How to Drive E-Commerce (Indirectly) from Instagram

We at Sircle Media provide an in-depth audit and social media plan for each client and the question that always comes up is “are we on the right platforms?”, “are there platforms we are not on we should be on?” “which platforms drive sales?”. The biggest platform that drives e-commerce is Facebook, as well as Pinterest. Twitter can be included as well. Instagram, however, which you might have recently read is bypassing Facebook with it’s popularity and user base, does not drive sales. There is no link back to the website, but it is a very good platform for branding and engagement. If your number one goal as a brand is to drive e-commerce, Instagram is not where you want to put your time, although it is very important. Although Instagram has yet to come out with a way to drive sales, some retailers have figured out  a way to drive sales indirectly from the app.

Retailers like West Elm and Bauble Bar are using widgets to drive conversion from user photos. The widgets will pull in Instagram photos that are tagged with a determined hashtag to the retailer’s site, where it can be linked with a product for sale.

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For example, BaubleBar uses the widget on it’s front page to show customers Instagram selfles displaying their products. As you click on the photo, a pop-up window shows the jewelry within the photo and links to a page where online shoppers can buy.

“Thirty to 35 percent of our online traffic engages with that widget on the homepage or on the product page,” said Daniella Yacobovsky, co-founder of BaubleBar. “We see conversion about four to four-and-a-half times higher with these people than from people who don’t engage.”

West Elm uses the widget to organize pictures on a subpage, called #MyWestElm. Consumers can sift through, room by room to see how other West Elm customers arrange their homes with West Elm merchandise.

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Pau Sabria, the co-founder of Olapic, which provides Instagram widgets, recently told the New York Times that brands using the widget on average see visitors that turned into buyers increased by 5 to 7 percent and the average order value rose by 2 percent.

So, is Instagram creeping up on other social platforms in regards to e-commerce? We wouldn’t jump to yes, but there is potential. Instagram will grow and continue to be a driving force in branding and e-commerce in the future.

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Facebook Best Platform for Brand Interaction

While social media is vital to a brand’s success, one platform might be better than another, based on the needs of the images-29 brand.  Whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, or Vine each one has it’s strengths and weaknesses. For instance, if the goal of a brand is to drive e-commerce, Facebook and Pinterest are the top platforms a brand would want to use. Instagram is very valuable for branding and the use of images, but it is not for driving traffic to a website.

“The majority of Internet users don’t use any of the popular social media networks at all to interact with their favorite brands. Of those who do, however, 34 percent prefer to use Facebook,” says a CBM Consumer Pulse study by Constant Contact. It is important to note that according to their study, 52% of Americans over the age of 18 spend at least one hour a week on Facebook. That statistic may or may not be surprising to you, but it is crucial to understand the importance of it with regards to the overall marketing tactics your company/organization is using.

The study showed that 34% of people that go online interact with their favorite brands on Facebook – compared to only 4% on Twitter and 1% on Linkedin. Even more important? A staggering 56% of those under 35 interact with their favorite brands on Facebook each month.

You might be asking yourself, WHY do these people interact with brands on Facebook? The study showed the following statistics:

58% – “I am a customer of the company”
57% – “To receive discounts and promotions”
41% – “To show others that I like/support this brand”
31% – “To be the first to know information about the brand”
31% – “Gain access to exclusive content”

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Other useful information:

  • 78% of those who “Like” a brand on Facebook are fans of fewer than 10 brands; engagement is real.
  • More than half of fans are more likely to buy a product since becoming a fan.
  • Users spend 45% of their time on Facebook in the news feed.
  • Consumers most often “Like” brand pages because they are already a customer (58%) or want to receive discounts and promotions (57%). Less than a third are looking for exclusive information about the brand.
  • 76% of people have never “Unliked” a brand page.
  • More than half of fans are more likely to recommend a brand to a friend after becoming a Facebook fan.
  • Brand interaction is most often a passive activity; 77% of fans read posts, news feeds, and offers posted by the brand, while only 30% share their experiences and news stories or post about the brand.

The takeaway? As many new social media platforms become popular and trendy for brands to try, Facebook continues to be the leading network for brand interaction.

 

 

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Pinterest Goes Animated with GIF’s

Pinterest has rolled out support for GIFs to all pinners on the web, with mobile support expected soon. “When you pin a GIF to Pinterest, a ‘play’ and ‘pause’ button will appear in the lower left-hand corner of the pin itself,” Pinterest explains. GIFs have been popular on the web, but up until now Tumblr has been the social platform for GIF sharing.

