How Marketers Can Use Instagram and Facebook Shopping Features

How Marketers Can Use Instagram and Facebook Shopping Features

You’re scrolling through Instagram and come across the cutest summer dress– of course you want to buy it! But, how can you do that? Up until recently, you wouldn’t have been able to buy directly from an Instagram or Facebook post; thankfully, that’s all changed!

Both Instagram and Facebook now offer shopping platforms users can purchase items from. As a result, many of the tiny remaining friction points between discovering and buying products on social media platforms has been eliminated. 👏👏👏👏

Facebook Shops

At the end of May, Facebook announced it was rolling out Facebook Shops in an effort to “give people a place to experience the joy of shopping versus the chore of buying,” as well as help small businesses reach consumers that they may not have otherwise. 

Facebook shops makes it easy for a business page to set up a single online store for customers to access not only on Facebook, but on Instagram as well. It’s free to use, and (fairly) simple to set up. Businesses can choose the products they want to feature from their stores or catalogs, and add them as items in the shop. Businesses can also customize the look and feel of their shop with a cover image and accent colors that showcase their brand (consistent branding remember!). Essentially, any business or seller can bring their business online and connect with customers wherever and whenever it’s convenient for them. In fact, Shopify offers a superlative integration with Facebook for you to build your site, track and ship orders, and sell in person or through social media.

Facebook Shops can be found on a business’ Facebook page, or Instagram profile. Another benefit? Shops are also discoverable through stories and of course, ads. Customers can browse an entire catalog collection, save products they are interested in, and place orders. Order checkout can be done either on the businesses website, or there’s an option to enable checkout within the app itself. Additionally, if a customer needs help or has a question, there’s an option for them to message your business through Facebook Messenger, Instagram Direct Messaging, and WhatsApp (remember- Facebook owns WhatsApp too!

Instagram Shops

Starting this summer here in the United States, Instagram Shops will allow users to browse products and explore collections directly through a dedicated Shopping tab found within Instagram Explore. This option will take users directly to a brand’s shop or shop-able posts. Eventually, Instagram users will be able to jump into a shopping experience from the app’s main navigation bar “in just one tap,” and be able to filter items that they are looking for (ex: “home” or “beauty”). Just like with Facebook Shops, once a customer is in a business Instagram Shop, customers can purchase products in-app (when checkout on Instagram is enabled) or be redirected to purchase through the business website. 

Shameless plug: Be sure to check out our fearless leader Gina Schrek’s Ultimate Guide to Instagram!

Live Shopping and Loyalty Programs

Facebook is also testing a “Live” shopping option where sellers, brands and creators will be able to tag products from their Facebook Shop or catalog before going live and those products will be shown at the bottom of the video so people can easily tap to learn more and purchase. This allows those watching to shop for products in real-time.

Does your business have a loyalty program? Facebook is also exploring ways for customers to continue to earn rewards while shopping your business through Facebook. The rewards would be linked to the customer’s Facebook account where they can easily see and keep track of their points and reward milestones. Facebook is also exploring ways to help small businesses create and manage a loyalty program through Facebook Shop specifically. 

How Can Marketers Use Shops?

These opportunities to shop via social media provide a unique opportunity to expose your business and its products to a larger target audience. As a marketer, use Shops to leverage social media-driven sales, but of course, you’ll need to make sure you have a concrete strategy in place instead of just posting one-off about the products you offer!

What the Apple Security Update Means for Marketers

What the Apple Security Update Means for Marketers

If you’re one of the more than 113 million people that own an iPhone in the United States, chances are that you’ve already updated your phone to iOS 14.5. With this update, Apple is requiring users to provide explicit permission for an app to track, collect, and share data. So, after you’ve updated your phone, the next time you go into the Facebook app for example, a prompt will appear where you are asked to allow, or not allow, the app to track your use, and share your data. This is called a Tracking Transparency Prompt, and any apps that do not display the prompt will actually end up being completely blocked in the Apple app store at some point. Initial estimates thought that after the update, the number of users sharing their data will drop to between 10% to 15%, from roughly 70% today.

As a marketer, you most likely rely on social media apps to use this data so you can accurately target your audience for any ad campaigns that you may be running. Obviously, you want to make sure your content is getting in front of the right eyes! User privacy is something that is *very* important to Apple, so despite the pushback from Facebook, it’s highly unlikely that Apple will reverse course and change, or even get rid of, this new feature.

So, what do you do now?!

Initial data is actually more promising than we all thought, with opt-in rates much higher than previously anticipated: 39% overall and 26% average per app. Keep in mind those, these are just preliminary numbers, so this could change over time.

