Posts tagged online engagement
The following excerpt, from the article Disappointed by the ROI of social media? Set a ‘giving’ budget, was written by Jay Palter, social media strategist and speaker, and published on The Globe and Mail. For more information on why it’s important to reciprocate social media attention and another way you can accomplish the task, view the full article.
If you’re like most people that are active on social media, you’re probably paying more attention to how many retweets you get, and how often what you share is liked on LinkedIn or Facebook than you do to how often you are doing these things yourself. You’re probably thinking of all the ways you can use your social media accounts to promote your business and its products and services and drive traffic to your website.
In social media, we promote ourselves by promoting others. We attract attention to ourselves by shining a light on others.
Try this. Set a “giving budget” for your social media activities and actually identify some goals. How many “likes” do you want to give each week? How many times do you want to comment? If you’re connected to your clients on social networks, you should be setting a giving budget specifically for them.
Here are some easy ways to focus on giving more to your social networks:
1. Use lists and share content. Track influencers and clients using Twitter lists and Google+ circles, then try to share something from those people every day.
2. Pay some attention. Invest some time and mental energy each week to review the feeds (Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, etc.) of your key influencers and clients and look for opportunities to comment and engage. People will take notice and reciprocate if you are consistently paying them attention.
3. Give credit where it’s due. When you share anything, mention the source. Say you discover a great article shared by a contact on LinkedIn and you tweet it, you should give that person credit on Twitter with a mention.
4. Like and comment thoughtfully. It’s easy to click ‘like’ on articles shared to Facebook, but take the extra time to read/scan what’s being shared and add a meaningful comment. “Great post” is a nice thought, but trying to be more thoughtful is a better investment.
The following excerpt, from the article How to Get Noticed on Facebook Without Paying for Sponsored Links, was written by Tim Parker, owner of ECS, and published on intuit.com. To learn even more ways to increase your posts’ reach, view his full article.
If you don’t want to pay for sponsored content, how can you increase the chances that your posts will still gain exposure? Use these tips:
- Turn on “get notifications.” EdgeRank is Facebook’s algorithm that decides which posts will be in front of the eyes of your fans and which won’t. Remember the days when the little red number at the top of your page would alert you to a new posting on pages you liked? That’s now turned off by default when a person likes your page. Have your fans turn it on by going to your business’s page, hovering over the Liked box, and clicking “get notifications.” Then, pin the post to the top of your page, so it stays within view of your new fans.
- Don’t abandon text. Brandon Duncombe, social media manager at Bargaineering.com says, “Regardless of the medium, you’ll still need to have text in your posts that draws users in. Asking open-ended questions and encouraging debate grabs eyeballs. But always make it relevant to what you want the user to ultimately do (click on an image, watch a video, click on a link, etc.).”
- “Like” other pages. View other business and nonprofit pages while using Facebook as your business instead of as an individual. Share their interesting posts or announcements on your page. This may prompt others to share your content, which means fans of other pages will see your name. It also puts fresh content on your page without a lot of work.
The following excerpt is from the article UC-Irvine Athletics Launches Social Media Command Center written by Chris Syme, author of Listen, Engage, Respond, and published on SocialMediaToday.com. Although the article pertains to an Athletics department, college stores can take note of several strategies that could be put to use in their store, including fan photo promotions, the integration of reward programs into social media and more.
In an effort to harness and utilize the power of social media, UC Irvine Athletics has announced the launching of the Zot Com social media command center.
Inspired by several high-profile social media command centers such as Gatorade’s and the New Jersey Devils’ “Mission Control” centers, as well as Oregon’s Quack Cave, the Zot Com command center coordinates UCI Athletics’ social media efforts across its website, 17 Facebook pages, eight Twitter feeds, two Instagram accounts and official YouTube channel.
Located in the lobby of the Mesa Office Building, the center features three 47-inch TV screens and three 30-inch monitors powered by four computers that follow UC Irvine’s sports-related content across a range of platforms.
Five undergraduate students man the Zot Com center and are tasked with engaging UCI’s athletic fan base, monitoring the Anteater programs’ presence in cyberspace as well as helping to create unique content that connects UCI Athletics with the campus and community. Working with full-time members of the Media Relations and Marketing staffs, the student interns provide detailed reports that are used in shaping social media strategies and messaging for the department. The interns also are responsible for identifying athletic advocates, monitoring advances in social media as well as proposing new tools and practices to be integrated into the current workflow.
