For this blog post I chose to compare the online presence of two local Laramie businesses, Curiosity Shoppe and Sweet Pickles. I chose these two businesses because I absolutely love Downtown Laramie and was intrigued by the idea of getting a look into the social media of two of the popular businesses.
I chose to look at six of the more popular social media platforms used by people and businesses today, which included Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and LinkedIn. I was not able to find either company on Twitter, Snapchat or LinkedIn, which I found interesting because personally I think Snapchat and Twitter could both be used effectively for promoting certain products or sales.
However, I was able to find both businesses on Facebook and Instagram, with Curiosity Shoppe also on Pinterest. I started with Facebook because it is such a popular platform for social media.
One of the first things I noted on each Facebook page was the number of likes each had. Sweet Pickles had 666 likes, which was lower than I expected it to be initially. I then started to scroll down their feed to see what kinds of posts they were utilizing. I was impressed by their use of hashtags and Boomerangs, since those are both trendy in social media these days. Another aspect of their posts that I recognized was the fact that all of their posts promoted products that they sell and when customers would comment, Sweet Pickles would take the time to answer them, adding a personal touch.
On the other hand, I noticed that Curiosity Shoppe had 1,372 likes on their page. They also used hashtags throughout their posts and I found it to be fairly effective. They also kept their posts very short, sweet and to the point, which was nice when you are just scrolling through Facebook. Some things I noticed that were somewhat of a turn off for me, personally, was that they posted multiple posts about the same product (Alex and Ani bracelets) and most of their posts only had a hand full of likes on them. I found it to be a negative that they continued to post about the same product over and over because they have so many products and they are missing out on advertising opportunities.
The first thing I took note of with Sweet Pickles’ Instagram page was how visually appealing it was. As you can see if the screenshot, there is an obvious theme with their layout and editing of the photos. However, the majority of the photos posted on their Instagram were the same photos that were posted on their Facebook. I feel like there can be some overlap, but for the most part there should be differences in what is being posted on each platform.
I thought that Curiosity Shoppe’s Instagram page was also really nice to look at. Unlike Sweet Pickles, they had a nice variety of photos on their Instagram compared to their Facebook. It was also nice to see that they tied their products into the University of Wyoming and Laramie, making it more appealing to students and community members. It was refreshing to see more products being shared through their Instagram page, since on their Facebook they mainly focused on the Alex and Ani bracelets.
I was only able to find the Curiosity Shoppe on Pinterest. They only had two boards and four followers, which, compared to other platforms, was not very impressive. I am not someone who frequently uses Pinterest, so I am not sure what a good Pinterest page looks like, but this seems like a social media platform that does not really get used by them. I was probably on their Pinterest page for five minutes before realizing I had seen everything there was to see. As a consumer, I would not use their Pinterest as a way to get informed on their store or products.
Pros and Cons
After looking through the social media accounts for both businesses, there were some clear strong points and some things that could use some work for each.
To start, Sweet Pickles had three strong points that really stood out to me. These included:
- The fact that when people comment on Facebook posts made by Sweet Pickles, they get a response from them as well. This really stood out to me because it gave Sweet Pickles a nice personal touch, making them stand out as a business. In class we talked about the importance of interacting with consumers when it comes to strengthening a business, and I believe that this is doing just that for Sweet Pickles.
- Another thing that stood out to me on Sweet Pickles’ Facebook and Instagram pages was that they have used Boomerangs to promote products. In one of the links posted on the class blog it talked about the importance of keeping up with the trends and Boomerang is one of those trends right now. I was more drawn to their post that contained a Boomerang, because I am personally in love with the Boomerang app, so I thought it was a successful way of keeping up with the trends of social media.
- Lastly, I am a very visual person, as are many people who are on social media. I found Sweet Pickles’ consistent theme throughout their Instagram page to be amazing. It made it nice to look at and it seemed very organized. This is important, because as a viewer, I felt more inclined to continue looking through their feed since it was so aesthetically pleasing.
While Sweet Pickles’ social media pages had many strong points, I also noticed a few things that could possibly use some work. These included:
- When I started looking for Sweet Pickles on different social media platforms, I was not able to find them on Twitter. I found this interesting because it seems that businesses can really benefit from having Twitter pages. It would make for a quick advertisement for different products and it is probably one of the quicker ways to keep costumers informed. Personally, I think it is important as a business to have a presence on Twitter.
- While Sweet Pickles had really nice appearances on their Facebook and Instagram pages, I did notice that they tended to have the exact same content on both. I understand that some people have one or the other, but for users like me who have both, it gets to be repetitive and makes me not pay attention to what they post. I think that changing it up a bit and not posting the exact same thing could help Sweet Pickles reach more people through their social media accounts.
- As I mentioned before, it is important to keep up with trends in social media, so I think that Sweet Pickles could benefit from taking part in Instagram stories. This was not the most popular social media trend in the beginning, but over the past few months, it has become a lot more popular. Personally, I have just started partaking in Instagram stories and I think that businesses could really benefit from it because it is a way to update followers without flooding their feed with too many posts.
On the other hand, Curiosity Shoppe also had some really strong points on their social media pages. These included:
- One thing that really stood out to me while I was browsing through Curiosity Shoppe’s social network pages I noticed that they had a really good variety in the pictures that were being posted on Instagram. I liked getting to see different content on both the Facebook and Instagram pages, unlike Sweet Pickles, who had the same pictures on both accounts.
- While I was scrolling through Curiosity Shoppe’s social media accounts I noticed that they did a good job of using hashtags, especially on their Facebook posts. Personally, I would say that this is a trend that they are following and it helps keep them current. Hashtags should be used on social media to help viewers understand what is being posted. For Curiosity Shoppe, that is the promotion of Alex and Ani bracelets.
- Lastly, I really enjoyed the length of Curiosity Shoppe’s posts. They managed to keep them short, sweet and to the point, which I think is important on social media. If people are scrolling through their feeds, they probably do not want to see long posts with too much information in them. Curiosity Shoppe succeeds at this, while staying professional.
As I mentioned above, both had strong points and both had things that could be worked on. For Curiosity Shoppe the things that could use some work included:
- I already mentioned this for Sweet Pickles, but I believe that Curiosity Shoppe could also benefit from having a Twitter presence. I think that Twitter is a quick and easy way to not only promote products within the store, but also maybe to even offer specials, giving Twitter followers a special in, if you will. I have seen some businesses use Twitter as a way to inform customers that follow them of special flash sales or other deals that some people might not know of right away and I think that any local business could benefit from something like this.
- Something that really struck me as a negative when I was going through Curiosity Shoppe’s social media accounts was that their Pinterest was barely ever used and they only had four followers. Like the social media panel mentioned, if you do not use a social media account, you might as well not have it. I believe that there is potential in Curiosity Shoppe having a Pinterest, but if they are not going to figure out how to use it properly, they probably should not have one.
- Lastly, I could not get over the idea that the majority of Facebook posts made by Curiosity Shoppe are about Alex and Ani bracelets. As a viewer of their social media, I was turned away from looking into more of their posts because it seemed like all of the posts were the same. I think if they were to add some variety to their posts on Facebook, like their Instagram, it would make it more appealing.
I believe that I was able to better identify pros and cons to the social media accounts due to the advice that was given through the social media panel. The biggest thing that stood out to me was the idea that if you do not use a social media account, then you might as well not have it. It seems like common sense, but after hearing it, it made a lot more sense and was something I did not necessarily think of before. I think that the panel addressed ideas that I already had, but did not take the time to actually make note of and that is what helped me with the critique of these social media accounts.