Our friends at Hubspot have given us a few quick tips to help navigate these privacy changes:

  • Believe it or not, there are other phone makers out there besides Apple! (Android, we are looking at you!) So, you can still target your ad campaigns to those users effectively and rest easy. Remember, when setting up a Facebook ad, you can specifically choose to target Android users.
  • Rely on your website a little more now. Make use of Google Analytics, or whichever analytics tool you prefer, to pay more attention to where your users are coming from, and what they are searching to get there. Then, you can create target personas or target audiences based on that data. (Data is king, remember! 😉)
  • Revisit, and refine, your organic content. Take the time to go through your content and make sure everything aligns from your website to your social media. Remember, you want your messaging and brand to be consistent in everything that you post organically! Use any relevant data (back to bullet #2!) to help strength, or refine, your content strategy.

While this iOS update has many marketers and business owners concerned about their ability to target future users and generate quality leads, the true impact of this update won’t really be known until the full rollout is complete. Like in the past, us marketers have adapted to updates and changes, such as moving from traditional marketing to digital, and from one platform to the next. We will get through this together!

How Can I Grow My Email List?

How Can I Grow My Email List?

A few months ago, we talked about why email marketing is going to be big in 2021 and what you can do to keep your customers and users engaged. 

Email marketing is one of the most effective online marketing tools around right now. The algorithms that social media platforms use are always changing, so your content might not be getting in front of the amount of eyes you were hoping for. Email marketing gets you directly in front of the eyes of the consumer, so you don’t have to worry about some unknown algorithm affecting your ability to market to potential customers. 

You can read more in the blog post linked above about why email marketing is huge right now, so we won’t repeat ourselves here! That being said, how exactly can you go about GROWING your email list to start email marketing? That’s where Landing Pages and Lead Generation (Lead Gen) come into play!

What are Landing Pages?

Landing pages are one-off pages (created on your website, or some email marketing services like MailChimp also offer landing page creation), that allow you to take the prospects that you’ve attracted and convert them to leads. One way of using your landing pages is to create a social media post or blog with a CTA that entices the customer to click, where they then get taken to a landing page.

Photo courtesy of Hubspot

Landing pages can be designed in a variety of ways. They can be set up so users simply enter their name and email to join your newsletter, or perhaps you’re offering a complimentary pdf on a subject they are interested in. When you don’t have a landing page, you can’t gather information about the people visiting your website, which makes it difficult to understand who they are, market to them, determine if they are even in your target market, and eventually convert them into customers. It’s also worth considering doing some A/B testing on your landing pages to see which one is converting more quality leads for you.  

Need some inspo? Check out HubSpot’s list of some landing pages to get your creative juices flowing!

What is Lead Generation?

Lead Generation is the process of attracting leads (potential customers) into your sales pipeline with the hope of nurturing them throughout the buying process to help convince them why they should choose your product or use your service. In short, Lead Generation is the initiation of customer interest into products or services that you offer. Landing pages are one of the top ways to create quality lead generation for your business or company, AND build your email marketing list.

Here at SocialKNX, we can craft landing pages that will not only help you grow your email list, but also generate leads to help you grow. As your email list keeps growing, we can also create drip campaigns to keep your leads interested until they become a customer. Reach out today and let’s plant that seed!

“Happy” One Year Anniversary, Pandemic

“Happy” One Year Anniversary, Pandemic

World pandemic

Unprecedented. 

In these uncertain times.

In these challenging times.

New normal.

Now, more than ever.

If you hear those phrases one more time you’re going to scream, right?

It’s been one year since a world pandemic shut down most of the United States and the way we conducted business and marketing activities drastically changed. As marketers, now that a year has passed, we are forced to take a good look at the ways marketing has (rapidly!) changed in ways that might be permanent. 

Preserving a focus on community and empathy was brought to the forefront of marketing efforts during the darkest days of the pandemic – and is definitely a marketing “trend” that is here to stay. The shutdown certainly caused anxiety and stress to be consistent emotions in our daily lives. As marketers, ensuring that messages are empathetic and compassionate is something that is necessary to continue, even a year later. You want to make an effort to be human and speak to consumers without the sales pitch. (Remember- marketing is all about creating that connection!)

And when was the last time you checked out those buyer personas you created? You may have had a crystal clear picture of your buyer persona in the past, but, as we know, things have changed! Businesses are finding all sorts of new buyers for their products or services. Think of all the family members that have learned how to use Zoom just for family get-togethers; Zoom isn’t just for businesses any more.

Have you started doing more online ads since the pandemic started? Well, that is also a “trend” that is going to stay consistent as consumers continue to go online to find the answers and solutions to their problems or needs. Additionally, your digital marketing efforts should still collect data in order to help craft your buyer personas and create impactful digital marketing campaigns using social media, email, paid ads, and more. Your data can help you decide where you’ll need to double-down on marketing efforts that are working and where you need to make tweaks to efforts that aren’t.

You know those 5 statements we opened this blog with? Hard truth: Those statements aren’t unique anymore! Consumers have become “blind” to seeing those statements and they are likely to just keep scrolling past your message. Continue to use phrases and words that are engaging and eye-catching and create that connection. Think outside the box! Remember, you need them to realize that your product or service is solving a problem of theirs!

