June 15, 2015
For small businesses the big networks are almost always Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. However, for Ecommerce businesses or businesses that are image-heavy, these social networks are not the only ones to take seriously. Networks such as Instagram (300 million users) and Pinterest (72.8 million users) clearly get huge amounts of traffic each year, but they can offer more than just visibility. Getting involved and optimizing your accounts is a great way to get your products and photos out there in front of a targeted audience and hopefully lead to sales.
Finally, after what seems like forever, Pinterest and Instagram are taking this seriously and helping out small businesses by adding a revenue button to their platform (yes, they had this thought at almost the same time). This major announcement marks a social commerce revolution, so it’s important to think about how you can optimize these networks as well as other social accounts to specifically create conversions on your website.
What Pinterest is called “buyable pins” was just announced last week and is probably the best opportunity for small businesses when it comes to these two image-drive social networks. The pin option will be right next to the regular pins that users use to create their customized boards. Click the blue “Buy It” button and you will be taken to checkout. When a user clicks that pin and wants to make a purchase, they will be taken to a page to fill out their credit card information.
Pinterest took things one-step further and is also allowing users to search buyable pins specifically, so those who want to shop only for items that are for sale can do so by searching for their term, clicking on the blue “see more” button, and then scrolling through results. Users can even click on a blue “$” to add in price limitations. Below is a screenshot from the official announcement on the Pinterest blog:
The Pinterest user-base often searches for things hoping they can re-create them or find them somewhere online to buy, so this new feature has been a long time coming. It gives retailers an incredibly targeted audience, and usually with less competition than they’d have in the Google SERPs. As senior director of Demandware Adam Forrest stated in the Search Engine Watch article, “Pinterest’s move is another step in the natural evolution of social commerce.” Users are no longer dedicating their time to just one destination when searching online, so it’s crucial that online merchants keep up and take advantage through every platform they can.
Instagram’s button is going to look like “Shop Now” to users. Merchants have to opt-in to include a Shop Now button, but if they do users will be able to download an app or purchase an item they see in their feed right then and there. However, the catch here is that so far this feature will only be available to merchants and users via mobile.
Regardless, this new button will allow users to click to shop more and it will send people to the ecommerce companies website, their app, or sign up for their mailing list. In other words, the actual shopping experience does not take place within the app like it does with Pinterest. This is most likely because Instagram does not want to bombard users with shopping opportunities because Instagram is about more than shopping (if they did bombard users with ads, they would almost turn into Pinterest). Below is a screenshot from AdWeek:
What’s cool and unique about Instagram is that because they are a Facebook owned company, merchants are able to target users using Facebook’s information such as demographics, interests, past search history, and more.
Although Pinterest beat Instagram with their Buy Button, Facebook, Twitter, and Google already have Buy Buttons installed. You can visit this article to learn more about your options on these social networks.
Again, optimizing your accounts for ecommerce means essentially using the options discussed in the article above and thinking about your audience when creating ads. You can learn more about optimizing social networks in general—getting your account found, increasing followers, publishing relevant content, utilizing contests and engagement, etc.—by visiting the article mentioned above. Also check out here to learn more about improving the ROI of your social efforts in general.
Officially all of the major social networks have some sort of option for ecommerce companies, so it’s important that you get started with these social networks and put a strategy in place to really take advantage. More and more people are beginning to jump around from desktop to mobile and jump from social network to social network, so optimizing for one search type and one search type only is becoming more obscure.
While Pinterest seems to have really paved the way for a direct way for users to buy, it’s not hard to make the assumption that other networks are next. Social media is about connecting users with other people, absolutely, but they are evolving just like the web. Their mission is to make things easier for users, and fortunately for small businesses this means making shopping more readily available.
What are your thoughts on social commerce and the new Pinterest Buy Button? Let us know in the comment section below.
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