Updating your website, digital marketing, emails and social media feeds with fresh visuals for your eCommerce brand can feel like a never ending task. What is the easiest and most cost-efficient way to stay on top of your communications with your online customers and catch their attention with eye-catching images? We have compiled our top ideas for sourcing on-brand content so that you’ll have ample resources to draw from next time you need a unique shot to share.
Hire a professional photographer
This might sound like a no brainer but paying a professional to photograph your inventory is the easiest way to capture branded shots of your products. If you feel like hiring a pro is out of your budget there are other options, such as collaborating with other small businesses on a shoot. Did you know that many photographers do bundled shoots where they collect several complementary products and shoot them together at a discounted rate? Keep your eye out for snappers offering this service and receive the images and styling all in one.
Run a brand ambassador program
Working with brand ambassadors is a wonderful way to have a regular supply of content for your brand. Brand ambassadors are usually existing customers and fans of your brand that help to photograph and promote your products in exchange for free items and discounts. It is important to set an agreement in place prior to working with a brand ambassador so that you are both on the same page about what the role entails and how long the contract will last. Always ask if you can be sent the original images and request specific permission for posting on your website or use in any marketing materials.
Share user generated content
As well as being great advocates, your customers can be wonderful sources of authentic content for your brand. Authentic content is highly effective at generating social proof and building trust within your customer base. Encourage your fans to share images of their purchases and ensure your brand has a hashtag so that you can easily track them down on social media. If your brand doesn’t have an existing fan base or following on social media you may want to incentivise new customers by offering them future discounts or samples for sharing their shots.
Use stock images
Depending on what your product line is, you may be able to use existing stock imagery for your website and promotions. There are so many free stock image sites around these days offering high-quality images. You may need to check the individual usage rights for each image and check if it is ok to edit or alter the images you are using. As well as using stock images on your website banners, many Instagram for business accounts like to add generic ‘moodboard’ images to help capture the essence of their brand and find that stock images can be helpful when planning out your social feed.
Host an event
Inviting your fans and customers to a special event such as a new product launch or a milestone celebration can help generate a large quantity of branded content in one hit. Don’t forget to create a custom hashtag for your event and encourage your attendees to share their experiences and favourite products on the day. You could even hire a photographer (or recruit a friend who is handy with a camera) to capture the celebration and share images of your customers engaging with your brand.
Send out some samples
If you have an active fanbase you can ask them to review new product lines and send out samples for them to try. This is great for adding to the hype of a new release and creating content for you to use (with permission) to promote it. Engaging experts and bloggers to road test your product can be very influential when it comes to attracting new customers and in the process their reviews will often capture lots of images of your products in action.
If you don’t have the budget to hire a photographer but want your custom design or packaging to be seen you can try creating a mockup. A mockup is where you purchase a blank or styled scene and customise it by overlaying your product or design over the top. Websites like Creative Market sell lots of different mockups and scene creators for all different types of products that you can customise for your own store. You may need to hire a graphic designer or have some knowledge of programs such as Adobe Photoshop to be able to use these mockups but the end results are very professional looking and a great middle ground if you haven’t captured professional images yourself.
Hire an influencer
An influencer is a person who has a large following on social media and can be hired to promote your brand and products. Part of this contract often involves the influencer capturing original images of them using and enjoying your product which you can then reshare (with permission) onto your own channels. There are lots of third-party platforms that can help connect and manage relationships with influencers on the medium of your choice.
Hold a competition
Putting up a great prize and inviting your fans and customers to participate in a photo competition or hashtag challenge can be a clever way to incentivise your audience to capture and share user generated content. You could align the theme with seasonal releases, new product lines and special events. Your customers often use your products in new and inspiring ways and the resulting images could even inspire the future creative direction of your digital marketing. While photo competitions like the ones we hold here at Creatively Squared don’t include images of your actual product, they can help introduce you to a worldwide network of creative talent and future brand ambassadors to collaborate with.
Engage a creative community
Why hire just one photographer when you could engage a creative community? Platforms like Creatively Squared have access to thousands of talented content creators around the world ready to partner with your brand and create beautiful visuals featuring your products. Whereas engaging a professional photographer, studio and style team can be a long, expensive and complicated process, using a community like Creatively Squared makes it a one-stop-shop. You can connect with one or more creatives in the right location for your market who already have the right aesthetic, lifestyle and props needed to capture your brand. Want a genuine tea lover, dog owner or keen gardener? The Creatively Squared platform matches you with the best content creators for your brand and can generate a comprehensive and diverse visual library for a fraction of the cost of a studio shoot.
Have you had success with any of these ideas or would you like us to deep dive more into any of these topics? Drop us a comment below.