In social and eCommerce, we’re constantly asking, “What’s the next big thing?” There was Facebook Commerce, then Social Commerce and now it’s Visual Commerce, so what’s next?
With the growth of visual social networks over the past three years and rise of online peer influence, the next big thing is already here: Visual User Generated Commerce. Visual User Generated Commerce still has the same visual components in play like Instagram and Pinterest, but also emphasizes peer approval and influence as users quickly become producers and curators as much as they are consumers. Visual User Generated Commerce is the next natural product of how consumers are interacting with brands and social.
Let’s break it down:
Photos and videos have never been more important or more plentiful. Instagram is the latest craze to hit social users and 91% of brands have jumped onboard as well. This visual social network grew to over 150 million active users in 3 years, twice as fast as Twitter. Smart phones have made every regular Joe a content creator and photographer. Consumers are quickly becoming producers, pushing out their own pictures and videos. Instead of jumping on the visual band wagon as a producer as well, brands and eCommerce businesses need to take a step back and become curators.
Brands can monetize Instagram by curating photos produced by fans and featuring them on site. With social tools like Instagram Curated Galleries and Contests, all brands need is a unique hashtag and these tools will collect, filter and publicly display Top Influencer’s photos.
2. User Generated
We’ve seen the trend of peer to peer influence gaining steam with social tools like sharing and referrals. Now, peer approval is more important than ever. Instead of expert testimonial or celebrity endorsements, in order to convert new shoppers, businesses must include peer ratings and reviews. Sharing and referrals may have taken the word of mouth phenomenon online, but ratings and reviews certify that your products can be trusted. Make this real time with Social Q&A, where your shoppers can get their questions quickly answered by current customers.
This is how marketing justifies their efforts with the sales side of the business. Social is great, but for brands and eCommerce, general engagement is not enough. Utilize social tools that are focused on analytics and drive ROI. See which visuals have the most conversions and who your most influential fans are. Track how long or short reviews need to be in order to be effective. A/B test copy and CTAs for maximum results. Continually optimize your social strategy to stay ahead of the next big thing.