So many boundaries limit marketers and their social media goals. No GIFs on Facebook. No buy buttons on Pinterest. Fortunately, there are plenty of creative workarounds.
Marketers are doing whatever they can to upgrade their social media tactics, even if the platforms haven’t officially sanctioned such activities yet. They've figured out how to livestream events to Facebook, for instance, and add e-commerce to Instagram. Here's a look at five clever ways brands are hacking social media.
1. Sell it on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter
A company called Zantler just launched Shoppost, which lets Amazon Webstore clients such as Harley-Davidson create e-commerce posts to share on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. You can't buy an item directly from those posts, but you can customize colors and sizes on an item of clothing, for instance. And when you click the shopping cart icon, it links to a store's checkout page. Shoppost calls it an in-stream social media storefront, and it adds some e-commerce capabilities that aren't widely available on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
2. Make an Instagram post "shoppable"
You can buy an ad on Instagram, but there are free ways to post images that act like ads. Shoppable posts are becoming popular with brands like Target and Nordstrom, who have used Curalate's Like2Buy button. The tool lets brands link to products for sale from their Instagram profiles. Also, Amazon just started using a shoppable Instagram tool that lets users click on images that link to checkout pages, where they can finish the purchase.
3. Snapchat big savings and product launches
Snapchat made disappearing photos popular, and brands have been experimenting with disappearing offers ever since joining the app. Amazon is sending offer codes in its Snapchat messages for deals on holiday gifts this year. Also, many brands use Snapchat for product launches—the app's photo and video functionalities seem to go well with such revealing moments. For instance, when Taco Bell created a lineup of sauces this fall, it showed off the new salsa packets on Snapchat. Acura revealed a new car on the network earlier this year.
4. Go live from your Facebook page
Brandlive lets brands livestream videos from their Facebook pages. And alongside the livestream, they can share links to items featured in the broadcast. Last month, Cake Boss held a baking event and streamed it on Facebook. Fans found quick links to Amazon and Kohl's, where they could buy all the baking items promoted in the video. Also, services like BumeBox are enabling brands to offer real-time Facebook chats with celebrities and influencers.
5. Forget GIFs. It's all about cinemagraphs
Although Facebook has embraced videos, the site hasn't made it easy to share GIFs. That's a format brands and marketers love—quick little animations that keep repeating—but that doesn't translate well to Facebook when converted into a video that doesn't repeat. Well, cinemagraphs are the GIF's more sophisticated counterpart, and they tend to look and work a bit better when posted to Facebook. Brands are turning to apps like Cinemagram to create these well-produced, short videos and post them to their pages.
Cinemagraphs typically start as high-gloss photos, of which a portion is animated. They don't play automatically in the News Feed like a typical video. But users just have to click the play button to see an image like the one Chanel created above.