When It Comes to Social, Be Like a Kardashian

"Selfie X 6," © 2014 Mussi Katz, used under a Creative Commons Attribution license.

“Selfie X 6,” © 2014 Mussi Katz, used under a Creative Commons Attribution license.

In addition to customer reviews and word-of-mouth praise, there’s another valuable marketing tool your customers can help you out with that you may not be making the most of: the selfie.

As Jeff Soriano of MarketingProfs points out: “The Kardashian clan has helped elevate the act of taking photos of one’s face into a marketing force to be reckoned with. … Today’s brands encourage audiences to take and share selfies, snaps, and other forms of visual user generated content; and many distribute that content to communities across the globe.”

Soriano shares four tips “to get in on — and monetize — the trend that Kim K. brought into the spotlight.” Read them all at MarketingProfs, and check out two below:

Request customers’ selfies and provide incentives

Most millennials are digital natives: They came of age in a culture saturated with digital media, and 71% engage with social media every day. Taking selfies and creating visual UGC is a natural way for millennials to communicate and engage with their peers.

To enter the conversation from a brand’s perspective, you need to be direct in your ask and offer incentives for your customers to share their content.

To start, align a strategic business goal with a UGC campaign and hashtag. New York City-based fitness company SoulCycle launched a specific campaign to attract male customers and simultaneously support Movember, an annual men’s health movement that encourages men to grow mustaches throughout November. SoulCycle named the initiative #NoMoExcuses, and the campaign invited men to share photos along with common excuses that had prevented them from joining a cycling class. The company then curated an online gallery of select customer photos and quotes, and paired it with a referral form for a free exercise class. By the end of the month, the gallery had nearly 50,000 views, 4,500 captured email addresses, and 5,300 new male customer referrals—a 35% increase in new male customers, and a 44% overall increase in new customers, per store location.

Keep in mind that incentives don’t necessarily have to come in the form of a discount or prize. Many brands see a successful return from simply recognizing their customers and highlighting the UGC on the brand’s social channels. For example, during the 2015 NHL playoffs, a campaign called #MyPlayoffsMoment encouraged fans to share videos that showed their views of games and celebrated their favorite teams. By promising to feature fan videos in a gallery, the NHL collected more than 120,000 pieces of UGC.

Think quality, not quantity

Here’s a campaign goal that I’ve heard more than once from first-time UGC marketers: ‘We’re aiming to collect 100,000 selfies.’

Meanwhile, here’s one that I’ve seen translated to real business results: ‘We’re aiming to collect high-quality UGC that we can reuse.’

UGC has common threads with social, digital, and traditional marketing, but it won’t prove its ROI if you’re simply aiming for quantity. After all, if you’re requesting selfies from customers, your goal likely isn’t to just store the photos on a hard drive and forget them. Rather, you want to curate, and use them in ongoing and upcoming campaigns, strategically connecting this valuable UGC with key audiences to support future business efforts.”

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