Big Brands and the Business Benefits of Social Media: Pt. 2
ADOTAS (Second of three parts) – Yesterday, >we covered the business benefits of Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. In this installment, we’ll cover Pinterest, Instagram, and Vine, all of which are primarily image- and/or video-based platforms. This article shows digital marketers and social media managers how to strategically implement Pinterest, Instagram, and Vine.
Currently ranked seventeen among the world’s largest social networks, Pinterest enables brands to highlight their products and lifestyles through pinning images to specific boards (i.e. categories). The most popular Pinterest topics are interiors, DIY, kitchen, fashion, and crafts. And because Pinterest users not only spend more than other referral source users but also tend to have more disposable income, businesses and brands that offer products in these spaces should seriously consider a Pinterest presence (FYI: pins that include retail price result in a higher click-through rate). You can feature your products, your employees, or office or brand lifestyle. Users who follow your brand then re-pin your pins to their boards for their followers to see, further expanding your audience.
Once you’ve done got your Pinterest profile started, make sure you build boards around your different products. You may also want to create a separate board for best-selling products (a best-selling product adds product validation and encourages prospects to make a purchase). Boards can be built around whatever topic you’d like, just make sure you are consistent in the type of content you post to each board.
Now here’s the really important part: Start pinning! Be sure each product includes a source link (very important) and a price so that pinners can find your product. All images should be optimized, meaning no fuzzy, out-of-focus pictures taken via a first-gen iPhone. Think of this as an additional storefront. You wouldn’t showcase product in a brick-and-mortar that had its price tag missing or its packaging ripped.
Finally, interact with other pinners. Remember that social media is… well, social! Comment, like, share, and follow brands and products that align with your brand and products.
Here are a couple examples of brands who exemplify how to successfully Pinterest.
Lowe’s, the lumber and hardware store, demonstrates how a brand is able to incorporate how-to guides into its marketing strategy. Lowe’s “Build it!” board provides users with crafty and easy DIY project ideas. Conveniently, Lowe’s also provides the products and tools needed to begin that amazing new project.
GE is proof that B2B users can still be successful on Pinterest. By highlighting brand lifestyle, the company is able to provide users with insightful content, while keeping its business in the minds of potential customers. GE makes science fun again.
Ranked fourteen among the world’s largest social networks, Instagram is the premier image- and video-sharing network with over 150 million users posting gifs, memes, videos, and photos. Instagram is a great platform to provide a glimpse into everyday life or sneak peaks to new products. This allows brands to develop a more “personal” relationship with their followers.
Using hashtags is extremely important for businesses on Instagram as these hashtags allow brands to create categories that users can search later. It also allows users to click a hashtag and find tons of content related to their product, item, or idea of interest. For instance, let’s take a look at @nickydiamond’s Instagram account, founder of the popular clothing brand Diamond Supply Co. All posts use the dedicated hashtag “#diamondlife”. When a users clicks this hashtag, they not only see all of @nickydiamond’s posts, but also the posts of other users who have hashtagged #diamondlife. This benefits both the Diamond team and fans of the brand: 1) the Diamond team can locate and interact with users who are wearing and loyal to the brand; and 2) fans of the brand can get a glimpse into how the clothing looks on people in real life and can influence a purchase decision.
When you create a dedicated hashtag for your company, you allow users to take a glimpse into your business through the eyes of the company as well as through the eyes of your peers.
Instagram is strictly limited to photos or 15-second posts so stay creative when you’re building your presence. Remember that photos are the most engaged with content on social media so always keep your strategy in mind.
What if you have a brand that’s main bread and butter is one product? Everyone is familiar with Coke, so how do you make a successful Instagram account for a brand everyone already knows? Kittens aside, Coca-Cola knows how to build brand lifestyle and uses Instagram to show the world a different side of the brand beyond the beverage. Take a gander through Coke’s profile – you’ll be hooked by the images and videos that premier Coke in our everyday lives.
With only six seconds to say or do what you need to, Vine’s popular video-sharing app can pack a large punch in such a small time. But you have to make sure that you include the content that will put the power in that punch. So what’s the best way to use your six seconds?
Most Vines are funny or intriguing and rarely wade into the existential as the content that does best capture attention immediately. Keep the content light-hearted. Appeal to emotion. Make use of stop-motion. And remember: it’s only six seconds so don’t try to cram in Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. Check out these brands that caught on to the potential of Vine early on and are using the platform to reach their audience and showcase their brand identities.
From mustaches to turkey to groovy skeletons, it’s clear the retail chain is having fun with its six seconds. Target’s Vine is able to make you laugh, wonder, and crave more. This all adds up to brand awareness and loyalty, which arguably result in purchases.
Using Vine, Dove is able to make us laugh, while also increasing brand awareness. Rather than straight out selling us a product, the cosmetics brand uses its six seconds to highlight its mission: real, un-Photoshopped women.
In the end, marketers want quantifiable results for their social media marketing efforts. However, we need to realize that creating and maintaining a brand may not necessarily increase short-term revenue goals but, and perhaps more importantly, it helps create long-term loyalty with current, new, and potential consumers.
Our final installment in this three-part series on social and business will cover LinkedIn, Foursquare, and Tumblr.
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