Instagram The Holidays

instagram the holidays

With the holiday season knocking on our door, it’s not just holiday shoppers scrambling at the last minute this holiday. If you’re still looking for a last minute boost for your holiday rankings, you’re not out of luck yet, but your window of opportunity is closing quicker and quicker. One great and easy way to help with your holiday marketing is to use social media. Instagram is a great way to not only show off your products but also a great way to help engage potential and current customers. So without further ado, here are some of our last minute tips to give your holiday marketing a boost.

Holiday Themed Profile

One great and easy way to help your customers ring in the holidays is by updating your profile with a holiday theme to it. Check out how Ben and Jerrys did it. Three things to keep in mind with updating your instagram profile for the holidays: Update your company profile with holiday themed sentiment; but keep it short and sweet, Your bio is the most important part of your profile for your mobile viewers, and if you have a holiday landing page, update your profile link to point to it.

Any Questions?

Asking questions is always a great way to get people engaged on your pages. Throw in a dash of holiday themed questions to your Instagram posts. Make sure to include seasonal images that are cute, relevant to your customers, and, as always, make sure that it relates to your products or brand. Also, when asking the question, make sure to use a very personable tone to help deepen customer engagement.

Use Video

Instagram video is a great way to get your message across this holiday season. You can use them in a variety of ways too. Use them to cross-promote a contest, or just to advertise any sales or products that you’re featuring for the holiday season. Keep them brief though (10 seconds) most Instagram users aren’t looking for long videos while they’re on the app. To help, use stop-motion to help generate a fast-paced feel for the short video. For a good example, check out Target’s recent post for tree-trimming.

In-Store Photos

Because of the inherently mobile nature of Instagram, don’t be afraid to take candid shots to show off the inside of your store(s). You can post cool shots of your customers at in-store events, or photos of your staff getting ready for a big sale that you’re going to have. You can also post photos of specific stores, to make it so that your in-store customers will how what the photo is, but others might not. This can create a feeling of belonging with your followers who “get” the photo. Check out what Macy’s is doing with their Santaland announcements for different stores.

It’s not too late to still do some last minute holiday marketing for your business. Act on these great tips, and get a little extra in your holiday stocking this season.

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Pinterest for Ecommerce

So, if you haven’t heard, Pinterest is now featuring a buy button on product pins on its network. So what does that mean for you and your business? Well, before we get into that, let’s just go over some of the statistics around Pinterest and what has made this one of the most successful social commerce platforms in recent memory.

Not Just Etsy Shop Owners and Recipe Bloggers

In 2013, Piqora did a study analyzing the ROI of using Pinterest, their findings are just the tip of the pin. They found that on average a pin generated 78 cents in sales in addition to 2 site visits and 6 pageviews. Now, by themselves, this might not sound like a lot, but if you’ve got an active board, and your stuff is getting shared, the snowball affect starts very quickly. This is compounded by another survey in 2014 which found that Pinterest users’ average order value was $123.50, which is about 126% higher than the average order value of Facebook’s users. Those are some pretty staggering figures, and like the sub-heading says, it’s not just Etsy shop owners and foodies showing the most success where this is concerned. Big names like Nordstrom are well-known in the pinning-verse.

Pinterest For Your Business

So as you can see, Pinterest is important for e-commerce and is leading the charge in integration between social commerce and e-commerce in general. However, every e-commerce store is different, and they’ll need to find their own way to use Pinterest to its fullest extent effectively. But, here are a few ideas on how to get Pinterest to work for your business.

Tailor Made Boards

When first starting with Pinterest, there is an easy temptation to just create a single board label it, “my company’s board” and call it good. While this is the easy way out, it’s not going to help drive traffic to your board and ultimately your site. Instead of making only a single board, try making multiple boards focused on specific themes or products.

Also, you’re going to want to pin more than just the product photos off of your site. Pinners are looking for ideas or inspiration most of the time, not a specific product so you can’t treat this as just another sales funnel/channel. Additionally, make sure to pin pictures of your products in use along with complimentary photos such as photos that fit the feelings of what your customers feel when using your products.

Pin Optimization

Along with making boards that are tailored towards specific products or services, you’re also going to have to follow some best practices when it comes to setting up your pins. Here a few of them that will help boost your engagement on your Pinterest board.

Firstly, you’re going to want to include a link to the item you’re showcasing, this way, if your prospect wants to learn more, they aren’t just stuck looking at a pretty picture. Next, make sure to include the price of the item with the pin, this will help put them further along the buying process then if it’s just the featured product. Finally, you’re going to want to have between a 200-300 character description. Yes, characters not words, think like Twitter, brevity is King.

What To Include In Your Pin

 

 

 

Now that we’ve gone over what to include with your pin, lets go over what makes an effective image for a pin, seeing as this is the meat and potatoes of Pinterest. According to a study done by Ripen Ecommerce, lighter images are more than 20 times more likely to be pinned over dark images. Additionally, Tall images are shared 67% more often than short ones. Finally, brand images that don’t feature faces within the pin are 23% more likely to get repinned.

