3rd June 2015

Photomonials – Converting Customer Selfies Into Sales

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What Are Photomonials?
With over 2 billion photos uploaded to social media every day, it’s no surprise that many of these photos feature people’s favourite purchases or services they’ve received.

In particular in the fashion retail side of things, people even use specific hashtags to showcase their favourite or new buys such as the #OOTD (outfit of the day – a shot of that person’s outfit), the #Shoefie (shoe selfie – yes it’s a thing!), or even just hash-tagging the brands name on images where they’re wearing their products i.e #MissSelfridge #Primark etc.

How Brands Can Use Photomonials
It makes sense therefore that brands should take advantage of these customer produced photos to use them as an effective and free visual endorsement of their products. Brands can achieve this by using referral marketing applications such as ShopSocially or Olapic which grab the images from specific hashtags and upload them to a gallery on the site, with links to the featured products next to the images. A good example of a brand already implementing this is the popular fashion retailer Topshop.

If you use the the hashtag #TopshopStyle on an image featuring one of their products, someone from the Topshop social team leaves you a comment asking you to reply with #YesTopshop for a chance to feature in their gallery (once you’ve read their terms and conditions). If you reply this then gives Topshop the rights to use your image royalty free on any of their social media channels or websites, for marketing or advertising purposes.

If your image is chosen it will then appear on the #TopshopStyle gallery section of the website, located at the bottom of the homepage.

If site users then click on your image there will be a link to the products you’ve featured. This gives Topshop customers the chance to see how other’s have styled Topshop products (including ones they may not have seen) and possibly inspire them to want to buy the looks or items themselves. It also ultimately turns those sharing the images into brand ambassadors (without Topshop having to actually pay or employ them – win!).

And it’s not just fashion retailers using this platform, popular American chain restaurant The Cheesecake Factory uses photomonials by taking social media images with the hashtag #TheCheeseCakeFactory and showcasing them in a sidebar on their homepage as (mouth watering) customer images.

What Makes Photomonials So Effective?
Of course user generated content isn’t a new thing – brands have been using their fans images for marketing purposes for a while, whether it’s through one of the many “get a selfie with our product to win” or the “tell us your story” campaigns, customer content is everywhere. However, using photomonials in this new, referral marketing way not only makes it easier for brands to acquire content, but it also actually provides them with more useful content for their customers. Just think – an image of how to style a bag from your favourite brand compared to a picture of a random person you don’t know doing their best duck face selfie with the bag – which is going to be more useful for you?