UCI Athletics has recently partnered with Tickr to filter the web for mentions of the Anteaters, organize them on a timeline, and display it all on a single page. Tickr has partnered with major brands such as PepsiCo Gatorade to build social media command centers and activate social media promotions.
“This helps us to engage with our fans and build a stronger community,” said Robby Ray, assistant athletic director. “If someone tweets about Peter the Anteater, or if people share an image of Leonardo DiCaprio wearing a UCI baseball cap as he did a few years ago, it will be on display in our center. Then, we can grab it in real time and share it with our fan base.”
UCI has also launched a program, “Eaters all Win” powered by row27, that rewards Anteater fans for their social media support. Fans earn points for posting content about UC Irvine sports on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, buying tickets to events and donating to the Anteater Athletic Fund. On game days, fan photos can be sent in to “UC Irvine Fan Photo” and points are awarded if their picture is displayed on the video board. Points from the rewards program are then used to claim Anteater memorabilia and prizes. Soon to be added to the prize store are unique fan experiences available only to “Eaters all Win” registrants.
“We want to energize our fans,” said Ray. “In this digital age, it’s important to recognize and reward those who not only support us by attending our events, but who are digital advocates for the Anteaters as well.”
Who manages your store’s social media presence: students, staff, interns? Tell us about your strategy in the comments section.
The following excerpt is from an article written by Pam Moore, CEO / Founder of Marketing Nutz, LLC, and published on SocialMediaToday.com. Moore offers a great perspective on how to effectively communicate with your customers and steps you should take to make sure that voice is authentic. Below, you’ll find five of her main points. View the full article for 15 more suggestions that will help you build your brand even further.
Your customers are human. Your partners are human. Your employees are human. Even your social media fans and followers are human.
So answer this question… why are you talking to them like they are a robot who wants to read your corporate speak?
Your audience wants to see you, hear you and understand you. They want you to inspire them to connect and engage with you. They want you to help them achieve their goals and objectives. So tell me, are you doing these things?
Humanizing your brand is a requirement, not an option if you want to survive in business today. Yes, you can put brand humanization on hold. However, every day you lose is a day you could be building relationships, nurturing friendships, establishing and earning the respect of powerful brand evangelists who will shout from a mountain top how wonderful you and your brand are.
Don’t wait. The time is now. Here are several tips to help you humanize your brand starting today:
Have a personality.
Knowing who you are is obviously key to having a brand personality. If you don’t know what your brand personality is then you better figure it out. Who are you? What are you? Are you serious? Are you funny? Are you a combination of both? What is the tone of your conversations? Tone of your educational material.
Social media is going to open everything up for everyone to see. If you have one personality online and another when a customer calls your support center, it is going to become quite apparent. Nail this in the early stages and it will become an asset to you forever.
Speak in your customers language.
Delete the corporate mumbo jumbo speak. Social media is not a billboard for your 1995 corporate collateral. Speak in a tone, words and rhythm your customers, partners and social community can understand. Use language that inspires them and connects them to you and your brand.
Stop the interruption marketing.
Social media is not broadcast entertainment. You audience is going to see your self fulfilling broadcast as an interruption to their discussion. Build the relationships and earn the right to communicate with them.
Share information that brings them value, not just helps you increase your traffic. The best social businesses listen more than they talk. Listen, watch and learn from the conversations you see and hear online. You’ll then know better how to engage in a way that brings value.
Show us your community manager.
If you have a community manager or a team of community managers representing your brand let us know who they are. Show us their faces. Tell us what their personal profiles are if they are online themselves and are comfortable doing such. The more we can connect with the people of your brand the easier it will be to build relationships.
Encourage your audience to be human.
If you only speak in corporate speak your audience will either turn you off or will begin to speak the same way to you. How many times have you seen a brand only speak corporate? When you look at their Twitter or Facebook conversations, they are far from human. Because the brand isn’t sharing their human side, their community isn’t either. Encourage your audience to engage, laugh, be funny. Let them share opinions even if they differ from yours.
Strike an emotional chord.
Emotional brands are the brands that are building real relationships in the social ecosystem. Make me laugh. Make me cry or make me mad. Do something that makes me think different, be different. Inspire me to do more, be more and leverage you, your team or your products and services to do such. The more you can connect with your audience, the better you will be at understanding what emotional chords will work best with them.
Share photos and videos of your team being human.
