Who are hottest fashion models these days? It’s you, and the normal, real world people you see every day.
Retailers from Coach, to Lulu Lemon, are using candid social media photos, that feature everyday men and women, to market their clothes and accessories. Companies troll the internet, from Twitter to Instagram to Tumbler, looking for real people mentioning and showing off their brand, and tagging their picture with the name of the company. For example, “#JCREW neon flip-flops,” underneath a picture from a backyard barbecue. The brands then grab those pictures and post them in online galleries.
Some brands are even asking customers to post pictures of themselves wearing their clothes in exchange for discounts or free merchandise, and they’re getting flooded with responses. For example, Lulu Lemon recently asked customers to upload photos of themselves in their athletic gear with the hashtag “The Sweat Life.” And 26,000 people instantly did. The photos generated two million page views on Lulu Lemon's website, and about a million Instagram "likes.”
So, why are professional ads out and real world Instagram ads in? Because real-people photos make shoppers feel more connected and engaged with the retailer. After all, it’s much easier for someone to envision themselves in clothes if they see the same look on a real person, at a real event, instead of on an airbrushed model with a wind machine blowing on her.
And it’s a huge moneymaking move. A study found that people who click on “real-people” photos on retailers’ websites are twice as likely to buy products than if they clicked on a model's photo on the site.