Shopping Habits and Social Media

It is a well known fact that to remain competitive, stores must utilize social media sites for marketing and promotions for consumers to purchase new, as well as aged, products. Do you find that you are making online purchases through your favorite social media sites? To clarify, what I am asking is when you view an ad on Facebook that displays a coupon for Bath & Body Works, Starbucks, or another favorite store; do you immediately click on that ad to get the coupon? Or do you find yourself driving to the closest store to venture around and see if anything new captures your attention? Is it just as convenient to go to the store’s website for a direct purchase?

For me, I’d say that I do a combination of all. If I see an amazing deal, I wouldn’t hesitate to click on it and shop right from the link, but I also have no issues with a retail mid-afternoon getaway!

A new global study from PwC, the global consultancy, reports that last year, only 12% of consumers bought anything through social media and only 18% of those consumers active in social media made a purchase as a result of information they got via their social-media connections,” states

What I find interesting about this is that we all use our favorite social media sites to follow or hear about up and coming brands. I know there have been multiple times that I have seen a new trend on Pinterest, or read through a friend’s tweet, that I immediately found myself further investigating to determine where I could directly purchase the merchandise. I’m sure I am not alone in this…or am I?

PwC claims there are three different types of shoppers that purchase from social media sites:

• Brand Lovers: These are die-hard shoppers. These shoppers frequent stores and make online purchases on a weekly basis. These people are not afraid to make direct purchases from social media sites and they do so often.

• Deal Hunters: Half of the population surveyed falls into this category. If they find an appealing offer, they click through to the store and make that special purchase. Personally, I think I can be found in this category. Who doesn’t like a good deal?

• Social Addicts: This group makes up the smallest percentage of shoppers, according to PwC. They use social media to talk about their experiences with brands. They learn from these sites which brands their friends love and will recommend. They submit questions to customer service channels and submit product feedback to the companies. Although a small percentage of social media site shoppers, they have a large influence on the online world with their frequent posts and comments.

It really just comes down to where do you personally trust to shop? Sometimes it’s just extremely convenient to buy merchandise when you’re already physically in a store and can compare prices, or better yet, compare to other stores’ merchandise pricing in general.

Yet sometimes, it’s just the most opportune to click “buy now,” right at that very moment when you see the merchandise pop up on the computer screen. I think it’s these unique personal preferences that in turn, ultimately, set the next shopping trends that we end up later reading about. If there is one thing that I am sure about, it’s that social media sites certainly influences what we buy, it’s just where we buy that is still up for debate.

Are You Targeting the Wrong Social Network?

By Melissa Goodman, Social Media Specialist at IMPACT So many small business owners have the mindset that if we capture tons of followers on our social media networks, that will be the key to a greater success for our business, but is this necessarily true?

Take, for example, your Twitter account.  According to Courtney Rubin, from a post on Business Writers, a 37 year old female is the target audience for Twitter.  If that is not the market that you are trying to reach to market your product, then chances are there is a better social network out there for you to utilize.

I recently read a study performed by Pingdom, a website monitoring service.  They surveyed 24 of the most popular social networks, including Facebook and Twitter.  The results from these studies said a lot about the target audience on the different sites.

  • More than 55% of Twitter users are older than age 35.  So, if you want to capture women in their mid-30’s, you should create Twitter posts that capture this audience’s attention.  Such topics as motherhood, careers, family, and beauty are all great topics for this type of account.
  • The youngest users, under the age of 24, found DeviantART.  This actually surprised me, as I would have thought Facebook was the leader.
  • LinkedIn had the highest percentage of users over the age of 55.  It is great to know that this generation is utilizing such networking services.
  • Tech-focused sites tended to be heavily male dominated, which is generally the rule of thumb.

Overall, it was found of the 24 sites, the majority of users were female (51.25 percent vs. 48.75 percent male).  It comes with no surprise that Pinterest was the most female dominated site.  I guess we have finally proved how much we love to eat, decorate, and shop!

What is the point to all of this?  Well, there tends to be a target audience for all social networks.  If your small business is more tech-savy, you may want to learn more about Slashdot.  If your audience is more artsy/creative, you may want to research Pinterest more in depth.

Have any of you noticed a difference in social networks?  Do you see the same members across the board or is it easy to differentiate?  Sometimes the key is not to have thousands of followers, but to connect and really engage those who are truly interested in your product.   I think it definitely pays to research if you want to reach a target audience specialized to your products.  It’s especially important with year-end approaching and the sky rocket sales that are usually predicted in the holiday season.

Pinterest – A New Social Media Channel On the Rise

Is Pinterest the right avenue for a small business? Social media giants Facebook and Twitter have revolutionized the way consumers and businesses alike communicate, but recently a new online community is generating quite a buzz.

