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Instagram? Facebook Messenger?

  • October 30, 2016 7:39 PM EDT

    I keep hearing about these things, but not sure if they'd be useful. Is anyone using them? Do you actually get sales through them?

  • November 1, 2016 2:20 PM EDT

    Gosh I thought I was the only one in the world !!  I haven't a clue.  But then I don't have a cell phone either, only a minimal one (no internet connection) to carry along while traveling for emergency use and not forcing me to try to find a pay phone any more.

    I looked them up per Google -

    Instagram is an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing, and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, and share them either publicly or privately on the app, as well as through a variety of other social networking platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Flickr.

    From Wikipedia: Facebook Messenger, sometimes abbreviated Messenger,[5] is an instant messaging service and software application which provides text and voice[6] communication. Integrated with Facebook's web-based Chat feature and built on the open MQTT protocol,[7] Messenger lets Facebook users chat with friends both on mobile and on the main website.

    On October 3, 2016, Facebook launched Facebook Messenger Lite to attract more users, particularly, those running Android operating system on 2G network. This light-weight app, 10MB file-size, is a stripped down version of Messenger. It skips notification sounds, voice calling and other features that increase the loading time. However, users would be able to use the basic attributes of Messenger such as emojis, stickers, and photo and link sharing. The app targets the regions or consumer-base that is devoid of high-speed Internet connection. Facebook Messenger Lite available in Kenya, Tunisia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Venezuela, and is set to come to other countries later.

    And -

    FroM FB - What is it/ Why install it

    "The real reason FB is forcing you to download Messenger" = Huffington Post article

    Just guessing because I am not in any better position to understand or use them, it sounds like you really need a "captive audience" group of people like the "boards" on Pinterest or G+.  Otherwise with few or no recipients, you won't get anyone looking at your offerings.  I would wonder perhaps these tools might be a poorer use of my time than for other outreach like Pinterest and G+.

    Pinterest of course is a total waste for me, since I do not own a domain (yet) I cannot use their business services -- I did start using Ruby Lane's pins board open to shops, indeed they are a recognized business so hopefully my listings are getting out in the world (so far unfortunately there seems to be no way to tell if any of these listings are generating any sales).  HOWEVER my experience with Pinterest is that users primarily are "picture collectors," they "collect" the pictures and not the item pictured.  I wish there could be a website where serious shoppers would look at pictures with a goal of finding where the item is listed and then follow through with a purchase. 

    I may be gunshy but if I was in this situation I would quadruple check my privacy settings !!!  These things are notorious for being able to access things you think are private. 

    The latest Win10 update changed a whole bunch of my settings, that I went back and redid, I do NOT want them snooping in my business, let alone my settings telling them to go ahead carte blanche!







    This post was edited by Jane Time's Treasures LLC at November 1, 2016 2:29 PM EDT
  • November 2, 2016 8:24 AM EDT
    Jane, I'm no stranger to social media and love my smartphone. I also have an active presence on Facebook and Pinterest (I was actually an early adopter of Pinterest back when you had to be invited). I'm sorry if I inadvertently gave the wrong impression with my question - what I wanted to know was whether people who use them find them valuable. This would be in addition to the Facebook, Pinterest, G+ and Twitter marketing I already do. I'm seeing a lot of buzz about them in marketing articles and was hoping to hear from some users.
  • November 2, 2016 8:37 AM EDT
    Also, I agree about Pinterest - full of lookie-loos and "aspirational" pinners. Still, an eyeball is an eyeball and every time you get a repin it means all THAT person's followers see your stuff. And since my items ARE buyable, somebody might click through and buy something. My only suggestion would be to pin to more group boards. I pin things to my business account and then repin from there onto the group boards on my personal account.

    Wanelo might be similar to the kind of site you were talking about, but it's not free if you want to use it for selling.
    • Moderator
    • 62 posts
    November 11, 2016 12:07 PM EST

    I do not use Instagram because I do not use my cell phone with the internet but I know a lot of the younger generation does.  I do use Pinterest, but not just for things I have for sale.  I try to include a variety of things - recipes, vintage clothing, decorations, books, music and I also have a board for the Vintage Village where I pin TVV members items that are posted here.  BTW, this board seems to get the most impressions and clicks.  Not sure it has resulted in anything, but a click is a click.

