Social media is more than a buzzword phrase to get the attention of young people. Social media campaigns and strategies have helped thousands of brands across the planet to connect with consumers and even increase sales. If your retail brand has ignored the social media sphere, it's now time to get in the game. You'll have to play some catch up, but the effort is well worth it. If you're already using social media, way to go! It's a great way to interact with consumers in real time and on their terms. Read on to discover why it's so crucial for retailers to use social media and also for some useful tips for implementing or improving your social media strategy.
Why should retailers use social media?
There are a lot of great reasons why retail brands should use social media. The most obvious is to connect with consumers, notably millennials. The oldest millennials are in their mid-thirties now, but they still heavily rely on the Internet in daily life. Younger members of the generation are even more tied to the network. By engaging with social media, you automatically put yourself in the room with hundreds of thousands of potential customers.
Social media allows you to project your brand in ways that traditional – and more expensive – media used to. In the past, a retailer might buy ad space in a newspaper or on the radio in order to spread their brand. These are still viable options, but they don't come close to a targeted social media campaign. Modern campaigns can use your money much more wisely. For example, instead of broadcasting your brand over the airwaves to people who might not be interested, social media can target your ideal consumers – so you know the money you spend is being used to reach the right people.
These are just a few of the reasons you should be on at least one social network. Here are some ways you can make use of the most popular options.
These days it seems like everyone is on Facebook. And that's because it's almost true. USA Today reported that 58 percent of adult Americans have a Facebook account and 70 percent of those people visit the site daily. That's quite a consumer pool to draw from! Not since the days when there were only four television stations have advertisers had the same reach they can enjoy today.
The two main ways to Facebook are through your brand page and targeted advertising. For an example of a page, check out ours here. As you can see, we use our Facebook page to interact with you, our customers. It's a way to provide better, faster service. The key to a good page is filling out all of the information, have lots of professional photographs and manage it frequently. A page is only as good as your level of interaction. Even if you don't have a dedicated community manager, taking some time every day to check in on your page will put you miles ahead of competitors who don't. For more about targeted ads, see the section below.
Twitter differs from Facebook in that you can use it more frequently and you can be a little more promotional. To explain, Facebook users might get quickly burnt out on your content if you're posting several times a day. On Twitter, however, you can feel free to post as much as you want. Posting at least once a day is the best option. Head over to our Twitter page to get an idea of what to post and how often. Generally, you can post links to your store page, blog posts and other links that you find interesting. Following other feeds and retweeting their posts is another great way to get involved.
Targeted ads work similarly on Twitter as they do on Facebook. On either site, you can craft a short piece of ad copy with a link that will be displayed on the side of the user's screen. Unlike an ad in the newspaper, which will be seen by anyone who picks it up, these ads will only be seen by people to whom they will appeal. If, for example, your store sells skating gear, the social site will only show your ads to people who have shown interest in skating. It's a great way to make your ad dollars go a long way.
"Instagram lets your customers get creative with your products."
Pinterest and Instagram
Pinterest and Instagram are social networks with slightly different approaches to the method of connecting users. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, which are structured like newsfeeds and profile pages, Pinterest and Instagram can help you and your customers interact in a more creative way. For example, Pinterest allows users to turn links into pins, which they can add to a board – which is a collection of pins. In essence, each user can create groups of things that interest them and share them with other users. As a retailer, you can create boards out of your products, like making an outfit out of different clothing products. Look over our boards to get a sense of how to use the site.
On Instagram, retailers can encourage their shoppers to share pictures of their products. This method is really great for apparel stores. Adweek reported that clothing retailers like to focus on Instagram and YouTube to show off their products and allow other users to do so as well. It's the ideal way for stores to collaborate with customers. You can follow us on Instagram to see what we're up to in the world of retail solutions!
Once you have a great social media strategy, you can leverage it into bigger sales. After you've connected with a good number of your customers, you can start sending them coupon codes, sales announcements, and anything else you think they might be interested in. The key is to never sound pushy and only send your customers content that helps them or is of interest to them. If they think your brand is annoying, it's only too easy for them to unfollow you. But if you use social media as a tool to work with and listen to the consumer, you're sure to find it extremely useful.