Pinterest is an online social community where users “pin” articles, pictures, or links to a virtual bulletin board and can be ordered into categories based on the content or theme.

Before you start a pinning frenzy, consider doing your homework. Is Pinterest the right place to increase the visibility of your business?

The Benefits:

  • Pinterest is an informal online community. This makes it a great place to relax and click through an immense amount of content from all types of users.
  • If women are your target market, you’ve come to the right place. According to AppData of the nearly 10.4 million registered Pinterest users 97% of them are female.
  • Brands can be successful on Pinterest if they feature a product with strong visual appeal and are willing to interact to promote it.
  • The Pinterest experience can be customized based upon whom you follow. If you’re all about self-promotion the likelihood of attracting and maintaining a large follower base is slim. You have to be willing to interact and connect with others.
  • A few websites have benefited from huge traffic increases from pins shared from their sites. If you position your brand wisely on the Pinterest network it can translate to large amounts of traffic being directed to your site.

The Challenges:

  • Be aware that everything posted has the potential to go viral. If it does, your business may not get credit for the image unless you have watermarked it in a way that cannot be cropped.
  • Initially all pins shared are linked to either a website or uploaded directly from a computer. As pins are shared and re-shared many of the links are lost in the process. Unfortunately, it’s not a guaranteed way to drive traffic to your site.
  • Upon signing up for Pinterest there is an option to integrate your pins with your Facebook Timeline. If you opt for this permission every item you pin will be posted to your Facebook Timeline and will be visible to your friends, family, and colleagues.
  • Not all content is family friendly, be mindful of what might show up if you have a young audience.

If you think Pinterest is something you’d like to try out for your business, here’s how to succeed:

  • Upload images that draw attention directly to your brand or item you’re promoting. Focus your viewer’s attention right where you want it.
  • Name and categorize your pinboards thoughtfully. The boards are searchable, so include SEO friendly keywords to boost traffic.
  • Follow big names. This was a proven strategy in Twitter. If you follow popular figures or other leaders in your industry they’re likely to follow you back!
  • Describe the benefits your brand can offer, not just the features.
  • Share more than just what products you’re selling. Offer tips, short stories, or innovative products from other companies.
  • Make sure that you’ve completely filled out all of your pinboards before you start following others. Make sure you’re giving them something they’ll want to follow back!
  • Pinterest is all about exploration and connecting. Follow things that interest you and you have fun sharing. That excitement will catch on and further promote your brand.
  • Allow time to log in daily to respond to comments, see what has been added, and expand your pinboards.

Happy Pinning!

Pinterest: Get the 411

From the creators, “Pinterest is a Virtual Pinboard.” What does this mean exactly? How can I use it as part of my business’ social media plan? We will answer some of those questions, as well as offer tips on how to use Pinterest for your business.

Pinterest launched in 2010 and is growing rapidly. Think of Pinterest like a digital bulletin board.  A place to capture pictures, cutouts from magazines, swatches of fabrics, things you like, things you want, etc., but in a virtual format.  Maybe you found an online store you like, and you want to post that.  When you “pin” anything to your board, your followers can see it and just like Facebook and Google+, people can comment on it, re-pin it to their board, like it, and much more.  Like Facebook or YouTube, content that is pinned can go viral.

Businesses can use it as a virtual catalog. Place all of your products on your board and link them back to your website. Then post pictures of your customers using your product, or feedback you have received on your products.  If you want visitors to get to know your company as people and not just a brand, try posting things outside of your business scope, and let your followers learn more about your company and employee’s interests. Are you located in a great neighborhood, participate in community outreach, or is there something else about your company that makes it unique? Post that, and interact with others that have the same interests.

Do you have a coupon, special or deal that is running? Post it to a deal board, or reach out to individual followers or groups with that offer.

To keep your followers’ interest, an initial pin to your board is not enough.  Follow your followers’ pins, give feedback, but try to be helpful instead of promotional.  In the end, what you want is to have people follow you, and have your followers interacting with your board and/or directing users to your company by posting your products, service, etc. as theirpinterests”.

As with other social media sites, make sure you are ALWAYS linking people back to your website and your contact information.

Pinterest is not ideal for all businesses.  If you can’t put your product or service in visual form, it will be hard to locate or upload an image to tie back to your company. But even outside of selling your actual products and services, as described above, Pinterest can actually sell your company and your brand, if there is something unique or attractive that you can visually represent and attract others to.

The best way to know if it will work for you is to TRY.  Give it a month or two and see if your website traffic, orders, or client list starts to increase.

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