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Are Social Media Feeds Hurting Your Conversion Rates?

March 18, 2014  /  by  Diane Callihan

Put a Feed On It

According to the new hit series Portlandia, the IFC sketch comedy show featuring Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, “In Portland, you can put a bird on something and just call it art.”

In their second episode, they mocked this trend during a comedic skit where indie artists who loved bird art were frightened by an actual, living bird. In moments, the show reduced this hipster design to a contentious catchphrase, “Put a bird on it”. It really was quite hilarious.


Whether they wanted to or not, Portlandia started a conversation about craft art and commercial sales. Their sketch brought the craft art scene back to reality. They sent a funny, but a truthful message: you can’t just throw a bird on something, call it art and expect it to sell. Let’s try a bit harder. Let’s be a bit more creative.

It’s human nature to observe and mimic trends, especially when they are easy. For example, in the marketing industry, we think we can just throw a social media feed on our website and consider it an effective technique.

When I hold an initial meeting with clients to determine needs and features for their website, inevitably someone in the room asks me, “Can we put a feed on it?”

I immediately push back and ask questions about the intended purpose of the feed. I want to know if there is a strategy for using the feed, or if they just want it because they’ve seen other people do it and think it’s cool.

If your social media efforts are not part of closed-loop marketing strategy, then it’s pointless to have a social media feed on your website. Sure, it might boost your search engine results – if you stay active and constantly update your feed – but what is more likely to happen is that your visitor will get distracted. If I go to a website and click on an icon to Facebook, I immediately start checking my news page and forget what I was doing.

You’ve worked so hard to get a visitor to your website. Once they are finally there, your goal should be to convert them into a lead or customer. Don’t distract them with a link to a social media site unless you have a solid plan to bring them back to your website, or to engage and convert them in that social media space.

Don’t just put a feed on it. Think about your web strategy and your social media strategy - and be sure to focus on conversions first. If you need help doing so, Let's Talk!