By Alinn Louv
As social commerce is quickly turning into visual commerce, brands have to act fast in order to keep up with this new generation of shoppers. More and more competitors are entering the market, testing your customers’ loyalty. In order to stand out of the crowd, brands have to ACT. ACT: authenticity, context and trust, the three key factors to developing brand advocacy. Studies show that, on average, a 12% increase in brand advocacy can lead to a 2x increase in revenue.These three factors will increase your shoppers’ brand advocacy and ultimately increase customer retention over time as your social reach grows.
Step 1: Building authenticity
Authenticity signals a brand’s legitimacy. In the past, brands used celebrity endorsements in order to build authenticity. You would see celebrities in all sorts of advertisements with the aim of displaying a genuine endorsement. However, as more celebrities are selling out, customers are becoming more wary of these endorsements. Now, peer approval is more important than ever. Millennials will trust a complete stranger over a brand’s advertisement. This is where tools like ratings and reviews or social question & answer become more relevant for eCommerce businesses.
Genuine product ratings and reviews from actual shoppers and past customers express your brand’s credibility from an unbiased third party. This is extremely important when customers can easily comparison shop at your competitors. Showcase the quality of your products with peer reviews and streamline your customer service with a social q&a tool that connects new shoppers with past customers.
Step 2: Creating real world context
Context helps your shoppers picture your products in their lives and serves as inspiration for outfit ideas, recipes, or even home decor. Before social tools, this was accomplished with modeled lifestyle shots. These typically are created from the brand’s point of view and take some imagination to relate to.
Now, in order to really connect with this new generation of social users, brands have to take it a step further with real users, real shoppers and real fans. Instead of just displaying standard studio shot product photos, showcase user generated photos instead. With visual social networks gaining in popularity, context can now be built with selfies from Instagram. Capitalize on your Top Influencers on Instagram and feature them on site to display your products in real life scenarios. Your new shoppers will be able to see how their peers use your products in their real lives.
Step 3: Developing trust
Ultimately, in order to have brand advocacy, your customers need to be able to trust your brand. Build trust as you develop context and authenticity. As your shoppers continue to interact with your brand to give it authenticity with reviews and context with Instagram, they will develop a sense of loyalty. This loyalty creates trust.
Keep loyalty high by rewarding your customers for their advocacy. Create a loyalty program that builds an infrastructure to keep your current customers involved and attract new shoppers to develop authenticity and context. Reward loyalty members whenever they leave a review, upload a snapshot of themselves with your products, or take any other actions that lead to brand advocacy.