If you have an e-commerce store, you already know that product photos and videos are the most important element of your online business. In fact, if you don’t provide a good image quality of the items that you sell online, people can quickly abandon your website in the blink of an eye. They simply wouldn’t trust your store, and find your competitors’ sites expecting to be awed by a better visual product presentation. If you take a look at the best social media campaigns that appeal to most followers, you’ll see examples of visual media in their social posts. The truth is, photos and videos make or break your e-commerce success in this digital age. Want more traffic and sales? Create referral marketing campaigns that tap into photo and video trends.
Connect Your Customers to Your Products Through Photos and Videos
Photos and videos that paint a vivid picture of your e-commerce products in the hands of your customers have their own way of activating an interest in prospective customers. If you can get their attention on your ‘product of the day’ or ‘best seller items’, it somehow sticks with them and online shoppers often return to the site and purchase them. Unlike physical stores where customers can touch and feel the products, good images and videos help customers relate to your e-commerce products. It allows them to understand your products, by being able to imagine the fit, the feel or the experience of having or owning whatever it is that you’re selling online. And so, since they can picture it, the more they would desire it and eventually buy it. Let customer product photos and videos do the marketing for you, and all you have to do is link to your store product pages where they can fill up their cart and checkout. If you get good at this visual shopping system, your e-commerce shop can enjoy more sales as it attracts more online prospects that turn into avid buyers.
Authentic Photos and Videos Go A Long, Long Way
Great user-generated product visuals are also more likely to be shared across social networks. Have you seen the smart retailers leveraging customer images on visual social media sites like Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Polyvore and others? Some product images have become viral because they were posted at the right place and seen by the right online communities that consist of thousands of people in their target market. That’s why it’s possible for your e-commerce products to be an instant hit. If you publish it on the right social networking site, and it gets shared over and over again, you’ll have free brand exposure to a big targeted crowd. Taking the effort to attract high-quality customer-generated product photos and videos is worth your time and resources!
How to Use Photos and Videos to Sell More
To start a referral program that banks on your product photos and videos, here are some of the things that you need to understand. First, you’ll have to ask your customers and social connections to participate. They need to submit photos or a video to your branded gallery. Remember, you’re not offering a prize or reward like other referral marketing strategies. Instead, by implementing a photo and video sharing gallery, you’re simply providing a branded social sharing environment for your customers and followers. Encourage them to share their entry with their friends at the time of upload. When friends click the link to view their photo or video, they’ll see how passionate your customers are about your products. Now, for sales to happen, make sure that you include links to the e-commerce store pages next to each photo/video so visitors can go directly to your product pages. You’ll also link to the gallery from your Instagram profile page, so you can monetize your following. Don’t worry, the technical aspect of putting this together is easy and affordable, thanks to a new software platform that we’ll tell you about later in the article.
Photo and Video Sharing Is the Key to Boosting Your E-commerce Revenue
Do you know why a referral program that’s based on user-generated photo and video sharing works? Simply put, it’s vanity. People naturally want the attention centered on them. If your customers love your products and believe in your brand, they’ll want to be showcased as a form of personal expression. For sure, they’ll share their photo or video so they can be the first to introduce your products to their friends and followers. Social shares are converted to sales by offering links to your e-commerce store on the gallery microsite. We recommend adding a first-time buyer coupon code to the social share of any photo or video in the gallery. Another best practice is, to set up the campaign to automatically share the photos or videos to your brand’s social feeds once you approve them.
How to Start Your Own Photo and Video Sharing Gallery Referral Program
Now that you know how the magic happens when photos and videos get shared, here’s exactly how to do it. It takes four steps to create a photo and video sharing gallery referral program. You can easily set it up and have it running in a very short time. Make sure to follow carefully.
1) Start with a great theme and hashtag for your photo or video gallery.