This is one of the best ways to become a human brand. Share the moments that you are human. If you have a company party or picnic, take some photos and share them. If your team goes on a team building mission or hike, let your audience know ahead of time they are going. Ask them who they think will win the contest. Share the fun and serious moments your team has offline working to help your clients meet their goals. If you have a team meeting, share a couple photos of the team brainstorming at the white board or enjoying themselves with a bag of candy or popcorn. You’ll be amazed at how these simple little shares of your personal side will help build relationship with the people in your community. Try it, it works!
Have a plan.
I can’t write about something as important as humanizing your brand without reminding you how important it is to have a plan. Set goals, objectives and tactics to get there. Know how you are going to measure results. Know what your key performance indicators are and what success looks like to you now, tomorrow, a year from now and three years from now. Failing to plan is planning to fail.
Find more advice on humanizing your brand here. How do you maintain a human voice through your marketing? Share your strategies with other college stores in the Comments section.
We can all agree that textbooks, from a students’ perspective at least, are not the most exciting product in the world. But, as Holgate points out, that doesn’t mean that your store can’t create an engaging social environment. Although all of his tips may not be applicable to college stores, they provide a solid foundation for the direction of your online presence and offer sound advice on encouraging social interaction. Take a look:
Over the past couple of years we’ve really struggled to identify the place that social media has in our overall business strategy. Common sense dictates that we should have a social objective but as an online supplier of computer consumables and office products it’s been difficult to create that buzz required for a successful interaction with both current and potential customers.
I often look on with envy when I see companies with ‘cool’ products that actively encourage user sharing and discussion. As an example, over the summer my Facebook News Feed was inundated with people who had bought massive boxes of meat online and were actively uploading photo’s showing off the delicious goods they’d received. Although dead animals have never been considered particularly engaging there’s something about a product like this which encourages someone to show it off to their friends.
Unfortunately I’ve come to learn that ink cartridges will never really elicit this desire in our customers; if anything it would take a rather odd person to take a picture of the cartridge they had just received and share it with the world.
The one company that gives me hope that one day we may crack this puzzle and make our boring product socially interesting is the blender manufacturer, Blendtec. At the time of writing this article, their ‘will it blend’ YouTube channel has over 219 million views, they have over half a million subscribers and their Facebook page has 36,500 likes. That’s some extreme social activity for a product which is ordinarily used for making soup. Of course, the CEO doesn’t film himself blending vegetables but rather putting the blender to work chopping up a variety of products from Golf Balls to an Apple iPad.
Until I experience this eureka moment I have knocked together a list of points that are currently serving us well. It is by no means comprehensive but represents my summary of our experience in trying to engage users in an industry that is typically considered boring:
YouTube and alternative Video Sharing Sites
-Attempt to help people in your niche – Your niche doesn’t have to be interesting in order for it to engage the reader. Chances are that whatever your industry, you know more than the layman so use that to your advantage. Self-help videos are a fantastic way of increasing your authority in your industry along with attracting the attention of potential customers. One of our most popular videos (100,000 views in a year) simply explains to the user the buttons they need to press on a specific range of Canon printers after refilling a cartridge in order to resume printing. Although everybody in our industry would consider this common knowledge it would appear this is an inaccurate assumption.
Feel free to also annotate the content of these videos and publish the material on your company blog as both traffic and link bait.
-Review products in your industry as and when they are released – It’s a no brainer really; a customer looking for a review of a product is likely to be on the verge of buying it. If you can get in there with a review then you are within touching distance of converting them in to a sale and potential future customer.
Facebook, Twitter and Google+
-Don’t post the same content on every channel – Your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest accounts should all contain unique posts. Not only will this serve to get users engaged over multiple channels but they will also feel a little less like you’re just spoon feeding them content.
-Post Regularly – Nothing says that a company can’t be bothered like a social media page which hasn’t been updated for several months. Not only does it discourage engagement but it might actively put a potential customer off the idea of buying from you if they check out your page before making the purchase.
-Give away prizes – Although offering the user a chance to ‘like this page to be entered in to a competition’ is prohibited by Facebook’s terms and conditions, social media can be a fantastic way of building up excitement around your competition. Announcing the existence of the competition on social media, providing updates and attempting to generate a buzz with pictures and status updates tend to naturally prompt liking and sharing.
-Don’t automate posting – Although it’s tempting to automate the process of populating social channels very few users will want to subscribe to a feed that simply pings them whenever you update your website. The trick is to make your post genuinely interesting rather than just saying ‘we’ve posted a new entry on our blog – click here to read it’
-Provide Outstanding Service – Social Media can be a fantastic selling tool if users are able to see customers raving about the service you offer. Unfortunately the flipside is that it can just as easily work against you; as recently as last night I was going to buy an item of furniture off a company but decided against it when I found their Facebook page littered with complaints. If you do get a complaint then answer it in full; nothing stinks of a company that doesn’t care more than when a complaint is responded with ‘we’re looking in to this and will contact you by e-mail.’
