The media landscape is ever-changing with more time spent on social media, and increased shopping on mobile devices. Due to shifting consumer behaviors, brands must adjust their tactics to fit their customers’ needs. To hit the mark, brands must create a seamless blend of thumb-stopping content between all channels, especially social media.
An organic social media presence underscores paid social media efforts and vise versa. Providing consumers with organic pages that demonstrate important brand values and product benefits helps customers connect with the content they consume and helps build a strong brand identity.
Within the current state of the world, social media budgets are experiencing cuts. However, brands must maintain a solid organic presence to remain competitive, present, socially aware, and appropriate to move forward. Building a strong organic presence helps consumers along their shopping journey and lets brands reach people with the right messaging when they are spending increased time on social media during quarantine and beyond.
How Brands Can Improve Their Organic Social Profiles
Adding shopping features to organic social accounts allows consumers to convert where and when they want. In 2019, the U.S. faced a $213B opportunity cost because of friction in the shopping journey. By connecting a catalog and adding shops, brands are creating seamless user experiences, while also increasing chances for product discovery.
Facebook and Instagram Shops
With the new launch of Facebook Shops, Facebook has entered the organic shopping game. On both Facebook Shops and Instagram Shopping, users can purchase directly from a business profile, reducing friction in the shopping journey, and facilitating easier purchasing. Within Facebook and Instagram Shops, brands can create collections to browse products broken out by categories determined by the seller. With customization available in the shopping platforms, it is easy for brands to maintain consistency across all efforts.
Businesses can adapt to the current business landscape of increased time spent online to connect with consumers where they already are. Facebook and Instagram Shops allow consumers to message the brands directly through Facebook Messenger, Instagram Direct Messaging, and WhatsApp. With 42% of U.S. ecommerce shoppers chatting to buy on social and chatting platforms, Facebook is further moving towards a zero-friction future in shopping.
Facebook Shops and Instagram Shopping are free to install and support paid efforts. By connecting a product catalog to a business’s Facebook/Instagram account, brands can promote products directly organically, but also use that catalog for dynamic product ads in paid efforts. They assist each other, and a strong presence of both boosts overall brand identity and drives conversions.
Within the current climate, people are searching for inspiration more and more, and Pinterest reported a 60% increase in searches YoY (Pinterest Internal Data: presented in Webinar). Retailers have the opportunity to present their brand to users where and when they are active online. Pinners are looking for ideas, and Pinterest is facilitating a smooth transition from inspiration to purchase.
83% of Pinners have made a purchase based on the content they saw from a brand. People come to Pinterest undecided, and brands have the ability to influence. After all, 97% of the top searches on Pinterest are unbranded (Pinterest Internal Data: presented in Webinar).
Pinterest has introduced Pinterest Shops, where businesses can connect their product feed to show pins on the new Shops tab located in both search tabs and Pinterest boards. When consumers search for inspiration on Pinterest, they can click on the Shops tab to directly find in-stock products related to their search and shop directly through the app.
If a user pins a shoppable pin to their board, the Shop tab will also be available there. Pinterest is a visual-first platform that lets users visually search with their lens feature and find emotionally connected inspiration. Pinterest Shops has also introduced a visual search to find “similar products.” This related search has worked for larger retailers, but due to the large effort to set up this feature, it has yet to become popular for medium to small retailers.
Similar to Facebook and Instagram Shops, Pinterest allows for product group customization, further simplifying the consumer buying experience. Setting up Pinterest Shops allows inspiration to become actionable for both the pinner and the retailer.
In order to promote and educate consumers on product availability and new shopping methods, there are many actions brands can take. Some tips for success:
- Include more than one product in an image, and tag all of the available products.
- Use call to action messaging in the caption.
- Diversify product images by showing different products in a variety of sizes and colors.
- Demonstrate how to shop using new shopping platforms. Feature this in an Instagram story highlight.
- Create tutorials on how consumers can use products in a variety of ways.
- Utilize a variety of different creative formats. Instagram Stories can include product stickers to connect to Instagram Shopping.
- Highlight consumer-generated content.
Other Organic Opportunities
Beyond Facebook and Instagram Shops and Pinterest Shops, there are many other completely organic, and paid-organic hybrid approaches a brand can take to improve their efforts.
Pinterest Verified Merchant Program
The Pinterest Verified Merchant Program is a free program available to retailers that helps build brand credibility and helps them stand out. This program provides a verified merchant badge to show customers that they have been vetted and meet Pinterest guidelines. To become part of the Pinterest Verified Merchant Program, brands must connect their product feed and set up the Pinterest tag on their website. This program also enables the Pinterest Shops tab to buy directly from their page and access to the Conversion Insights tool, which helps measure the impact of paid and organic Pinterest posts.
Community Management Best Practices
Brands must understand their consumers’ attitudes and respond to their questions and concerns. On both organic and paid posts, brands must respond to consumers’ comments. Some tips in responding to social media comments include:
- Do not ignore negative comments, nor delete them unless they violate the brand’s community standards.
- In addressing negative comments, offer a sincere apology with an actionable solution. If it continues, take the comments out of the spotlight by messaging the consumer directly or providing a customer service email.
- Make sure to address users by name and sign responses with a name to personalize the experience.
- Responses should mirror brand voice.
- Adopt a response grid of commonly asked Q&As to be used as a source of truth and expedite response times among moderators.
Maintaining consistency in brand messaging, tone, and voice is necessary across paid and organic social media. Brands must provide customers with aesthetically-pleasing, relevant content that is engaging. A variety of different post formats on Instagram and Facebook, such as stories with polls, carousels, and GIFs, create a more engaging and memorable experience for the user. On Pinterest, the ability to Pin a post to a board and post to a group shared board naturally drives engagement, and brands must capitalize on this inherent saving and sharing nature of pins. Creating pins that encourage inspiration, and sharing will further boost organic efforts.
Monitoring Customer Reviews on Facebook and Instagram
Facebook’s goal is to maximize value for its users – both businesses and shoppers. Facebook collects feedback from people who purchased through ads on Facebook Products to understand the shoppers’ experience better. Negative experiences get factored into an ad’s customer feedback score. The customer feedback score, ranging from 0-5, affects ad delivery and penalties. An advertiser must accurately represent products and availability; otherwise, the customer feedback score will suffer. A score of 3 or lower will result in the advertiser receiving emails stating they are close to receiving penalties. A score of 2 or lower will result in penalties, meaning they will reach fewer people with the same amount of spend. Monitoring customer feedback will help manage customer expectations. Some tips to improve customer feedback include:
- Set proper expectations for customers. This includes messaging regarding any shipping delays, and accurate product availability.
- Including size charts for retailer brands.
- Honor exchange and return policies outlined on the brand website.
- Be proactive in scaling advertising according to product availability.
Understanding the power of organic social media and how to improve current efforts will take a brand to the next level. Hand in hand, organic and paid efforts produce extraordinary results. During times of budget cutbacks, we must learn how to maximize our organic efforts to maintain a strong presence and allow for scaled paid efforts when budgets begin to normalize. Feel free to contact our team if you need help with your organic or paid social media strategies!