We know that user generated content (UGC) influences consumers to buy products more effectively than advertisements do. But I wanted to prove that consumers really are more influenced by this strategy, and not with numbers or case studies, but by having an open conversation with a consumer.
At Fashion Digital NY we met fashion, technology, inspiration, and trends blogger, Alice Chan. Chan’s native country is one of the major fashion meca’s in the world, France. Here she studied website graphics, social media marketing and innovation, fashion trends, and eCommerce. She moved to Philadelphia to continue her educational pursuit, majoring in International Business.
LG: What are your goals for your blog, Dalabooh?
AC: I decided to create a blog that is about my passions. I like to show how I’m interacting with brands, almost as a portfolio in my blog. Now the brands will know who I am when they type in my name. I will always continue to blog so I can show people that anything is possible if you work hard, and never give up on your dreams. Anytime I post about a person it’s about someone that influenced me and inspired me.
LG: So how do you involve brands on your blog?
AC: I feature fashion products, or really creative and innovative concepts on my blog. If a brand doesn’t have internet presence in multiple areas it’s going to be harder for them when they launch their products, so I give them more awareness.
LG: How does this help brands drive sales?
AC: Fashion bloggers are contacted by PR agencies to review products and post about them because bloggers post pictures with amazing outfits, and their influence drives product sales. It’s really important, especially if you recruit influencers that are very engaging, because they will post on Instagram telling their audience to checkout the product they’re wearing. Then people become very interested, and if they don’t know much about the brand they can learn more from my post.
LG: What makes you loyal to a brand?
AC: The communication and the relationship is the most important part of brand loyalty. If the brand gets in touch with me, maybe sends me a new product. Also, if I can prove I am a credible person to talk to about their products they will come to me first, and want to work with me. I recently attended an event at Tiffany & Co. in Philadelphia and I snapped pictures of attendees who looked fabulous! Now Tiffany & Co. has recognized me, and reached out to me to continue our relationship.
LG: Is social media important for brand image?
AC: Social media has a big impact on brand image. A brand is missing something if they don’t have a social outlet to talk and interact with their audience. It’s important to connect and have conversations with customers, and a brand can’t do this with just a website. How can people reach out to them? They can try emailing, but the brand will likely not respond. How can customers see products from different points of view?
LG: Do you search on social sites for different points of view on products before you buy?
AC: Yes, I do. Recently, I wanted to buy a new camera. It’s a big decision because it’s a lot of money to buy a camera. I could go to a store and get an opinion on which one to buy, but the sales person at the store is going to sell me on their product only. I like to do multiple searches on social before I buy a product. Everyone has their own opinions and preferences with strong views on what is the best, so seeing what everyone is saying on social helps me make a much better decision.
LG: Has user generated content influenced you to buy a product?
AC: Yes. When I see someone post a picture on social wearing some shoes, or something I really like, I want to find out where I can buy them. If I don’t know much about the brand I like to search for their website and get more information about the brand, and purchase the product.
LG: Would it be helpful if there was relevant products for purchase associated to social photos?
AC: I don’t want to waste time clicking and searching, so this would be very helpful and much better!
LG: Is it important for brands to put user generated content on their eCommerce site?
AC: It is very important for brands to show live pictures of people using their products to show how to wear or use the product. Social media is really important right now, and helps brands do this. Sometimes I go on an eCommerce site and see the product on a mannequin or model. Then I think, ‘how is that item going to fit on someone like me?’ Unless i’m going into the physical store, I can’t really tell. Social photos help me get a better idea about the product from the point of view of a real customer. So having a real customer model a product with their review will influence people to buy, and increase sales.
LG: Do you think more brands will create a user generated commerce?
AC: Yes, I think so. Social media right now is a big thing, especially with hashtags. I search the hashtag for products I want to buy, and see how people who already purchased the product like it. I go to Yelp to know about places, YouTube for tutorials, and Instagram for product reviews.
LG: Do you think consumers get upset when their social content is used on a brand site?
AC: It depends. I believe the person who is using the photo needs to ask permission first. Sometimes people take my pictures and use them on different sites. If they use one of my pictures, and I see it and I didn’t know, i’m like ‘how did this happen, I didn’t agree.’ Recently someone used a photo I took, and didn’t give me any credit, and I was really upset! They posted my picture and didn’t say they got it from my website. Users want credit for the job they did, even if they are customers of the brand.