Within the world of retail – as indeed any industry sector these days – understanding the power of social media is vital for reaching your potential customers and increasing sales.
It’s estimated that around 46% of web users look towards social media when making a purchase. Being active on social media is quite simply a must for any retailer. It’s a cost-effective way in which to reach out to customers, engage with them and respond quickly. It also helps to build trust with potential customers as they are able to understand more about your brand and become familiar with your brand personality.
The world of retail has undergone a seismic shift over the last decade in particular. Evolving from the high street and retail premises, online shopping has exploded – an estimated 50% of consumers shopped online for Christmas presents in 2018. With those consumers active online, it makes sense that connecting with them through social media is not only easier but highly effective too.
It’s important to remember that the “social” in social media’. Retailers must engage with their customers in a meaningful way while avoiding becoming a social nuisance. In so doing, the retailer will build a reputation as a business that cares about its customers – whatever the size of your business. They feel they are being listened to, that their opinion counts. This takes the old adage of “the customer is always right” to its modern context, showing that customer service and customer satisfaction is of the highest priority because the relationship between retailer and customer is totally transparent.
Social media is a “win-win” for both retailer and customer. For the retailer, it’s an excellent marketing tool that engages with customers, promotes the growth of the business and ultimately boosts sales. For customers, there are a whole host of benefits too as they:
- hear about promotions and discounts in a timely manner
- get the lowdown on the latest products
- are fully connected customer service
- provide the perfect mechanism for giving feedback
How do you do it?!
It’s no different to other forms of marketing: you need to have a plan. Knowing the “whys and wherefores” of what you’re doing gives focus and means you can plan ahead. This helps you be consistent so that there isn’t any downtime in activity during those traditionally busy retail periods like the lead up to Christmas and sale periods.
- You need to know your audience. That way you know what social media platform to use and the kind of content they will respond to. If your brand is relevant to the younger generation then Instagram or Snapchat would be the first port of call. For the over 30s, head to Facebook.
- Create great content. Reach out to your audience with what they want to hear, or see. That’s the best way to engage with them.
- Make sure you communicate your social links. Everywhere! You should have your links present across your website, in-store at point of sale and make sure your staff are telling people about it.
- Get activity going by offering a discount or competition prize. This doesn’t have to be something that will heavily affect your bottom line. Just something very simple that will motivate customers to engage with you. Offer a prize or discount if they leave a comment or share a social media post. It will instantly increase your reach.
- Images are everything. As is video content. Retail is about selling products to show people what your products are. Think of it as a catalogue of your products that showcases just how good they are. Pinterest is a brilliant visual social media platform, as is Instagram. There are also some fantastic tools that can help you make excellent quality videos yourself, such as Animoto or wideo. Behind the scenes video of opening boxes of new stock always goes down well. It acts as a teaser for consumers and helps show the journey – you could even do the same for your buying process so they feel part of the retail journey from start to finish.
- Use it for testimonials. This works especially well on Google and Facebook. Customers can leave reviews about your products and service that are recognised as being totally independent and verified – which means they’re credible. If you get a negative review, don’t worry. Remember that it’s how you deal with negative reviews that’s vital, as we’ve mentioned in a previous blog.
- Be responsive. This is critical. We live in a world where so many things are immediate, and responding to comments is no different. You can set up an autoresponder on Facebook to let your customer know you’ve received their message, and aim to respond to them with a direct response to their comment, ideally within minutes, not hours.
There’s a veritable department store full of options when it comes to social media so knowing exactly what you should put in your basket can be confusing.
SocialBee Social Media is your social media partner, on hand to help you take stock of where you are – and get you to where you want to be.
Boost your retail business growth. Get in touch on 07484 805545.