Do you sell visually appealing products like jewelry, clothing, footwear, bags, etc.? You’ll get the best results by asking for in-use photos or videos. If you sell products that are used to create a visual transformation in something else (e.g., diet pill, cosmetics, etc.), implement a before-and-after format for the biggest impact. If none of the above apply to your products, focus on photos or videos that would be inspiring based on the common interests of your customers. For example, a sporting goods retailer can ask for amazing photos from their outdoor adventures. When you’ve decided what your theme will be about, choose a hashtag to include in social shares of the submitted photos or videos.
Set-up your marketing software to automatically add the hashtag to all social shares, so followers can quickly filter their news feed to display all of your photos or videos. We recommend requiring users to submit their photos or videos directly to your microsite versus via a public hashtag. This allows you to approve the submissions before they are added to the public hashtag and gallery. Also, the submission form allows you to capture an email opt-in and gives you legal rights to use their photo or video for commercial use (very important!).
2) Build your photo or video sharing gallery microsite.
Create a web page that’s dedicated for all the activities involved in your photo or video sharing referral program. You can send your customers here to submit their photo or video, agree to the rules, share their submission, etc. There are a number of software providers that offer turn-key systems to be up and running quickly with a program site that matches the look and feel of your brand and takes care of tracking all the referrals. Some of them, like Sociamonials, can offer you upgraded features, such as adding ‘Buy Now’ links for one or more products featured in each customer photo or video. The links are tracked automatically so you can see how much revenue each photo or video generated.
3) Launch your gallery.
Once set-up and you’ve built your microsite, your photo or video sharing gallery is ready to launch. Go ahead and tell all your customers and online friends to join and upload their photos and video. Create social media posts frequently that announce the launch of your photo or video gallery. Feature your first entries so everybody can get a taste of how fun it is to use your products and join the photo or video campaign. Make sure that your gallery updates real-time whenever it receives new submissions.
4) Include your photo or video sharing gallery in all of your social media channels and online assets.
Specifically, here are six best places where to post information about your program:
Use your Instagram profile page to promote your branded gallery by including a link to the site.
Email your entire subscriber list, inviting them to submit a photo or video to the gallery. Provide a link to the microsite. Also, whenever your customers purchase a product, send a follow-up email a couple of days after the item is expected to be received. Use your marketing automation software to automate this process.
Facebook page tab
Add a tab on your Facebook page. Then add your gallery microsite to that tab. Remember, sharing comes naturally to those on Facebook. Simply invite your friends and fans to share your photo or video gallery to their friends.
Store page banner
Put up a banner on your home page where visitors are directed to the gallery microsite.
If your gallery contains in-use or before-and-after photos or videos of a specific product you sell, we recommend promoting it on the product page. Your software provider will provide copy-and-paste code for the following methods of doing this, any of which will work well:
Embed the campaign anywhere on the page. We recommend keeping it lower on the page, somewhere below the ‘Buy Now’ button.
This is a tab that emerges from the edge of the browser window. Clicking the tab reveals the microsite.
Simply add a button anywhere on the page. Clicking the button triggers a popup window.
Social media news feeds
Post a link to the gallery microsite on all of your social media feeds routinely. Also, setup your microsite to also publish approved photos and videos to your brand’s social media news feeds.
Make Your Gallery And Referral Program A Success!
Test which social posts and social media channels produce the most revenue and put some money behind paid ads to amplify what’s working. Make the sharing experience as fun, memorable and rewarding as possible. Praise remarkable photo or video submissions in your social media channels. This will help people notice the activity happening in your gallery, arouse curiosity and boost the chance of a site visit.
Creating a photo and video sharing gallery is a very effective way to implement your referral marketing. Not only will your customers enjoy seeing themselves on the gallery microsite, but it also promotes a high level of interaction between your brand and your audience. Why not start your own gallery today?
To get more information about user-generated photo and video sharing galleries as a part of your e-commerce referral program, and receive an additional 6 ideas on how you can generate more referrals to get more targeted traffic to your site that all lead to sales, download our e-commerce whitepaper.