    So agree that we should probably pin to more group boards - I tend to forget those places     

  • November 11, 2016 12:32 PM EST

    The problem with me and Pinterest is that you can apparently only use group boards from a personal account, not a business one... but you can't have buyable pins unless you have a business account. (Although you can repin your buyable pins from your business account to your personal one.) Managing two accounts is pretty time-consuming.

    I ended up signing up for Instagram the other day and am currently hunting for ways to make it easier to shuffle between PC and phone, since Instagram is very adamant about being mobile-only. Tried an Android emulator on my PC, but it's a real pain to use. Tried an Instagram uploader called Grambler; it's really easy to use but one reviewer said that Instagram deprecates third-party uploaders so it strips off your hashtags; my phone is charging in the other room and I haven't looked on it to check whether that has actually happened. (The review post I saw was 2 years old, so things might have changed.) I'm also trying a social-media scheduling app called Buffer that has a slightly kludgy Instagram integration; you can load a pic to your dashboard on your PC but you have to actually put the caption in and share it from your mobile device.

    However, looking for vintage jewelry sellers, I recognized a number of names from here (whom I was really hoping to hear from on this thread). Maybe I should start a roll call so we can all follow each other or something.

  • November 11, 2016 5:25 PM EST

    Well, Grambler doesn't strip the hashtags any more, so that'll probably be my posting method of choice for listings. Still need to play with Buffer for scheduling.

  • November 23, 2016 1:00 PM EST

    I have an old fashioned flip phone for emergencies in the car or for calling grandchildren, etc. I stupidly started an Instagram acc't, not realizing it is for mobiles only. Red faced when I finally woke up. Should have know, I guess. 

    I do like Pintrest and am also starting to use G+ more. I do tend to forget about that one though. I finally sinked it to my Etsy shop, so maybe now I will use it more. One more thing I use with every listing is Promote Pictures. I wish I knew if it is helping or not. It is hard to tell from my stats because it comes in as Other. 

    Social Media sure does keep you busy. I sometimes wish we didn't have to do so much of it to make a difference.

  • November 23, 2016 11:49 PM EST

    I can't tell if it really does make a difference... though when my store tells me where a buyer has come to my site from, it's pretty evenly divided between Facebook and organic searches, with Pinterest accounting for most of what aren't. G+ is mostly a waste of my time - most of the posts that show up in my feed are from the same few people. Twitter gets me a fair amount of reach, but it's lousy for conversion. That isn't just me; across the board it has a very low conversion rate -- mostly because of the sheer number of posts. And it's still just a matter of getting your stuff in front of hundreds of eyeballs just so you can get it in front of that one pair that will put its money where its eyes are.

    Grambler is an app that lets you post to Instagram from your PC instead of your mobile (which is great for me because all my pictures and everything are on the PC). You can also download a couple of Android emulators that will let you run Instagram in a virtual environment... but I just uninstalled the one I had because it was a PITA to use.

    A smartphone is one of those things that once you have one you'll wonder how you ever managed without it. I'm not as bad as daughter, who is one of those glued-to-phone millenials,  but I use it for lookups when I'm on the road "picking," keep my shopping list on it, do all my social media likes and comments, take the occasional picture, track my workouts, get directions, find out what's going on if I see something unusual... and it's all in one place, no rummaging.

    I'm starting to experiment with ads on Instagram as well. I don't really like the collages that some people are doing; to me they look busy and cluttered and it's hard to tell what they're really selling. So I'm going for minimalism. Maybe it'll help me stand out.

  • November 27, 2016 3:04 PM EST

    I think my problem with Pinterest and G+ and similar is I cannot tell if my work posting results in any sales.  Of course being a Ruby Lane shop, I am limited to a personal account  -- so I simply quit wasting my time, because, Jan, as you said, "you can't have buyable pins unless you have a business account" . 

    Accordingly I was really glad to see Ruby Lane open their Pinterest business account to shops, and I have been sending some listings that way when I have the time.  Indeed, it helps with more eyeballs on the listings as possible, but I surely wish there was a good way to find out how effective my time is, or whether I am better off pursuing other avenues.