What To Include In Your Pin Image

 

Pinterest Optimization Doesn’t Stop At Pinterest

Like the heading says, optimizing your Pinterest boards is only half the battle. To truly capitalize on the referral traffic from Pinterest, you need to make sure your site is prepared for it. According to Pinterest, over three-quarters of their traffic comes from mobile or tablet. What that means, is that you need to make sure that your e-store has a mobile solution, whether that is a mobile site, or your store is responsive. If a pinner lands on a page on your site and it isn’t mobile optimized they’re most likely going to bounce right back to Pinterest.

Put A Pin In It

Social sharing buttons on product listings has become a industry recognized best practice across all social media. Pinterest is no different where this is concerned. “Pin It” buttons and widgets make it easy for customers to share what they like on their own boards. While having relevant pins on your company’s board is great, getting on customers’ boards is fantastic.

Pinterest Isn’t For Everybody

A lot of ecommerce sites have been seeing some amazing success on Pinterest. However, Pinterest isn’t for every ecommerce store. If you have a very visual industry like fashion or cosmetics then pinterest should definitely be part of your social strategy, but more demanding and physical industries like construction or IT should probably look elsewhere since the customer you’re trying to reach most likely isn’t on Pinterest.

For businesses using Pinterest and not seeing a good ROI, I hope these tips help boost your engagement and you see an increase in conversions from it. Curious to see what we can do to help? Give us a call or email us and we’ll see what we can do to help your social commerce flourish.

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The Essentials of Video Marketing for Ecommerce

Video marketing has successfully insinuated itself in almost every online experience and provides the perfect complement to content marketing. Regardless if the video is informative, comedic, or somewhere in between, videos are going to play a vital role in any brand’s future marketing strategy.

Demand Metric recently released a report that 70 percent of marketers are now using videos as part of their marketing strategies. Additionally, 82 percent of marketers surveyed indicated that video content marketing has proven successful when implemented. Given these figures, there is plenty of reasons to consider implementing video content marketing in your current marketing strategy. If you need any more proof of how essential video marketing has become to your marketing strategy, just check out the infographic below.

Video Marketing Infographic

Whether you’re going to implement video marketing in your current strategy or in the future, make sure to follow these essentials to make sure your video marketing achieves optimal success.

Identify Your Goals

Before you shoot your first take, begin by thinking about what you want to accomplish with your videos. Are you looking to boost awareness of one of your products or services? Are you trying to use the video to recruit talent? Or, are you trying to increase your brand awareness?

Whatever your goals are, make sure you define them so that you can accurately measure to see if your video marketing efforts have succeeded. Along with your goals you’re going to have to define what counts as a success? Is it how many times your video has been viewed? Or will it be based on an increased number of subscribers to your video channel?

Is It Relevant To Your Audience?

To ensure that your video is relevant, think about the audience you wish to reach when you’re developing your marketing strategy. Don’t overlook the opportunity to get creative in order to reach your audience.

It’s All About The Experience

Consider for a moment, that you’ve been confronted with something you’ve never heard of. Let’s say, you’re making a dish and it requires you to temper an egg. A cooking site or blog is your best friend right? Absolutely, but a video can really show you what the technique is used for and how to do it properly without scrambling the egg.

As Michael Litt, founder of VidYard says, “video is the next best thing to being in person.” That’s because it provides us with the feeling of being there and experiencing something first hand, even if, it’s still just a virtual experience.

Have A CTA

Regardless of how well your video is acted and produced, it may fail to yield the expected results if you don’t include a CTA (call-to-action). Think about the goals you defined for your video marketing strategy, how do you plan to achieve those goals? In order to achieve the most impact with your videos and in the process meeting your goals, including a call-to-action can help you maximize that impact. Make sure you include both a visual and audible call to action to help achieve this.

Distributing Your Video Marketing

Finally, when distributing your video, make sure to distribute it to the networks that will reach your target audience the best. Additionally, make sure that you don’t overlook social media, even B2B customers use YouTube and other social media platforms when doing research on products or services. Additionally, make sure the video is optimized for mobile viewing, as over 50 percent of internet traffic now comes from a mobile source.

What do you feel is essential to making your video marketing efforts a success? Need help getting your video marketing off the ground? Shoot us an email or give us a call, we’d be glad to discuss with you how to achieve your video marketing goals.

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9 Ways To Help Make Social Media Effective For eCommerce

Social media, it invades every part of our day. We’re checking it at work, checking in at restaurants and bars to show our friends where we’re socializing. Posting our vacation pictures to show people where we went. It is one of the main activities people take part in online all the time. So syncing a social media experience with your e-commerce store offers you the chance to help drive added value to your audience and paying customers alike. So with that said, let’s take a look at 9 different ways that will make social media effective for your online store.

#1 – Share Sonny! Share!

So outside of the horrible Sonny and Cher reference in the title, one of the no-brainer features that e-commerce sites are using today is including various social sharing buttons on their product pages. This has become increasingly more common over the past couple of years due to the improved visibility and engagement a Facebook like button or Twitter tweet button can generate around a offered product.

To add these plugins to your store, simply go to the social platforms you want to integrate into your store and they’ll have instructions on how to add them. However, there is a caveat: make sure you only add a few social plugins to your product pages.

