5 Ways Social Media Can Be Used To a Retailer’s Advantage

Social media logos

Offline marketing, there is no doubt, has its benefits. It still targets a certain clientele and if you have a decent customer base already, you’ll be making sales. But the name of the game is – of course – to make more: to grow your business, customers and sales.  Here is where integration with social media marketing has gathered its momentum. If you haven’t already invested some time into social media, then you need to read on. Or, if you’ve opened up some Social accounts, been moderately active online, but aren’t seeing much response – then you can also consider the advice below.

Social media is vital for retaining existing customers and attracting new ones. Unsure where to start?  Here are 5 ways retailers can use social media to increase brand awareness and get more business:

1. Real-Time Responses:

We all love to complain, and yet don’t like it when people complain about our product. But if people are complaining about your product online, don’t you want to be the first to clear things up? Perhaps even more importantly, complaints on social media can actually be used to your advantage.

If you are seen to have a quick response and offer your help or compensation it can reflect very well on your customer service abilities. JetBlue Airlines had a complaint about a broken TV onboard from a passenger. They could have made an excuse or just ignored his tweet. Instead, they promptly replied and offered him compensation. They had a positive response back from the customer, increasing their positive visibility with an audience that was already inclined to buy or at the very least considering a purchase.

You may choose a primary channel for customer service and have a staff member manage it, listing certain times they’ll be available to reply (set hours and days). And you should still be monitoring other social channels in case your brand is being mentioned or questioned on those too.

2. Community Engagement and Outreach:

Customers appreciate retailers that engage with their communities. This can be donating time, money or products to local charities, supporting local teams or positively commenting on people who have been successful in the local area. Today’s Group found that 80% of local businesses say they are involved in local initiatives, while 15% of consumers say that they are prepared to pay more for products purchased at a local store if the business demonstrates professionalism and is engaged in the community.

If you can show this commitment to social media, you could be gaining a 15% increase in customers.

3. Photos Speak 1,000 Words:

Your customers’ can be attracted with photos, it’s a simple and effective way to attract their attention, especially on social media. Twitter found that photos average a 35% boost in re-tweets and videos a 28% increase. That’s a massive number when you think about how many people could be looking at your products. Even just a meme being re-tweeted or shared around, being viewed by a huge audience, gets your brand noticed.

Colour affects people’s responses too with research showing that coloured visuals increase people’s willingness to read content by 80%. It doesn’t even have to be your own images either. Grow consumer engagement and showcase your products by holding competitions for you customers. This is what Bitwell do with their Motorcycle Helmet Art campaign. Motorcycle accessories retailer Biltwell routinely highlight their customer creations on their Facebook page. So as well as posting colourful and bright pictures they are creating a feeling of togetherness with the brand and consumer.

4. Simple and relevant social media messages: 

When you do use words though, keep them simple and to the point. Too much information can discourage customers who, when scrolling through social media, are just glancing at your update. If your customer’s attention is grabbed quickly, there is much more chance they will click on your link or onto your profile to read more.

5. How do you know if it’s actually worked?

Comprehensive measurement and reporting is vital when you’re trying to understand what is truly effective on Social Media. It’s as relevant for retailers as it is for any type of business.

  • Measuring conversations and engagement with your brand – by tracking how many people are commenting, liking and sharing your content you can see if your brand is inciting lively discussions and participation. This is a great indication of whether your brand is forging trust and engagement with customers.
  • Measuring click-through rates – Measure how many people, after seeing your content, are actively clicking through. You can see this way what content truly drives engagement and what doesn’t work at all.
  • Identifying traffic referral sources – Monitor which media channels your audience hang out on and where you get the most traffic from. Then you can focus more time on those channels – but don’t completely neglect the others if you’re still getting some traffic!
  • Setting your own targets –Your Social Media strategy, once sorted, has to be recorded so you know where you began and where you aim to be.

So if you haven’t already moved into the Social Media world and found out who is talking about you and what they’re saying – you need to do it now! See what your customers are saying and if there are any complaints or questions you can rectify them immediately.  Put colourful pictures up and incorporate your customers and their community into this.

By using social media platforms, you can increase your share of the market, build a strong brand voice and ensure that social media users are converted to fans and eventually, all being well, to repeat customers.