Deciding what platforms your company should live on socially takes consideration of many factors. In our previous article we discussed the six platforms kitchen and bath industry professionals should consider joining to reach the largest audience:
- LinkedIn – 414 million members
- Facebook – 1.65 billion users
- Houzz – 35 million users
- Pinterest – 100 million active users
- Instagram – 400 million users
- Google+ – 300 million users
We covered the specifics of the first three in the July issue of KBDN, which represents 75% of the social population our industry should be targeting. This month, we’ll look at the second group: Pinterest, Instagram and Google+.
Your presence on the last three platforms serves double duty by increasing your website validity to search engines, and reaching the outskirts of your social audience, as well as future buyers. This final list cannot be thoroughly discussed without clarifying the importance of handles and hashtags. Hashtags are frequently utilized on the last three platforms.
Social platforms use handles; think of it as a nickname for your company. It allows people to find you quickly in a shorthand fashion on each individual platform. Selecting a handle requires some planning and research. Ideally your handle should be the same for all of your social platforms. If it cannot, the handle should be as similar as possible across the platforms. For example, on Facebook my company is @perfectsix, on Instagram and Twitter it is @theperfectsix, and I stick with those two consistently. Handles are searchable on Google so people can easily find you and your posts.
Hashtags are used to market products and brands across social media services. Hashtags originated on Twitter and are words or phrases preceded by a hash or pound sign. They are now commonly used across the Internet to signal that posts or messages are related to specific issues, topics, promotions or events.
In 2013, Google added hashtags as searchable terms, increasing their value even more. Be sure to search hashtags on Google prior to using one to ensure there is no prior undesirable publicity with that particular hashtag.
Pinterest leans toward a female audience of roughly 70%, and members spend an average of 98 minutes per month on the site. Your visibility on Pinterest not only exposes your brand to a wider audience, it points people to your website, generating traffic and strengthening your importance to search engines. Additionally, six website visits are generated by one pin – so every pin has the potential to generate traffic directly to your website.
Do: Create boards based on common search terms for your products. Some examples are: “White Kitchens,” “Traditional Kitchens,” or “Contemporary Kitchens.” Upload high-quality pictures of your work. Include hashtags in the descriptions of the pins, for example: #allwhite, #whitekitchen. Also include links to your website that contain related products or images.
Don’t: Create a Pinterest site that only contains “pins” of other companies’ or designers’ work. Commingling boards of the products you carry is encouraged – just be sure your work or products represent a feeling of your unique voice and examples of your work.
Instagram is primarily a photography sharing network that was purchased by Facebook on April 9, 2012, for $1 billion. Keep in mind that, today, Facebook owns 57% of our target audience, and I see no reason not to anticipate Instagram’s continued growth based on its use – which doubles every day. On an average day, 80 million photos are shared by an audience primarily under the age of 35. If that is not enough to get your attention, over one third of Instagram users have used their mobile device to purchase a product online – making them 70% more likely to do so than non-users.
Do: Post your best photography on this visual site. Share the love by including fellow Instagrammers’ handles that are featured in the image of the design you posted. Boost engagement 13% by adding hashtags to your post. Earn 79% more engagement by adding a location. An example of a great hashtag is #dreamkitchen.
Don’t: Put website links in your captions; they do not work. Don’t post more than three times a day when you are just getting started and garnering followers. You don’t want to be unfollowed because your posts are filling up their feed too much.
Google+ is an interest-based social network that is owned and operated by Google Inc. It launched in 2011 as a social network and today boasts over 2.2 billion users. However, active Google+ user accounts are low. Eric Enge at Stone Temple Consulting conducted a study in April of 2015 and found less than one percent of the users are active on the site socially. Alternatively, the Googlebots that search the Internet and help website rank are indeed active on Google+, which is a compelling reason to have a presence on this social site.
Do: Start a profile, find your friends and add them to your circles. Engage in their activity so they do likewise. Be professional and polished in your demeanor. Post photos and use hashtags generously. Post consistently, even if you post only one day a week – do so on the same day of the week consistently.
Don’t: Use social media management tools like Hootsuite to post on Google+ as it shows up as a link with no visuals, adding no value. Don’t expect a tremendous following or activity on this social site.
We have developed a series of five minute videos that walk you through the steps to quickly set up a profile on all six of the social sites mentioned above. The videos are designed to quickly put you on the fast track to social success and can be found on the KBDN website: http://www.staging3.kitchenbathdesign.com/videos.
Denise Grothouse has an extensive background in international business, branding and marketing. She specializes in digital and social platforms and integrating them with traditional marketing and branding strategies. No stranger to the kitchen and bath industry, she is best known for her work as chief brand officer of Grothouse, Inc., and president of the marketing company Perfect Six.