Let your Customers Sell For You.
The power of photos is unprecedented. There are 1.8 billion photos being shared every day, and they have the potential to be one of the most authentic and compelling assets available to any brand.
Research shows that customers are more likely to engage with photos than text reviews and product pages that include customer photos can increase conversion up to 30%. The power of word-of-mouth is not news to any marketer and with the rise of photo-sharing applications like Instagram, people have the perfect platform to seamlessly share their opinions and experiences.
Designer brands were one of the first to understand the true value of the customer photo. Burberry launched the Art of the Trench - asking customers to upload images of them wearing the brand’s iconic trench coat – there surely is no better way to showcase their product than with real, fashionable people wearing it.
The travel industry is also starting to understand the significance of customer photos within the purchase process. Sydney’s 1888 Hotelhave positioned themselves as one of the world’s most Instagrammable hotels, stating they ‘embrace the fact that all modern travellers take memories away with them using their smartphones and share their experience with friends’ and so, in turn, present their hotel ‘in its truest light, straight from your camera’.
Micheal Tiedy, Senior Vice President of Brand Design & Innovation at Starwood Hotels and Resorts has also reported a shift in behaviour, with the new traveller seeking out hotel accommodation where they can feel ‘at home, connected and part of an experience’ - which real-life customer photos have the ability to convey far more compellingly than staged ‘lifestyle’ photography.
With 66% of UK consumers saying they trust customer photos more than brand or retailer photos it can only be perceived as a win-win situation for brands. Your customer base can provide you with free, authentic and original content that can ultimately sell for you, whilst your customers gain a powerful peer recommendation tool that can help to provide inspiration and validate their purchases.
You may be asking yourself ‘but what if Instagram is just the latest fad’? I could invest in integrating Instagram into my website and in a few years’ time people are no longer using it?
With the powerful rise of smartphones, faster broadband and image-centric social platforms becoming a standard feature for social expression and recommendations, we are no longer looking at a trend but an irreversible step in the evolution of the purchasing process. Instragram may not be the platform that everyone is using in 5 years’ time but we can’t predict the future, and to be perceived as a market leader you need to quickly start adopting and embracing the power user generated content has on influencing conversion and purchase.