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In the meantime, Facebook auto play videos may be a precursor to animated GIF support on “The Mother Ship” but we shape wait and see on that.

“The well-timed GIF may be the greatest thing to have happened to the internet since emoticons, and lots of people have said they’d love to see playable GIFs on Pinterest,” the company wrote in its blog. “Starting today, we support GIFs in all their animated glory!”

Find your inspiration here, pinners!

 

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Pinterest Contest Rule Changes!

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Pinterest is a very popular and effective social platform for businesses who want to create brand awareness and drive traffic back to their website. Perhaps the most effective tool on Pinterest has been the ability to use simple contests to drive behavior.  Unlike Facebook which has been much more restrictive with it’s rules, Pinterest has been very hands off with their approach to contest restrictions.  Until recently it has been very easy to put together a contest and get it off the ground, but that is all about to change with the regarding contests on this social network.

For a brand to be successful on Pinterest, they must be able to inspire and encourage users to explore and share what interests them the most! It’s important that you, the business, make it easy for people to pin from your website, as well as re-pin interesting content you share on the platform. You want to lead them to your Pinterest profile and then hopefully get them back to your actual website for a deeper conversation.

With Pinterest changing their contest guidelines, it’s important that you don’t make it seem like Pinterest is sponsoring the contest in any way. You also need to think about the overall user experience whenever you create a contest or promotion.  To learn about the specific rule changes, !

 

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Pinning Articles To Pinterest Has Never Been Easier!

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Pinterest recently released the ability to pin articles straight to their boards. The pins will automatically include critical information in a way that catches the eye and brings in viewers! It will have a story headline, the author’s name, a description of the story, and of course, the place to put the source URL!  There is no more worrying about having to manually put in the information, Pinterest will do all the work for you.

These article pins will look better because, well, now they are meant to be on Pinterest! The images will be larger, the information will be easier to access, and the pinning process is less tedious! #Win

If you’re one to write blogs, articles, etc., this new feature should be thoroughly taken advantage of. You can deepen your marketing strategies and provide compelling visuals and descriptions that will stand out! It’s about time this feature made its way to the platform.

With Pinterest’s new ad feature, and now this, Pinterest is taking big strides towards being a more effective marketing machine! Your written content will now have a more prominent role and now you have another place (where a lot of people are) that your articles can be seen, re-pinned, and viewed.

Click the link to learn more about “Rich Pins for Articles”!

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Improve Your SEO With Pinterest!

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By now we all know what a hashtag is, the # symbol followed by keywords. You have most likely used it on social networks such as Twitter, Instagram, and even recently on Facebook. However, many of us have not realized the value that hashtagging on Pinterest creates, especially in terms of SEO. Hashtagging on Pinterest should not be overlooked or forgotten, as it is the secret weapon for increasing your brand’s SEO! By tweaking your Pinterest Profile and pins you can instantly boost your brand’s domain rank in search.

 

There are two golden rules for this secret weapon to be successfully utilized:

1. The keyword or phrase must be in the pin board’s name AND description

2. The keyword or phrase must be in that pin board as a hashtag

Apply these two rules to your everyday routine, and watch your SEO escalate! SEO rankings are correlated with the success and awareness of your brand because it improves your visibility in search engines. Increasing your brand’s Pinterest page in a search is ideal because it gives your followers visuals. Followers can click through your boards and gather a better understanding of what your brand is about.

Carrie Morgan watched her generic search of “az seo” climb from the unknown to the #3 spot on Google. She did this by hashtagging appropriate keywords to her Pinterest pin boards and description. It is a no brainer for brands to start utilizing this simple SEO booster!

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SEO More Important Than Ever?

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A lot of my clients assume that Social Media (or at least the use of social networking sites) has somehow replaced the need for having an SEO program for their website. That couldn’t be further from the truth!  In fact messaging on Social Media sites has become one of the mission critical components to a successful SEO plan. It is definitely not an either or type situation, a combo of the two will do the trick.

If you have already given up on using SEO for your site or just dont know whether or not you should, consider these things:

There is competition in your business

Your problems don’t just end with your site, you also have to deal with businesses that are the same as yours and who might have well developed products, services and strategies to hog the market and steal prospects away from you. How will you compete even locally when you do not use SEO? Fundamental, but important techniques like keyword placement and improving site content will help your drive more traffic to your site and will also ensure better visibility for your new campaigns.

