What are Customer Photos?
Customer photos are some of the most valuable assets in modern content advertising strategies.
A form of user-generated content (also known as consumer generated media), customer photos are any pictures taken by consumers that can be leveraged by eCommerce brands in marketing.
Customer photos are valuable because, unlike branded images created by companies, they’re authentic and engaging to other consumers.
Customer photos often include mention or reference to a brand’s product or service.
They can be posted by customers directly to social media and later collected by companies, or can be solicited by companies as part of customer review requests, contests, or other initiatives.
Why Are Customer Photos Important?
Like other forms of user-generated content (UGC), customer photos and images are far more powerful in the eyes of consumers than branded photos. Some reasons for this include:
- They blend into social media: Customers usually scroll over branded photos in social media because they feel distinctly different from other content in a user’s feed and thus stand out as advertisements. Customer photos, on the other hand, integrate smoothly into social media, since most were created with social media in mind. Customers are far more likely to view and follow links connected to customer images than branded images.
- They are strong testimonials: Customers know best what interests them and helps them about a product. Thus, customer photos get to the heart of why they purchased a product and what they enjoy about it. Customer pictures take the guesswork out of marketing, and let happy customers communicate directly with prospective buyers.
- They are highly trusted: The value of a real customer photo is that it taps into social proof, which describes how humans respond positively to what others enjoy, while avoiding what others disapprove of. Customer pictures tap straight into the human instinct to trust what one’s peers say about products and services, influencing the consumer decision-making process. Our data shows that photos increase conversion rates, with a whopping 77% of customers preferring user-generated photos.
- They come with built-in stats: When customer photos are collected by brands on social media, businesses can choose the photos that received the most attention, likes, and shares in their initial post. This means that businesses can highlight photos they know will do well with customers, rather than gambling with a new branded image that is expensive and could flop.
How to Use Customer Photos Effectively
Here are just a few methods to utilize customer photos in a marketing strategy:
- Create a customer photo gallery on your website: This adds authenticity to a branded site, making it feel more personal and approachable. It also encourages customers to share their own photos so they might be featured, while generating a feeling of exclusivity for those spotlighted, increasing their brand loyalty.
- Add customer photos to reviews: Customer pictures give prospective buyers a peek at what the product could be like in real life by showing them how someone else used or enjoyed it. This can relieve the anxiety that many feel about purchasing an item online that they are unable to hold in their own hands and try out.
- Integrate customer photos into branded social media: Featuring customer photos on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other platforms can create the same authentic, exclusive feel as a website gallery, while capitalizing on customer photos’ social media benefits discussed above.
Like other types of UGC, customer pictures are most impactful when they feature people, not just products, and specifically people’s faces.
Businesses should highlight photos that show customers enjoying the products, not just the items themselves.
Furthermore, consumers trust media posted by people similar to themselves, so brands should feature customer images posted by people similar to their target audiences in terms of age, appearance, and other demographics.