It should come as no surprise that 92% of marketers believe social media to be an important aspect of their business (Social Media Examiner). The concept of social media as a marketing tool had its early and late adopters, but there is little doubt that has firmly taken root as a core channel for today’s marketer.
Where social continues to lag behind other channels is in marketers’ ability to measure social media ROI and derive tangible value from their efforts in social media. Only one in three marketers say that they are able to effectively measure return on investment from social media initiatives.
One of the biggest issues with measuring social ROI is the sheer volume of associated data. It becomes a daunting task to sift through and garner any useful information, let alone assign a quantitative value to them. What is the actual business value of a Like? A new Follower? A Retweet? With so many metrics, oftentimes specific to a given platform, it can be hard to put together any cohesive insights and learnings.
So where should you start?
User-generated content. Photos from your customers are arguably the single most valuable, digestible, and actionable form of social media data available to businesses. On top of that, user generated content is easily one of the most cost efficient forms of brandable media. It comes virtually “pre-branded” by consumers and costs brands almost nothing to use.
What can you learn from your customer photos?
Consumers post more than 1.8 billion photos online every day, many of which are about the brands and products they love. These photos are a goldmine of data about how your customers interact with your brand.
1. Find out who is engaging with your brand: It’s not always easy (or cheap) to learn about your customers. But customer content on social media is often overlooked as an important data source. Each photo contains data about the user, his followers, network, location, sentiments, and behavior.
2. Identify key brand influencers and brand advocates and act on it: Not every photo or customer is created equal. Find and leverage your social media influencers with large social followings or powerful social influence. Then act to contact them to celebrate and solidify their loyalty.
3. Understand the post-purchase experience: Brands spend millions on focus groups to understand how customers actually use their products. Customer photos offer an authentic, unique and powerful way to see the how customers naturally interact with the products they buy.
How can customer photos be used to drive higher social media ROI?
The value of customer photos does not stop at data and insights. By understanding how customers are engaging with your brand across social media, and harnessing the moving power of their own content, customer photos can drive hard and measurable ROI across multiple channels.
1. Drive higher online conversion with visual reviews: Customers respond twice as well to a picture as they do text. By displaying customer photos on product pages on your eCommerce website, you can drive higher conversion and allow shoppers to see how real customers enjoy and use your products.
2. Grow brand awareness and affinity with engaging customer experiences and campaigns: There are so many ways that customer photos can enhance a marketing campaign. Create photo contests, highlight customers, and build a community of fans. Give customers a place to return time and time again to interact with your brand and inspire new customers.
3. Increase average online order value and product discoverability with social commerce: People love looking at photos of their peers; I mean, that’s the entire foundation of Instagram. Create curated and engaging look books and inspiration galleries on your website and Facebook. These use authentic customer photos to highlight your products, allowing browsers to discover new products with direct click-to-buy.