As mentioned, the above is a summary of my own experience in my particular niche. Although unfortunately there isn’t a comprehensive list of pointers that will work well for all companies and industries, I’d be very much interested in hearing any tips that I may have missed that worked well for your business.
After a spate of complaints and controversy surrounding Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm and complaints that it wasn’t showing all sponsored content, the company sat down with reporters at its headquarters in Menlo Park to explain why the newsfeed looks like it does, and how people can keep their content flowing. Mainly, Facebook engineers said they want to make the newsfeed full of things you’re interested in (so you’ll keep clicking and engaging) and cut down on posts that seem spammy (since that irritates users and drives them away from Facebook).
The motivations themselves weren’t surprising, but the degree to which the Facebook representatives outlined and explained their motivations in creating the newsfeed was interesting. Will Cathcart, a Facebook product manager for newsfeed, said the algorithm relies on three things when deciding how high to rank a post by a particular publisher: How a user has reacted to that publisher in the past, how other people on Facebook have reacted to the publisher’s story so far, and how the user has reacted to similar types of stories in the past. (Cathcart used the Facebook user Yoda as an example, reacting to a relationship story that Darth Vadar had listed Luke as his son on the network.)
“We make changes to the algorithim all the time, at least weekly,” Cathcart said. “We work all the time to say, ‘Can we better predict what people are looking at? Can we better predict what people won’ want to see or are less likely to interact with?’”
The company works to make each person’s newsfeed as reflective of that person’s interests as possible, Cathcart said, meaning no two users’ newsfeeds will look the same. He said they even try to make the mobile and desktop newsfeeds particular to the platforms, not showing games on mobile that only work on desktop, for example.
Cathcart confirmed that the company has started to respond to posts that cause negative reactions, beginning in September by trying to gauge how likely it is that users will mark to hide or spam a particular item. In other words, if your post seems spammy or unpleasant to users, it might show up less, even if you pay to promote it in the feed.
And this fits with Facebook’s overall goal, as my colleague Mathew Ingram wrote, which is not to serve as charitable organization to spread information, but to respond to customers — both the users who pay to advertise in the feed, and the consumers who dictate whether that information is consumed.
In response to this criticism, Facebook explained — both in a post by one of its engineers and in comments to TechCrunch and Ars Technica — that the newsfeed filtering was designed to eliminate spam and noise, and that it was constantly being tweaked in order to show users things they were actually interested in, not just things that brands wanted them to see. The message seemed pretty obvious: don’t be spammy with your posts and lots of your users will still see them for free. And if you want to spam them anyway, you will have to pay for sponsored posts in order to do that.
Do you think the Facebook algorithm is effective for Pages? Share your thoughts below.
It appears that Pinterest is looking for even more traffic. The social bookmarking network, which hit 10 million unique monthly visitors faster than any other site, just launched a new feature, which should boost traffic even further. However, this time the content generating the traffic is under wraps. Last week Pinterest founder (and Iowa native!) Ben Silberman and his team rolled out secret boards — a feature that creates new opportunities for users and brands alike.
While there are obvious benefits to users from a personal standpoint — such as sharing gift ideas, collaboratively planning surprise parties, pinning engagement ideas prior to getting a ring, and so on — the possibilities that this change has for brands may not be as obvious, but are definitely worth considering.
The Facts You Need to Know
Before creating secret boards, you need to know a few details. First and foremost, users are limited to only three secret boards. This rule is certainly intended to negate the possibility of all boards being secret, which would decrease the number of public pins users see and depress overall site traffic.
The good news is that this number does not include boards that users are invited to contribute to. When pins are pinned to a secret board, they will not show up in feeds, search results, or on a user’s profile. And if you decide that it’s time to let your secrets out, you can make any board public from the settings. However, once your board is public you can’t reset it to secret.
Ideas for Your Brand’s First Secret Board
Think your brand is ready? Here are a few suggestions to get your brainstorming started.
- Content for Blogs and Social Media — As a brand on social media, sharing content and research is key. When you find yourself lacking inspiration, having a board of articles, infographics, or images to reference may be your saving grace. This is also helpful if you have many contributors who discover new content. The grab-and-go convenience makes curation much easier.
