Today's consumers are more demanding than ever, and to win their business, brands need to find a way to personally connect with their customers. One of the most effective ways to do this is through user-generated content.
Olapic is an e-commerce company that helps brands, like Lululemon, collect, curate and display user-generated photo galleries shared through Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to increase brand engagement. The goal is to present content that's more relatable to consumers than, say, a fashion model. Customers go shopping at Lululemon, then are encouraged to take pictures of themselves working out in the gear. They can also leave comments about the fit, feel, fabric and more.
Read More: User-Generated Content: Lessons from 4 Killer Ad Campaigns
The way Olapic works is simple: Shoppers make a purchase, post a photo and comment about the experience. That photo and comment is then channeled to the company's e-commerce site.
Olapic and Lululemon aren't the only companies attuned to this trend. After Rent The Runway recently started the "MyRunway" section on its site, where users can post photos of the outfits they rent, brand engagement completely skyrocketed, CEO Jenn Hyman recently told us.
How can you generate content from customers and increase your digital footprints? Jose de Cabo, founder of Olapic, shares seven of his most effective tips:
1. Help customers tell a story through a new medium. "[At Olapic] we're all about allowing consumers and users to communicate with a brand in a visual way, and to unleash their creativity," Cabo says. "Photos are a great way to tell stories, and that's what we're doing with e-commerce."
2. Make every consumer feel he or she is an ambassador for your brand. "Essentially, your happy customers can help potential customers see good experiences with your brand," Cabo says.
3. Use customer content to increase your credibility. "When potential customers see other women wearing Lululemon, they are better-educated about different products and whether they'll like them," Cabo says. "That 'message' from another consumer is more powerful than anything you as a company put out."
4. Tap into the social scene. "Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram are increasingly important to the global stage," Cabo says. "User-generated experiences through pictures are an amazing way to connect on those mediums and be a part of your customers' lives."
5. Be bold when it comes to growing your community. "Because small businesses don't have the legacy that larger brands have, they can enter the user-generated content community in a bolder way," Cabo says. "If they're posting more photos, the community grows because more people see it and get involved."
6. Use this as a way to educate customers. Cabo uses the example of body types and clothing. "If someone posts that she has a certain body type or shape and a product works for her, that is going to increase the odds that another person with that body type buys the product and is happy with it," Cabo says. "Educating consumers gives you the power."
7. Aim to change the customer experience. "This is a way to let customers unleash their creativity," Cabo says. "What we're doing with e-commerce is allowing the consumer to represent the brand and helping other potential consumers to see it live."
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