Four Ways to Use Social Platforms to Drive E-commerce Sales

By Communications, Corporate Strategy, Marketing, Social Media

With all the blogging, sharing, news articles and conferences that tout and exploit the uses of social media, you’d think the idea of using it to drive e-commerce sales would be a no-brainer. I mean everyone’s doing that, right? Anyone with an online storefront MUST be using their Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and Pinterest boards to drive traffic to product landing pages, right?

Turns out, not everyone understands that, especially in B2C. I was at a training session yesterday with one of our favorite retail clients, teaching them the amazing benefits of Sprout Social. This is a pretty great social media dashboard tool that allows you to manage all your social media presences from one location. As I was helping them hook it all up, I was also asking how these platforms were being used so far. Were they promoting items in the store? Sharing design ideas from their own people? Promoting designers and products outside of the store? Driving traffic to their online web store?

Turns out they were really only using their social platforms to promote things outside their store–designers, other Pinterest boards, other blogs. They weren’t really using the social tools to drive everyone back to their OWN store, either online or bricks and mortar.

I was very surprised, to say the least. But it made me think that maybe they weren’t alone, especially if they were a small business with limited time and resources. So here are some things you can do right now to help drive more sales using social tools.

  1. Set up a Facebook page and update it regularly. MOST people who buy things online have a Facebook presence of some sort. 67 percent of B2C companies and 42 percent of B2B companies have acquired a customer through Facebook (Hubspot, 2011). Use it to drive traffic to your blog, your Pinterest page, or better yet, specific product landing pages on your site. Facebook is a great way to stay in front of customers generally.
  2. Set up a Pinterest page to showcase your products. According to a recent BizRate Insights study, “sixty-nine percent of consumers who visit Pinterest have found an item they’ve purchased or wanted to purchase.” In some studies, it’s even outpacing Facebook as a product purchase influencer. While both sites are used to connect with people who share common interests, “Pinterest is more of a product finder and decision influencer.”
  3. Set up a Twitter account for sharing thought leadership. Post content from your blog, and ideas from others, along with deals and ides on your OWN site. Twitter is less effective as a sales tool for consumer products, but it’s great for business solutions and products.
  4. YouTube is still one of the largest search engines, so you have to have a channel. This can really enhance SEO as well. Post weekly video tours of section of the store, specials, or events you might be hosting in your brick and mortar store, but link to corresponding product or category pages in the online store!
  5. Make sure to set up Google Analytics on your web store so you can see what links drive the best results. It’s pretty easy and Google already tracks the major social platforms. You’ll quickly get an idea of what each platform brings to the table in terms of traffic and sales. The key here is to be everywhere, targeting each platform to do what it’s good at. But don’t be afraid to drive traffic to your store, rather than just your blog.

Need help? Call us!

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Three Ways The New MySpace Could Challenge Facebook

By Communications, Corporate Strategy, Marketing, Social Media

Here is a demo of the new MySpace, which was tweeted about by Justin Timberlake a few days ago. It’s pretty compelling. According to Chris and Tim Vanderhook, who bought the company in July 2011, MySpace’s new design now focuses on emerging artists who hope to be discovered. The Vanderhooks bought MySpace from News Corp. for just $35 million, after News Corp. paid more than ten times that for it in 2005.

I think it has the potential to do an end-run around Facebook for a few big reasons:

It’s clear that the designers and developers have been paying very close attention to what social networks are good at and what people use them for–sharing their life in pictures, connections and music.

First thing you notice is the prominent role music plays in the site. The musician in me loves this. It’s like you can create a soundtrack of events that can be tied to the images and posts you create. Very cool. The timeline is horizontal and everything in is a visual mash that ties posts, video, audio, connections and photos together around those events. It’s loose, slick, and sexy, and seems to borrow a lot from Path and Pinterest. If nothing else, it mimics how we act as expressive people and provides a refreshing antidote to the stodgy Facebook vanilla. It even lets you log in using competing network profiles.

It Appears to Be Anti-Grownup.

This demo looks like my daughter acts. She will sit in her room with music going while she texts friends, adds photos, connects music to pages, teases her Facebook friends, and does homework. The new Myspace seems designed to be immersive for teens. Good call, since their parents (and grandparents) have taken over Facebook. According to Will Oremus over at Slate.com,  “it’s going to focus more narrowly on becoming a social home for musicians, artists, celebrities—and their fans.”

Privacy Will be Paramount

Myspace got in a lot of hot water for their privacy violations a few years back and as a result they are on a pretty tight leash. That actually plays to their advantage right now, as Facebook users start to rebel against the shameless exploitation of their data by Zuck’s public company needs. It also maps closely to teens’ desire to get away from their parents in the digital spaces they are forced to share.

I have yet to see any mobile demo or vision, which they absolutely MUST deliver to have a chance to really succeed. But they are presenting a pretty impressive alternative to a suddenly tired Facebook, especially for the younger and more artistic set.

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How Cost Plus World Market is Using Pinterest

By Marketing, Social Media

I’m not a person who enters contests. That’s why, when I found myself spending an extraordinary amount of time entering a contest put on by World Market — with the chance to win just a $100 gift card, I took notice.

What compelled me to go through the steps necessary to participate? Especially because it was time consuming AND the payout is relatively small? One answer: Pinterest.

Part of it is professional curiosity to see how a consumer business is using Pinterest to host a promotional contest. Other than that, I like World Market — I shop there occasionally and am doing a little home and office redecorating — an extra $100 would go a long way! Not to mention, Pinterest is fun; it’s clear I’m not alone in this opinion as it’s the fastest growing social network to date. We can focus on the gender divide that says Pinterest draws many more women than men, and what that means for your marketing strategy, but if you KNOW your customer is female, why bother?

Are you using Pinterest for your business? Why or why not? Would you consider using the tool as a way to generate attention for your products and promote your brand?

Four Social Tools to Explore in 2012

By Social Media

Every day there are new apps and tools introduced and part of my job is to take a look at them and tell you what I think. I get as  overwhelmed by it as the next person, though and try to sort through the massive influx and determine what’s really worth my time, and yours.

Four tools I think are worth trying out in 2012 are:

  1. Spotify
  2. Pinterest
  3. StumbleUpon
  4. Path


I love music and have friends with excellent musical tastes and diverse interests. Spotify (the premium social music sharing edition) allows me to take all the music with me everywhere I go, to listen to others’ playlists, discover new bands and relive my youth with tunes of the 70s and 80s — whenever and wherever I want.
Women, in particular, are flocking to this platform — designers and those with an eye for beauty seem to like it best and for creative inspiration it can’t be beat.
This is a tool to rediscover — you may have used it in the past, but it’s re-branded, new and improved and I like it a lot! When I’m stuck for writing topics or need a new way to discover content outside of my social network, I’ll spend all night stumbling.
I’ve only been on Path for a few days — but I get it, and I like it so far, as a Facebook alternative. It’s an app for your smartphone that takes all that’s awesome of the Facebook timeline profile concept and focuses on that, while eliminating all the lack-of-privacy nonsense we don’t like about the FB. Try it. You might like it, too.

What are you eager to try out in 2012?