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Social proof: the value of using customer UGC to amplify brand awareness in retail

Social proof: the value of using customer UGC to amplify brand awareness in retail

For many online retailers, especially those who are not yet a household name, social media can play a huge role in raising awareness of your brand amongst your target audience. Getting people to notice you on social media is one thing, but inspiring people to actually engage with your brand and even start talking about you with other people online, is a whole different level when it comes to marketing your brand and the benefits it can bring.

 

Social proof, in the context of online retail, is essentially the principle that people will choose a particular behaviour (in this case – talking about and buying your products) when they see other people doing the same thing on social media. These people could be friends, celebrities or influencers, industry experts or even complete strangers. All can still be effective in encouraging potential customers to notice and remember your brand and move them along in their buyer journey.

This blog covers a few simple ways in which you can utilise the user generated content (UGC) that your customers are probably already creating about you and your products, to help enhance and amplify your own brand-building activity.

Using curated reposts of UCG on your brand social media channels

Using platforms such as Instagram, and especially the Stories feature, to repost images that your customers have made of themselves wearing or using your products can be an ideal way to build on the social proof surrounding your brand.  However, you can’t just use people’s own social media images without their permission, and you don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you’re having to individually contact people to check if they’re happy for you to repost images under the brand’s account.

A simple way around this is to encourage people to use a specific hashtag in social posts about your brand that serves as permission for you to repost their images. One of our clients, Daisy London, uses this to great effect with their #imwearingdaisy hashtag on Instagram.

Customers will photograph themselves wearing the jewellery, post it on their own account using the hashtag and Daisy London will then select their favourite images to repost in a weekly roundup Instagram Story, as well as in grid posts at times. If you see this Story, whether you actually know any of the people featured or not, you can easily see the products being used in various different settings, with a range of aesthetics, outfits and styles, which could help you decide that a piece featured would look great with such and such from your wardrobe.

As your brand grows, customers having their images featured by the brand account gains a certain kudos that appeals to many people, giving them the motivation to create a great visual and make sure the right hashtag is used so they have the best chance of being reposted by you.

Feature UGC prominently on your website

Depending on what platform your website is built (e.g. WordPress, Shopify, Magento), you can usually install a plugin or app that will allow your site to feature a feed of social media images, which can incorporate UGC. Some plugins simply feature all of your own posts or all public posts using a specific hashtag, but many also allow moderation or curation, so you can ensure that everything that appears on your site is on-brand, as well as avoiding spam images.

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Spend time engaging with customers’ own relevant social posts

Customers want to know that they are heard when they tag or mention your brand on social media – whether it’s a customer service question or UGC that they are posting. By keeping on top of your social listening and responding to customers within a short timeframe, with short, positive comments and likes, this acts as proof that you care about the people that buy from you. Yes, it can be a little resource-intensive, but the benefits can far outweigh this as you become known as a brand that responds to, engages with and understands their audience very well.

Using the content that is generated by your customers is a valuable resource that can help them feel more engaged with you as a brand, and therefore more likely become unofficial brand advocates within their own networks, as well as providing you with social proof that can help to increase wider awareness and sales. It’s a win-win situation!

For more information about influencer marketing or indeed info on any of our digital marketing services, feel free to get in touch today on 0800 011 9715 or visit Fashion Digital Marketing.

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