Customer photos: A huge untapped resource for social media marketers

Kyle Wong
Follow Kyle
People love looking at photos of their peers (Source: Getty)

It should come as no surprise that 92 per cent of marketers believe social media is an important aspect of their business (as reported by the Social Media Examiner).

Where it continues to lag behind other channels, however, is in the ability to measure return on investment (ROI). Only one in three marketers say they are able to effectively measure ROI from their social media initiatives.
One of the biggest issues is the sheer volume of associated data. It is a daunting task to sift through and garner any useful information, let alone assign a quantitative value to it. What is the actual business value of a Like? A new Follower? A Retweet?
With so many platform-specific metrics, it can be hard to put together any cohesive insights.


Customer photos are arguably the single most valuable, digestible, and actionable form of social media data available to businesses. And 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.
Consumers post more than 1.8bn 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.
First, 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, their followers, network, location, sentiments, and behaviour.
Next, identify key influencers and evangelists and act on it. Not every photo or customer is created equal. Find and leverage your influential customers with large social followings or powerful social influence. Then act to contact them to celebrate and solidify their loyalty.
Finally, 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 how customers naturally interact with the products they buy.


By understanding how customers are engaging with your brand across social media, and harnessing the compelling power of their own content, customer photos can drive hard and measurable ROI across multiple channels.
Customers respond twice as well to pictures as text. By displaying customer photos on the product pages of your website, you can drive higher conversion and allow shoppers to see how real customers enjoy and use your products.
You can also grow brand awareness and affinity through customer campaigns. There are so many ways that customer photos can enhance a marketing campaign – create photo contests, highlight individual customers, and build a community of fans. Give customers a place to return to time and time again in order to interact with your brand and inspire new customers.
Shoppable social media photo galleries, meanwhile, can boost average online order value and product discoverability. People love looking at photos of their peers – 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.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

Related articles