Resources for the most popular plugins for e-commerce are listed below:

There are a ton of other options for social plugins available out there, however, these four are the ones most popular with e-commerce stores since sharing a product or service on these channels fits their target demographic’s behavior and interests the most. If you sold clothing or accessories, you wouldn’t want to add a linkedin share button would you? No, because that platform’s purpose doesn’t match what you’re trying to use social media for.

When you add the buttons, try to get them as close to the product’s image as possible, while still keeping it organized and clean. Each store integrates buttons differently, check out some of your favorite stores to see how they integrate buttons for their products.

#2 – Your Customers Are Your Best Product Reps

A lot of content around your brand and products is user generated content, from fans sharing photos, to videos or text updates on social media about your stuff, whether good or bad. One way you can take advantage of the positive content is featuring it on your site.

There are quite a few platforms out there that allow businesses to highlight and moderate content submitted by their customers, fans, and followers. Usually displayed as a photo feed, these images can be highly curated to show the best of the best user generated content. For example, online retailer black milk clothing uses a photo feed at the bottom of all its product pages to showcase customer generated photos to individual products. Additionally, they curate the photos to specific products by associating a hashtag with the product. for example, their panther maxi dress is associated with the hashtag #bmpanthermaxidress which allows the photos tagged under the hashtag on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook to show up in the product photo feed if the pictures are tagged properly.

#3 – Sign in, Show off

Normally, visitors to your store have to create an account, enter their information, and sign in so they can purchase products, view their order history, etc,. Social sign-in allows customers to do all of this without having to go through the multi-step process of creating an account by allowing them to sign in using the information from their social media platform of choice.

The platform of choice that customers often use for social sign-in is Facebook, basically because its the most widely used social media platform to date. Social sign-in can be extremely beneficial to a store because research shows that customers who use social sign-in spend more time on the site and purchase more than those who don’t use a social login.

Since most people are concerned with their privacy, especially when it comes to social sign-ins, one thing you might want to do before jumping in to using social sign-in completely, is to split test between with and without the use of social sign-in.

#4 – I’m Just Here For The Comments

Social based comment systems like Disqus and Livefyre are robust tools that make the experience of commenting on content and having conversations with other customers much more engaging due to it being a live feed instead of static posts, as well as credible because of social verification to use the comment widget. These feeds are often found on an e-commerce site’s blog instead of the store itself. These social powered comment widgets require users to sync one of their social media profiles to the tool so that you can see a genuine profile linked to the comment. This helps reduce trolling, and makes the commenting process more social by allowing customers to share engaging thoughts and conversations in a user’s social channel of choice from the comment section.

#5 – Make Your Sales Funnel Shareable

If you do it right, integrating social media across your store can improve customer experience and can increase the likelihood of others doing shareable actions on your site depending on what they see published on social media. However, you’re going to want to find that right balance so as not to annoy users by over sharing, which can happen. Try focusing on sharing interesting activities of your store visitors and providing value to users that may see what your customers share on one of their feeds.

For example, Eventbrite gives people the option of sharing that they’ve booked tickets to an event on Twitter and Facebook, it’s not mandatory, but sharing events like this is something that might be interesting for customers to share on social media.

Analyzing your sales funnel for event markers like the one in the Eventbrite example can help have a positive effect on drawing in new customers as well as create repeat customers by improving the customer’s journey. As always, you’re going to want to split test these plugins and CTAs to make sure they’re not having the opposite effect that you want.

#6 – Shopping First, Social Second

What we mean by our title is, don’t forget, you’re a store first, just because you have social media pages does not mean that customers are going to flock to your door. As the name suggests people go to Facebook and Twitter and the like to socialize not shop most of the time. Social media pages for your business are a great way to aggregate reviews as well as use them for customer service and support.

#7 – Don’t Just Tell Them, Show Them

Videos are great sales tools. Customer’s love seeing a product in action or being showed off. Like the post above about using customer generated content, you can apply that with videos as well. Not only does it improve sales, but people get to see the product, “in the wild” so to speak. Additionally, it adds another social factor that can be found on video aggregators (i.e. YouTube).

#8 – Customer Trust Is Key

Giving back to your customers helps to build trust with them, which is paramount for your brand. Find out ways that you can help out your customers outside of your store. Share local news and tips, ask their opinions, give out coupons, find ways to interact. The most important thing is that you’re visibly trying to be helpful ti them. The more useful you can be, the more loyal they’ll be to your brand.

#9 – Don’t Forget About The Rest Of Your Marketing Mix

Social media is often viewed as a silo of marketing that can be done separately from other marketing activities. Instead,  view it as an extra layer that integrates with the rest of your marketing mix instead of being a separate part of it. For example, with email marketing, integrate sharing buttons with your newsletters or e-blasts. This will help encourage people to sign up for your email list or check out what you’re offering. Also, don’t forget to share your posts to your social media following, this goes hand in hand with #8 above, if it’s useful to them, they’ll read it and possibly share it with friends and co-workers.

What creative ways have you integrated social media into your e-commerce store? What works and doesn’t work for you? Let us know in the comments below!

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