The pandemic might have shifted the marketing landscape, but it has also created opportunities for brands to effectively reach and engage with consumers at different stages of the buying journey. As the economy continues to recover, there could be an increase in consumer spending, so you want to make sure you’re staying in front of your current and potential customers’ needs. 

And of course, there’s social media! Many people have turned to social media for socializing and are now active on a variety of social media platforms- even those who swore they wouldn’t be on TikTok when the pandemic started! This surge in social media use has led to businesses putting a higher focus on building and maintaining strong customer relationships on social media, allowing marketers more efficient and effective communication with their audience.

So while we’ve passed the one-year anniversary of the COVID shutdown, it’s not necessarily a time for celebration. We’ve all adapted in personal and professional ways, and as marketers, we’ve adapted our marketing strategies. That being said, the primary goal of marketing efforts still stays the same: generate brand awareness, increase customer leads, create consumer loyalty, and ultimately grow your business.

Google Ads in 2021

Google Ads in 2021

We know you’ve heard it a million times by now: “COVID has dramatically changed the way marketers must do business online.” And while social media and “traditional” digital marketing avenues such as email marketing and website design are certainly important to keep in mind, Google Ads is another avenue you should consider trying out in 2021. COVID has also had an impact on how people are searching for things online, so the way you use Google Ads might (well, really it WILL) have to change as well.

When creating your Google Ads, they are some best practices to keep in mind. Sadly it’s not as simple as creating some compelling text copy to get someone to click! You have to make sure that your ad strikes that oh-so-fine line of being keyword-rich and also readable; that you have a creative landing page built out that the ad directs to; and that you’ve created a bidding strategy so your ads have a chance of making the coveted front page of Google. And that’s just the beginning!

Be sure the text in your ad is optimized for Natural Language Search (NLS). In a nutshell, this involves using text and words in “everyday language,” so basically, how you talk! This is getting more and more popular partly due to the increase in individuals using voice search to search for things online (think “Hey Siri..” or “OK Google…”). Using these long-tail keywords, which are longer and more specific keyword phrases that visitors are more likely to use when they’re closer to a point-of-purchase or when they’re using voice search, will help you in optimizing your Google Ad. Google takes this into account when it prioritizes ads, so your best bet is to combine keywords with high potential for phrase matching with natural language.

It’s also important to make sure that your text for your ad does not repeat keywords (we can say it louder for the people in the back too)! Example of a “bad” ad copy: “Give your team digital marketing analysis tools with our data analytics solution.” It repeats keywords and offers no helpful solution at all, or accurately emphasizes what problem your company could help them solve. A better example would be: “Increase your client’s bottom line by up to 30% with our always evolving data system.” It sounds more natural, doesn’t repeat words, and clearly shows how it can help solve a problem. And, since it’s way easier to talk to your phone than try to type out a long, specific search phrase, natural language search doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon. (Side note: Google Keyword Planner is also a great tool to use when planning your Ad)

Automated Bidding. Love it or hate it, it’s one of the best ways to get to the first page of Google search results. This means that you need a bidding strategy. Surprisingly enough, you’ll set yourself up for more success if your bidding strategy involves automation. This handy graphic from Google Support helps lay the foundation for your bidding strategy. 

You might be thinking “Wait, I thought I could just ‘set it and forget it’ like my Crockpot dinner?” So this is kind of the case. You still might want to log in and evaluate the response that your ad is receiving and adjust the text accordingly. This approach has its benefits in that it can help you keep your cost down for the campaign and is an excellent way to get a feel for how Google Ads works. That being said, automated bidding where you start out with a cost-effective maximum spend can also give you the best shot at a well-received ad. In fact, Google offers smart automation for you to use that helps with your bidding.

Design your ads for mobile and desktop users. It might be easy to forget since the majority of us work from a computer, that people do a TON of searching from their phones (70% of all searches are on mobile devices, say what?!). The way a user searches also depends on the device they are using (remember how we talked about NLS above? You don’t really see people talking to their computers to search right?). You want to tailor your ads to the context and device by which you anticipate a user seeing them.

Evoking the “E” word in your ads. You guessed it: EMOTION. We all know it’s well-established and documented that evoking an emotional response in your audience is a MUST to get people to click. Sadly, you don’t have a lot of room to create an emotionally grabbing message in a Google Ad. But, you can still create an impression with the word choice and of course, your call-to-action (CTA). Be sure you are using phrases and words that match your branding. For example, maybe you’re a window cleaning service, so words like “faster,” “cleaner,” “shinier,” would resonate with someone looking for window cleaners. Like with your website, or any social media or email marketing, when you create the text for your CTA, you want to be sure you’re keeping the end-game in mind: what is the desired outcome from your ad? Is it a sign up for a newsletter? Is it a subscription? Is it a phone call? Always keep that in mind when you’re finishing off your Ad copy.

We know, that was a lot to take in and that’s not even the tip of the iceberg! Did you know that here at SocialKNX we can help you create amazing Google Ads to help drive business? Reach out today and let’s get started on making 2021 the year you get found on Google.