If your business marketing plan doesn’t include social media strategies, you’re already dead in the water.
Why? Because more of your customers are using social media to stay informed, stay connected and stay up-to-date on brands, offers, sales and more. We’re using our mobile phones for shopping, making flight reservations and interacting with our favorite brands. And when we’re on our favorite social networks, we’re in contact with brands throughout our day. As the use of social media sites continues to grow, so does the importance of a social media strategy for retailers.
Customers are accessing their social networks via smartphones, making the presence of retail brands on these social outlets even more important. Approximately 80% of smartphone users access social networks on their devices, and 55% of those users visit social networks on their devices once per day, according to Monetate.com.
Shoppers are using their mobile phones to shop, as well. According to Digby.com, 40% of shoppers in 2012 checked three or more channels before a purchase, compared to just 10% a decade earlier. And Monetate reports that 96% of smart phone users have researched a product or service on their phone.
This very real combination of social interaction and product research is a one-two punch that retailers need to stay alert to. It is increasingly imperative to make sure brands fully optimize their customer retail mobile and social experience.
How retailers can use social media
Social media strategies can be used to promote your products, showcase your company talents, highlight your CEO’s pursuits and humanize your company. Interacting with customers in the hope of increasing sales can also play a part.
Share new products: Just got a new shipment of hot products? Let customers know! Social media is a great outlet to instantly share this news with your customers. Post photos of the new products, describe something engaging and post it on social media outlets. Customers may be moved instantly to make a quick online detour to Macy’s that they weren’t planning to make.
Photos also make great shareable content. If you are a clothing retailer and post a photo of new dress for sale in the store, a user may re-post that photo, telling their friends “I love this dress!” — giving you even further reach outside your existing fan base and followers.
Promote exclusive deals and offers: Use social media to offer special promotions and deals to loyal fans and followers. Posting a discount code on Twitter or Facebook can result in an immediate sales impact and also make for excellent shareable content. Sharing good deals with friends; that’s what people do! Posting a special offer can result in reposts on Facebook and retweets on Twitter. If a brand backs that up with some searchable terms (hashtags on Twitter, for example), that will make it easier for for users can find the retailer’s offering.
Share employee recommendations: Sharing “employee picks” with your customers via social media has multiple benefits for retailers. First, it makes an employee feel that their opinion is valued. As any business owner or manager knows, employee morale is always good for business. Secondly, this puts different products in front of your customer that they may have not otherwise known about. Finally, customers love recommendations, which could result in a purchase.
How to measure your social media success
Knowing how to write for, share with and connect to customers on your social media accounts is crucial. A recent Facebook meltdown by an Arizona restaurant got national attention, but mostly of the unwanted kind. So how do you know if what your retail business is sharing is working? This is where measuring your efforts comes into play. By measuring your social media metrics, you start to get a feel for what’s working and how your customers are responding, so you can get the most out of your social media efforts.
SocialBakers.com recommends tracking these performance indicators to access the performance of your social media strategy.
Suggested social media metrics for retailers
- Fan/follower growth: How many new fans are you gaining during a select time frame?
- Engagement rate: The number of user interactions (likes, comments, retweets, replies and shares).
- Response rate: The percentage of user posts or questions that the administrator responded to.
- Response time: The average amount of time it takes for the administrator to respond to user posts or questions.
- User activity: Identifying the hours and days of the week your users are engaging most frequently.
- Shareability: The number of shares and retweets a post gets.
- Interactions: The number of interactions that a page or post receives and the types of interactions (likes, comments, retweets, replies and shares).
How is your retail business using social media to attract customers?
Cynthia Sassi lives, works and plays in Scottsdale, Ariz. She is passionate about running, her three pups and work.