites in hopes of increasing sales. “The user-generated content we pull [with the software] increases conversion rates,” said Mary Mentz, e-commerce strategist for Dannijo. “Our customers are six times more likely to purchase with [the social pictures] on our product pages.”
Although some brands wonder what they are truly getting back from highlighting fan photos, only time will tell. As for now, it’s clear that they are driving more social engagement, simply because this new (and free) content is more approachable and relatable to “real” people. Just as user testimonials help a customer down the purchase funnel, so will these highly visual images of real people in actual product!
How do you feel about brands using YOUR images to sell products?