This season’s fashion trend is debuting in a chelfie near you

Brands are looking for ways to engage with their customers on social media - creating content, engaging in dialogue with consumers or sometimes jumping on an event or a trend like the recent London Fashion Week for example.

A recent piece of research found that 1 in 7 fashion conscious consumers under the age of 30 has taken a changing room selfie, or as it is increasingly known, a ‘chelfie’. The trend has spread amongst celebrities as well with the likes of Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and Jessie J posting photos of potential new outfits on their social media accounts.

The research also found that the average Brit needed their chelfie to receive 3 likes for them to be persuaded to make a purchase.

The chelfie trend is a great example of the kind of user-generated content brands can utilise to make their marketing more relevant to their consumers and to tap into the trust consumers have in content from their peers. In fact 55 per cent of shoppers trust customer photos more than brand or professional photos and UGC has proven to be 35 per cent more memorable than branded content. These figures illustrate how today’s consumer is increasingly adept at tuning out direct marketing on the Internet. Even with Facebook’s and Instagram’s introduction of advertising to users feeds, the level of trust is higher with content that did not originate from the brand itself.

Chelfies are a great opportunity for retail brands to let their customers do some of the talking for them. The problem brands face is how exactly can they do this? Chelfies can be posted to any number of social networks, from Facebook and Instagram to Pinterest and Twitter, and promoting the images on social media limits the channel through which each image can be promoted.

One way for brands to make the most out of user generated content and its associated social advocacy is to create their own channel where chelfies can be pulled in from various sources and displayed together. The secondary benefit to this is that brands can then maintain a level of control over what UGC they are promoting as it is through their own channel. Curating the content displayed allows brands to push user-generated content to better tell their brand story, or to highlight the launch of a new range.

Australian shoe retailer Wanted Shoes created a ‘street style’ gallery, featuring photos of their customers showing off their latest purchases. The gallery changes to reflect each season’s trends and any new brands being sold by Wanted and the results speak for themselves. Visitors to the Street Style gallery are 30 per cent more likely to make a purchase than those who stick to more traditional window shopping and 95 per cent of Street Style shoppers click through to a specific product page.

The chelfie trend is an important for retail brands to take advantage of. The sheer number of images gives brands a great pool of content which they can dip into and use to bolster their existing marketing efforts. Consumers are also spending more time on social networks and so using those networks to both gather content and to engage with consumers in a proven and effective way is a win-win situation.

For brands in other verticals there will be other trends on social media which they can hop onto, for example events like this year’s Rugby World Cup will have rugby fans all over the world sharing photos of their enjoyment of the event.

Any brand affiliated with rugby, be it a sports brand, a sponsor or something unrelated can benefit greatly from using content created by consumers. The uses of user-generated content are broad and the positive are numerous, it’s just a question of finding the right trend to get started!

Andy Mallinson, Managing Director EMEA, Stackla

Image source: Shutterstock/Bloomua