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Putting UGC to Work for Brands and Retailers

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It’s no secret that the internet has quickly become a visual channel. In 2014, 460 million photos were posted each day via social media. And this number will only continue to climb.

Consumers not only love photos — they trust them…especially when the photos come from other people like them. In fact, according to research by visual commerce platform Olapic, 63% of consumers trust customer photos more than brand or retailer photos.

But how can brands and retailers put this visual user generated content (UGC) to work in order to move the needle? Jon Drennan, VP of Account Management at Olapic, joined us for our July webinar to discuss the rise of the visual web and share Olapic’s top 10 “do’s and don’ts” for brands and retailers looking to increase revenue, engagement and trust from their UGC initiatives. Here are four of the do’s and don’ts he shared.

Do: Give customers credit for their photos
You’ve discovered a great photo on Instagram of your product in action, it includes your brand hashtag and would be a great asset for another one of your marketing campaigns. Start off by giving the customer credit for the photo. If she’s using your hashtag and posting photos of your product, she’s clearly already a fan. Giving her a shout-out will make her an even bigger brand advocate.

Don’t: Use celebrity photos without their consent
Let’s say you’re a clothing retailer and you get your hands on a photo of a famous actor walking into one of your stores. It may seem tempting to use this image in your marketing efforts. But don’t do it. A handful of companies have gotten into hot water for using celebrity photos without their permission — which can have a negative impact on a brand’s reputation.

Do: Leverage UGC to uncover new target audiences for your brand
You may think you have a pretty good idea of what your target audience looks like. For example, maybe the majority of your marketing is targeted at middle aged males living in the Midwest. But by exploring and analyzing user generated content, you may just discover other audiences who love your brand, too. Those are new audiences for you to target in the future.

Don’t: Expect photos to drop in your lap
If you create a branded hashtag, the UGC will start pouring in, right? Wrong. Creating the hashtag is just the beginning. You also need to promote your UGC initiatives across all customer touch points in order to get engagement from your customers. Promoting UGC initiatives via digital touchpoints like social media and email may seem obvious, but be sure to use your offline channels, too. For example, if you’re a clothing brand, include your brand hashtag in your magazine ads to encourage more customers to post content.

Want to learn the other UGC do’s and don’ts shared during this webinar? Watch the on-demand session now.

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Faith Hinz

Faith Hinz is responsible for all content marketing and social media initiatives at PowerReviews. Faith has more than eight years of online and offline marketing experience. Most recently, she managed the social media, content marketing and thought leadership efforts at In previous positions, Faith developed and executed marketing initiatives for a number of different industries, including insurance, nonprofit, healthcare and automotive.