Businesses looking to turn social media influence into sales should focus on two platforms: Facebook and Pinterest. A recent report from online sharing service Shareaholic revealed that Facebook and Pinterest deliver substantially more referral traffic than Twitter, YouTube, Linkedin and other social media competitors. Facebook accounted for more than 10 percent of Internet traffic in September 2013, and Pinterest referred more traffic than the rest of surveyed competitors combined. Businesses are using this social influence to drive sales in a number of ways. Whether through ads, organic engagement or integrated sales store, the opportunity to earn business from Facebook and Pinterest has never been higher.
Both of these platforms are learning how to best integrate advertisements into their normal functions. Facebook has steadily grown its advertising share year over year, and now it trails only Google in terms of net digital ad revenues. Facebook can target customers for your ads based on a number of demographics. If you cater to small business owners, Facebook will target your ads to entrepreneurs and owners. Facebook’s advertising suite helps businesses build their pages, connect with relevant users and create advertisements.
Pinterest doesn’t have as much experience in the advertising game, but it features a few key advantages. Women dominate Pinterest. As of 2013, about 80 percent of Pinterest users were women, who make up 85 percent of all consumer purchases, according to BusinessWeek.com. Pinterest is still toying with “Promoted Pins,” but it hasn’t yet rolled out a paid advertising model. When it does, businesses will be quick to get a jump on the competition.
Businesses looking to expedite the sales process are integrating storefronts directly on these social platforms. There are a number of tools to facilitate transactions. Shopify is an e-commerce provider that helps business sell online. Shopify’s Facebook app enables transactions directly on Facebook pages. Prospective Facebook buyers may hesitate when a link takes them to an outside website, but Shopify keeps the process on one platform. Shopify can sync with a number of accounting suites, including Intuit’s popular small business platform Quickbooks.
Soldsie offers businesses another way to make sales on Facebook. Its innovative program manages Facebook auctions in which retail businesses post items and users comment with the word “Sold” to purchase. Soldsie automatically tracks these transactions and facilitates payment.
Pinterest is built around users posting links and viewing links to outside websites, so an in-app store front is somewhat unnecessary. Most product links send users directly to the website, boosting traffic and enabling the purchase.
For most businesses, Facebook, Pinterest and other social media outlets provide the best chance to connect with customers on a personal level and build their brands for free. Social care is a popular trend in which businesses attend to customer complaints via social media. International airliner Jet Blue is known for its attentive social care. Jet Blue responds to customer concerns about flight cancellations, lost luggage and other mishaps. If you have consumer complaining on various social media outlets, don’t leave them unattended. Not only will you retain customers, you’ll also demonstrate your commitment to customer service on all networks.
Facebook and Pinterest have established themselves as effective business tools. Both large and small businesses can benefit from these influential platforms. Whether you’re looking to boost sales, spread the word about your business or strengthen customer relationships, Facebook and Pinterest have the potential to deliver substantial results on a tight budget.