    Right now I simply do not have time to learn/get into more of this.  I am struggling with Windows10 - the switch over to the operating system went wonderfully and I was thrilled .....  little did I know ........  the first update in June was horrendous and rendered my PC unusable (it changed settings, so that as I finally discovered one setting was in direct conflict wtih another and prevented the PC from waking up from "sleep" function).  DAYS of wasted time and wasted money.  Second update was somewhat better but it added a bunch of stuff I did not want. 

    NOW earlier this week, another MicroSoft update left the Admin account alone on my PC, but changed my regular user account over to my Microsoft Account settings -- ! so I have to use my MSaccount to sign into my regular ID, as it had negated the password I had created and was using -- with no notice!   Only by accident did I discover what had happened - and how to at least temporarily fix it, otherwise I was locked out of my main PC account, with a (previously) correct password that no longer worked. WORST, was there was no explanation from MS about what happened and how to deal with it.

    Further, it added a folder string to my "This PC" folder tree in my C: hard drive -- in addition to "Users" and "Libraries" there is NOW a folder named my FULL NAME.  Unbelievable invasion. My tech is away and I will be getting to him to help me get out of this. Until then I am leaving my PC turned on, I'm afraid to shut down/reboot it.

    One reason I have avoided a cell phone is that settings apparently are structured to allow things to happen unless you choose "opt out" or "No" or whatever to turn them off/get rid of them.  Maybe I will get into it, but right now I am mentally worn out and frustrated from fighting with Win10 changes.  I truly wish I had never switched over from Win8 which was working seamlessly.  It would be really nice to have a few months of smooth sailing with everything going smoothly and no changes causing upheavals.  However, every time I think this, I think of my friend, whose HVAC business that he owns and makes his living, was derailed by their cable company whose recent "upgrades" are technically unworkable and according to our computer tech, are not compatible with the computer system he relies on.

    I didn't mean to get off topic but this last is just over the top - and I'm sure I'm not the only one afflicted.

    As for advertising for moble devices, my son is constantly calling for help trying to figure out some listing that he's trying to view on his iPhone.  Apparently they look very little like the listings on most websites via a PC. Based on that, I would suggest to DEFINITELY keep things minimal - nothing complicated like collages etc. and make your pictures as big as you can.



    This post was edited by Jane Time's Treasures LLC at November 27, 2016 3:14 PM EST
  • November 27, 2016 6:00 PM EST

    Well, one of the reasons I "went indie" and left eBay (and Ruby Lane) in favor of a Shopify store was so I could have a Pinterest business account and buyable social media posts in general. And yes, some of my sales have come by way of Pinterest... and I certainly do get the page views. I solve most of the two-sites time problem by running my personal Pinterest account off my phone and my business one off the PC, and do most of my following and connecting via the business account.

    I don't have the problem that you do with Win10... but then I've turned off the a lot of the settings. Google "windows 10 privacy" -- there are a lot of sites that give recommendations for what to turn off -- like Cortana and anything that "gets to know you." Since I'm the only user on this machine I don't bother with passwords and stuff like that. You should change your Microsoft settings to "sign in with a local account" -- though if you download anything from their app store it will change you back to having to sign in with your Microsoft account instead. It did that to me when I downloaded something -- think it was the Android emulator I just got rid of. That's the last time I visit their app store -- why can't it be as handy as Google's? The folder with your name probably has something to do with the account mixup.

    As for the cell phone, I do have all my apps auto-update, and never have any problems. But then I hide or disable most of the bloatware the phone comes with and use apps I choose... and I never sync between devices. I tried that with Firefox and it filled up my phone with all the bookmark clutter that I save on my PC but would never use on my phone, so I got rid of the sync.

    You have a tech? DH and I have been our own techs ever since we first got a computer back in the days of Win 3.1. Of course, we read a lot of computer magazines back then and I always paid attention to the tech-support guys on any temp jobs I worked...

    Sympathy for your HVAC guy. There's a reason we put up with AT&T's frequently very slow internet... it isn't Comcrap, and that's the only other game in town!

    I hear you about the collages -- I'm seeing a lot of them all over the social networks. To me they look very cluttered and busy, regardless of whether I see them on the phone or the PC, and it's hard to see what's actually an item on sale and what's just window dressing. I did a couple of ads for the sale I'm currently running, and I'm going for very minimalist - just the item and a little bit of text (but I get to play with my old graphics filters again, so it's cool). If nothing else, it'll help me stand out among all the Polyvore stuff.