- Collaboration with Others — Avoid the back-and-forth emails by using a secret board for working with your team. Whether it’s graphics for a promotion or topics to reference on conference call, all contributors will have access to important information without searching through an email trail. The ability to host ad-hoc conversations via pin comments is also helpful.
- Company News — Keep team members in the loop and motivated with a board sharing news featuring your company or your clients. Not only is it a great place to keep information internally for reference but it’s also a useful tool for employees to use for sharing in a controlled setting.
- Event Planning — Before launching your next strategy session or company picnic, share ideas with collaborators on a secret Pinterest board. From food ideas to the company Christmas gift, your ideas are safe until the day of the event.
- Internal Company Board — Trying to choose the next corporate polo or the location for your all-company meeting? Pinterest secret boards allow all employees to get in on the conversation through adding pins or commenting on suggestions. Making this board available to all fosters engagement and empowers the sharing of ideas — all of which is great for morale.
As with all social media platforms, be sure to have a plan in place before jumping in. Questions to ask yourself for Pinterest secret boards could include — Who will be using this board? What content will be shared? And why is secrecy important?
How do you plan to use secret boards? Tell us in the comments section.
Twitter parties can be terrific marketing opportunities for small businesses. These events, also called Twitter chats, happen when small-business owners create a hash tag around a topic and then invite their Twitter followers to follow that hash tag at a specified time and converse with other followers.
For example, a small CPA firm could create a chat (maybe label it #2013taxtips if it doesn’t already exist) and then invite Twitter followers (i.e., customers) to tune in and ask questions during a designated time—thereby increasing visibility to potential clients. Boutique clothiers can host a chat on the best style tips for fall. Car mechanics can create a chat about best practices in home vehicle maintenance. Cupcake shop owners can host a chat about how to make the perfect baked good. The options are endless.
Follow these guidelines for how to make your next Twitter party a success.
1. Join someone else’s Twitter party.
If you’ve recently joined Twitter or have fewer than 2,000 followers, consider joining another Twitter party, says Alexis Grant, an independent digital strategist in Washington, D.C.
Parties, some of which are scheduled regularly, exist on every topic. If you are a clothing store, look to connect with a fashion blogger. If you are a cupcake shop, try connecting with a leading bakery blogger and ask to join one of their upcoming chats as a guest. Chances are, the blogger will not only let you converse with his/her following, but you may be able to plug your business or product to a wide audience.
Not sure where to find existing chats/parties?
“Google around and see what exists,” recommends Grant.
She also suggests searching for Twitter chats on a topic and looking to see what chats your community is interested and involved in. When you find a popular one, contact the moderator to see if you can be a guest. Just remember to pitch a topic that will include helpful information to the moderator’s community.
Twitter parties can move quickly, so plan out what you will say and ask beforehand, recommends Matt Shampine, vice president, business development and marketing for Hometalk, a social platform for home decorating ideas.
Plan out every minute of the conversation and stick to your set ideas and questions. Determine an objective for the party beforehand and consider teeing up tweets via TweetDeck or HootSuite prior to the start.
3. Market your party ahead of time.
Pick a hash tag that your followers will remember and, several weeks before your party, slip it into your posts, suggests Stacey Acevero, social media community manager with Vocus, a cloud marketing software company.
Not sure how to choose a hash tag? Search on Twitter to make sure you aren’t copying an already existing one.
In addition to chatting about your upcoming party on Twitter, Acevero also recommends writing blog posts and press releases on the topic ahead of time.
4. Personally invite followers.
“Leave comments on industry blogs that are on the same topic as your chat or @reply and direct message customers, prospects and influencers on Twitter that you think might be interested in joining,” Acevero adds.
5. Pick an exciting topic.
Consider the interests of your customers, says Shampine. Do they watch the news often? If so, try tying your topic into a current event.
“Make the conversation light and fun,” he says. “Keep it open and encourage customers/followers to comment by asking questions.”
How It Applies to College Stores:
Not sure how you could implement a Twitter party? Just think about topics your students often question. For instance, why not host a Twitter party for incoming freshmen in the weeks before they visit campus. Your student employees could host the forum and answer any questions new students might have about going away to college, what to pack, places to visit on campus, and even buying textbooks! Similarly, you could host a chat around a topic as simple as Fall Fashion styles and have student employees or your buyers offer advice on upcoming trends as well as new items that can be found at your store. The possibilities are endless!
Has your store hosted a Twitter Party? Tell us about it in the comments section below!
The following article, Sorry, Marketers, You’re Doing Twitter Wrong [REPORT], was written by Todd Wasserman, business editor, for Mashable.com.