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Social Network Platforms are the “ace in the hole”

Social Networks have become tremendous platforms for the sharing of relevant content. It is the literally the definition of “Social Media” (Shareable content). Most brands and businesses have made the move to Facebook and Twitter, (though most do a terrible job with these platforms) but now with new social networking sites like Pinterest and Google+ you can direct even more visitors to check out your site. You have a distinct advantage if you are employing a Community Management Strategy on Social Networks, while your competitors are not. Sometimes the best first step to SEO is Social.

Search Engines make changes and so must you

Major search engines are constantly changing their methodology to outsmart those who are trying to “game” the system with strange techniques. If you have an SEO strategy in place with a partner who “gets it” then they will adjust their plan to be in sync with the changes put out by companies like Google. This navigator will help your ship stay on course and not allow it to crash and burn.

SEO-friendly = Increased Visibility

It is an ongoing necessity to update your website to be SEO-friendly by using current day techniques to boost visibility. If you produce content and then distribute it in a make sense way then you will be found more often in search than those who do not. Plain and simple.  It is a comprehensive plan, but a worthwhile venture!

So before you implement a Social Strategy OR an SEO Program, consider the fact that you MUST do both together to see real results!

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Should You Show Interest in Pinterest?

pinterest-openPinterest was the Social Media darling of last year and it continues to grow by the minute. With over 12 million active users in the US alone it is a marketing powerhouse that brands and businesses of all shapes and sizes should be paying close attention to. Yet for many, Pinterest is still not getting any love. Why is that?

Many clients I meet with tend to put Pinterest lower on the list of social networks to focus on, usually behind Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in that order.  I think you could make an argument, based on your business type that Pinterest should be placed at the top of that list.  Especially businesses with a relatively unknown brand name and e-commerce as their primary source of income.

People “shop” frequently on Pinterest and if they see a Pinned or LIKE’d image that catches their eye they are likely to click to learn more.  Point those images to “shop” URL’s and you have an interested buyer near a cash register. This is a winning formula!

Some quick Notes i found to be very interesting in a Bizrate Insights Report:

  1. 69% of online consumers who visit Pinterest have found an item they’ve purchased or wanted to purchase. This is compared with only 40% of online consumers who visit Facebook.
  2. 70% of users say they are on Pinterest to get inspiration on what to buy. By contrast, only 17% use Facebook for the same.
  3. 43% of Pinterest members agree that they use Pinterest to “associate with retailers or brands with which I identify”, compared to just 24% of Facebook users who agree to the same use with Facebook.

So you tell me, should you show interest in Pinterest?

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Social Media Design Cheat Sheet!

We came across this incredibly useful infographic created by Lunametrics and just felt compelled to share it.  It is incredibly useful in setting up Social Media Profiles to ensure that your branding and message are well presented and consistent with best practices by platform.  It breaks down the different social networks in great detail and even taught us a thing or two that we have already been passing on to our clients.  So many profiles look out of place or have a subpar brand footprint because whoever created them didnt have the ideal dimensions in mind.  With this graphic, now they do!

 

It is also incredibly useful for Community Managers, especially on Facebook.  It breaks out posts, highlighted posts, app images and even all of the different Ad dimensions.  This is such a useful resource in helping you govern day to day communications.  It can and will make a big difference and we highly recommend you save it and USE it right away.

The image we provided here is just a tiny snapshot.  The full image can be found here.  Enjoy!

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Is Pinterest A “Must Have” or A “Nice to Have”?

Social Media does encompass everything digital and we feel very strongly that it is not just a marketing tool. It is a mandatory component of any business’ online infrastructure and touches all departments internally, including but not limited to customer service, recruiting, retention and sales.

All that being said, marketing is the lifeblood of any organization and social media is the most powerful ally any marketing team has on today’s internet. In our travels we are constantly asked to advise on which tools are best to use and how to use them. The big players have become an automatic, but who else should be considered?  One definite tool that we have found to be very effective is Pinterest! We are certain this is not the first you are hearing of this beast of a platform, but that doesn’t mean you are using it (or at least effectively) yet!

“We’d advise it’s time for you to consider Pinterest as an integral part of your social marketing effort, right next to the Big 3  - Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Here’s why: businesses that have effectively used Pinterest as a marketing tool have experienced higher referral traffic, higher quality leads, more sharing through Facebook and Twitter, and increases in sales.

That says it all right there! That was taken from a recent article in Social Media Today and it is is the right message. Pinterest is such a powerful tool and it can be a tremendous source of traffic for your business. Some brands have really been making some really nice progress on the platform and if you haven’t already it is time to start paying attention. Read the article for some useful tips and be sure to share this great content with others.

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