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BizReport : Social Marketing : July 25, 2018

How to win with social content

While marketers have long known how to create great content for ad campaigns and email, social media content has proven to be a more difficult sell. One expert sheds light on how marketers can begin updating their social content strategy to better engage consumers.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: How is product content different when created for social media? 

Dave Feinleib, CEO, Content Analytics: On retailer sites like,, and others, product content tends to focus on core content like accurate product titles, descriptions and images. Shoppers are making a purchase right on the page, and they want to clearly see what they're buying. Also, if what they see and what's described on the page don't match what's delivered to them, they'll send it back--increasing returns and seller costs. On a retailer product page, core content comes first, followed by rich media and user generated content.

On social media, it's almost the reverse. The focus is heavily on rich media like videos and user-generated content, and much lighter on traditional product shots. It's more about product placement and brand awareness. Product content that does well on social media is, by nature of the platforms themselves, more social--content that shoppers will want to share with their friends.

That said, eCommerce sites are refreshing their look and feel to be more social. Walmart's site redesign earlier this year focuses much more on high-res lifestyle shots. Target is incorporating Instagram content directly into their web pages. And leading brands like PepsiCo are building customized content for individual retailer sites.

Kristina: Why is this something brands and merchants need to be doing? 

Dave: People spend 950 million hours on Facebook a day. Instagram says that users under 25 spend more than 32 minutes a day on the platform, and users 25 and over spend more than 24 minutes a day. One study found that 72% of shoppers made a beauty, fashion or style purchase after seeing something on Instagram. 

So, brands need to be active on these platforms. Otherwise, they're losing out on critical time in front of their consumers.

And even when a shopper makes a purchase in-store, most of the time, the research process now starts online. With the right product content, brands and merchants can create awareness on social media. Combined with making sure those high-res product shots and comprehensive product descriptions are live on retailer web sites, they can increase greatly the chances that shoppers will make a purchase.

Kristina: Can content that's optimized for one social media platform also be used for another, like Facebook to Instagram?

Dave: Your content needs to be tailored for each platform and for the audiences and users of those platforms. People don't go to Facebook to consume the same content they get on Twitter; and they expect different content on Instagram than on Pinterest.

But the real answer is--you need to measure performance. Videos, micro-content, user-submitted content - these can all be great ways to generate interest. Contests, too, can a be great way to generate interest in products. In eCommerce you've got to experiment and measure results frequently. That's the only way to know what's really working.

Kristina: Which social sites do you think are the most important for the growing social commerce realm? 

Dave: Today, the most important sites for growing social commerce are probably Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Pinterest. With some 2 billion active users, Facebook drives the most traffic. But some studies have shown that other sites drive higher conversion rates.

People probably don't go to Twitter to research products or get shopping ideas--but they do post there if they've had a poor experience with a brand. If a brand isn't part of the conversation on Twitter, they're missing out on a key opportunity to address customer concerns.

Of course, there's one site that almost no one mentions as a social commerce site--but it is social. Multiply the number of products by the number of reviews on Amazon and you have an incredible volume of social content. Combine that with the number of questions and answers, plus the ability to indicate whether reviews are helpful or unhelpful, and there's actually a ton of interaction going on. Amazon may be less talked about in social commerce, yet it's one of the most social shopping platforms there is.

Kristina: What are your top three tips for creating optimized content for social sites?

Dave: First, consider your audience. Are you optimizing for a ten-second video that's going to disappear in 24 hours or a video that may be up on the web indefinitely? 

Second, consider partnering with a social media influencer. Social media influencers already have lots of followers. If you can bring them content that is relevant to their audience, they'll likely be interested in partnering with you. 

Third, think about how you can tie your social media content back to your core product content on the eCommerce sites where shoppers make the purchase. Most sites now support reviews, and many are integrating social media content directly into their sites. 

It's a two-way street, with shoppers going to sites like Amazon, Walmart and Target to learn about products, and shoppers learning about products on other sites and then going to the shopping site to make the purchase.

Tags: Content Analytics, content tips, social marketing, social marketing content, social marketing tips

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