The holiday season is a make-or-break time for brands. In fact, many earn as much as 40% of their revenue during the holidays. As Black Friday 2017 approaches, it’s clear that the pressure is on.
To get a sense for just how big the holiday season will be in 2017, let’s take a look back at the numbers from 2016. The strengthening economy led people to spend more freely in 2016 and, in turn, online sales increased 12% to $122 billion. At Curalate, we see traffic through our touchpoints double from mid-November through the end of the year. As more and more shoppers are shifting to online purchases, social media — particularly Instagram — is playing a growing role in how people discover products.
Whether you’re an Instagram expert or a just trying to keep up with the demands that come with sharing compelling content each day, we’ve got some advice that could help optimize your Instagram strategy. In fact, I shared them in an October 31 webinar. Read on for a recap. To view the webinar in its entirety, click here.
Tip #1: Make Instagram Shoppable
Instagram will soon eclipse 1 billion users, surpassing every other social network in new user growth and time spent on the platform. So it goes without saying that Instagram is more important now than ever. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of Instagram users say they’ve purchased a fashion, beauty or style item after seeing it on Instagram. This shows that Instagram is not only the go-to place for sharing photos, it’s a major driver of purchase decisions.
For brands of all sizes, Instagram adoption is becoming ubiquitous. That means a solid Instagram strategy is crucial for any marketing team. But how can you bridge the gap between your Instagram content and your holiday-ready e-commerce site? Make it shoppable!
With only one link in your Instagram profile (and no links in individual posts), you’ve got to be strategic. Curalate Like2Buy is the first solution to bring shopping to Instagram. It lives in a simple link and allows your customers to move beyond your visually pleasing feed to a place where they can shop all of the products featured in your posts.
Here’s a look at Sephora’s Like2Buy shop:
And if you’re currently using Instagram Shopping, Like2Buy is a great complement. Brands using Instagram Shopping and Like2Buy see up to 90% of their Instagram revenue from Like2Buy. You can shorten the path to purchase even more by enabling Amazon Pay remote checkout. It plays nicely with Like2Buy, so your customers can go from a gotta-have-it moment on Instagram to a secure purchase without needing to pull out their credit card.
Tip #2: UGC to the Rescue
It’s not as tricky as you think. Try reaching out to micro-influencers this year. Micro-influencers are Instagram users who don’t have massive follower counts, but the quality of their audience is really rich. In fact, 82% of consumers said they were highly likely to follow a recommendation made by a micro-influencer. Curalate makes it easy to discover and bookmark influencers so you can generate more content and reach more audiences with just a few clicks.
There’s a lot to celebrate this holiday season and your followers should be one of them. Partnering with your followers can be a great source of high-quality content that’s going to get high-quality traffic back to your site.
Tip #3: Schedule in Advance, Breathe Easy
We know that Instagram is a vital channel for growing your business. You want to schedule posts, understand post performance and get solid analytics to help plan future strategies. The asks are simple but the execution can be daunting.
That’s why we’re going to be releasing some exciting enhancements to our Instagram scheduling tool that will help you drive brand awareness and quality traffic to your site. The new tools will streamline your scheduling workflow, bubble up meaningful insights, and access analytics you can’t get anywhere else. It features a sleek new dashboard that will serve as your one-stop shop for everything from scheduling to engagement metrics. We understand how important Instagram is to your strategy and want to make sure you have the tools you need to work as efficiently as possible.
All will be revealed soon. Stay tuned.
Tip #4: Give Fans a Peek Behind-the-Scenes
Usage of Instagram Stories continues to grow. On a daily basis, over 250 million users are viewing Instagram Stories. Use Stories to tell your unique brand story through a mix of visuals and videos. Try using it to offer a behind-the-scenes look at your brand as your team gears up for the holidays — this could be a holiday photo shoot, a special event or giveaway. Or engage your followers via your Stories by asking them a question or using the new polling feature.
As Instagram Stories becomes a bigger part of your marketing strategy, it’s important to track performance on these just as you would on a normal post. Curalate offers the tools to not only schedule these stories in advance, but see how they’ve performed afterwards. And don’t worry — we don’t require you to log in to our app every 24 hours to make sure these insights appear. We want you to enjoy that egg nog on the weekend.
Tip #5: Allow Customers to Walk the Virtual Aisles
It’s happened to all of us — you’re thumbing through a social feed and you stumble upon something you never knew you needed in your life. That’s discovery. Discovery is a break from the mundane. It’s an invitation to new possibilities. In short, discovery feels good.
Raymour & Flanigan does a great job of replicating the in-store experience online. They used Curalate Showroom — which transforms the images and videos the brand shares on social media into jumping off points to a whole world of products to explore.
In the past, brands like Raymour & Flanigan would share a compelling image — say of a gorgeous bedroom — then be forced to send people to just one specific product detail page. Why share a pic of a bed, nightstand and lamp only to send consumers to a product detail page for the bed frame? What about that lamp? What about those pillows?
Using machine learning, Showroom automatically introduces relevant and diverse product recommendations to help consumers find more items they’ll love and easily see the associations between products. The result is the closest thing that a consumer can get to walking the aisles of a Raymour & Flanigan store, online.
With Showroom, Raymour & Flanigan consumers explored more products, bounced less, and engaged longer — without any help from the company’s IT department (an important thing during the holiday season, when site lockdowns are common).
The results speak for themselves: they saw a 174% increase in time spent on site and a 79% reduction in bounce rate. You can easily use a Showroom link today in an Instagram Story post via the “Swipe Up” feature, which will result in increase discovery for your consumers and more quality traffic to your site.
Want to win on Instagram? Partner with Curalate. Not only were we the first solution to bring shopping to Instagram, we offer advanced analytics to help you determine which posts perform best. We also have solutions to help brands gather and manage UGC, find Instagram influencers and make checkout a snap.
On average, our clients achieve: 79% increases in time-on-site, 16% jumps in average order value and 31% increases in conversion rate. What can Curalate do for your business? Contact us to find out.