Most marketers are tweeting too much on the wrong days, not using hashtags enough and almost never do the one thing that will dramatically boost their retweets — ask for them — according to a new study looking at how marketers use Twitter from Buddy Media.
The social media marketing firm, which was recently acquired by Salesforce, looked at 320 Twitter handles from the world’s biggest brands from Dec. 11, 2011 to Feb. 23, 2012. Among the findings: Twitter engagement rates for brands are 17% higher on Saturday and Sunday compared to weekdays. However, most brands aren’t taking advantage of this phenomenon and, on average, only 19% of the brands’ tweets were published on the weekend. If a brand spaced its tweets out evenly throughout the week, then 28.6% should occur on the weekends. A full copy of the report can be found here.
Depending on the industry, the difference between weekday and weekend engagement is even more stark. The weekend produces 30% higher engagement for fashion brands, for instance. Publishers also enjoy a 29% higher engagement on Saturdays, when consumers are presumably catching up on the news of the week. Yet only 7% of tweets from publishers actually occur on Saturdays.
In general, as the chart below shows, according to Buddy Media, the brands are tweeting way too much in the middle of the week and not nearly enough on the weekend:
Despite the strong showing for Saturday and Sunday tweets, the study also found, paradoxically, that tweets published during “busy hours” performed best. Tweets during such hours, defined as between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. in the study, got 30% higher engagement rates than those those that occurred after-hours. Twitter’s performance in this respect is the mirror image of Facebook, where posts on “non-busy hours” get 17% higher engagement. As a result, Buddy Media recommends using both Facebook and Twitter for your outgoing communication, but using them at different times, which are outlined on the chart below:
Meanwhile, the “tweet spot” for the number of tweets per day appears to be four. After that, the law of diminishing returns sets in.
As for the tweets themselves, Buddy Media suggests keeping them to fewer than 100 characters. Tweets of that length got a 17% higher engagement rate than other, comparatively windy tweets. While you’re tweeting, it’s also a good idea to include a link, since such linked tweets have an 86% higher retweet rate than their linkless counterparts. Of course, the link should work. They often don’t and in 92% of cases, Buddy Media determined that was because they didn’t insert a space before the link.
Other findings in the report:
- Tweets with hashtags get twice the engagement of those without, yet only 24% of tweets during the time of the study used them.
- Using one or even two hashtags in a tweet is fine, but if you add a third, you’ll begin to see an average 17% dropoff in engagement.
- Posts with images have double the engagement of those without even though users can’t see them until they click on them.
- If you ask followers to “RT,” you’ll get a 12X higher retweet rate than if you don’t. But if you spell out the word “retweet,” that figure jumps to 23X.
Though 77% of brands in a recent poll said that Twitter was a top priority, Tami Dalley, vp-insights and analytics at Buddy Media, argues that there’s room for improvement. “It’s great that brands are active on Twitter,” she says, “but it’s crucial they know best practices for publishing engaging content. Reach and engagement can vary drastically with minor tweaks.”
The two parties discovered that pins with price tags are just as likely to be shared as pins without price tags. Both types were repinned between 5.4 and 5.5 times on average. Pins with price tags received slightly more likes, however: 1.4 likes per pin versus 1.1 likes per pin.
Users can attach price tags to pins by typing in a “$” sign followed by one or more numbers in the description box. The price tag appears not only in the description, but also in the upper lefthand corner of the pin thumbnail and image,
The results were based on a randomized sample of 1 million pins, 1.2% of which bore $ tags.
When brands affixed price tags to product pins however, users behaved differently. An analysis of 2,588 pins across three “major ecommerce sites” showed that followers were far less likely to repin images with price tags. One site, which averaged 135.6 repins per pin, only received 54.6 repins on items with $ signs, the study found. A major group-buying site fared even worse, averaging 0.2 repins on pins marked with a dollar sign, versus 1.8 repins on pins that bore no sign at all.
Why the behavior shift? Yang and Pinreach suggest that when users include $ in their pin descriptions, it doesn’t feel overtly commercial, but when brands do, it does. “When Pinterest users see $-pins from brands, it feels very much like an advertisement to click-through and buy, and they are less likely to share (i.e., repin) advertisements, as it degrades their own social proof with their followers,” the study reads.
The lesson here is readily apparent: If you’re a brand and want your products to be shared, don’t affix a price tag. But the study also underlines users’ more subtle aversion to brand-driven commerce within the Pinterest environment, even as a growing contingent of users prove eager to purchase products found on the site.