According to DigitasLBi Connected commission’s report, in 2015, Facebook influenced 52% of customer purchases while Pinterest influenced 46%, Instagram 43%, and Twitter 36%.
The report also indicated that almost 30% of the study participants had bought an item through a social media page. In this age of digitalization, having just a brick and mortar store is not enough, especially for retail businesses.
In fact, not having a strong online presence is detrimental to business success. E-commerce is not just preferable but crucial for obtaining new customers, strengthening ties with old ones and enhancing brand image.
Whether you already use social media for your business or are thinking of starting for the first time, here are three things you need to know beforehand:
Social media is ubiquitous
Social media is, more or less, everywhere now. With the increase in the number of mobile users and increased accessibility to the internet, the number of active social media users has gone up to approximately 3.2 billion in 2018.
Moreover, the number of mobile social media users globally has reached 2.56 billion, with 1 million new users coming in every day. And it’s not just the number of users, but the amount of time spent on social media has also increased. According to GlobalWebIndex, an internet user, on average, spends around 6 hours every day using the internet.
The 2016 Nielson social media report also confirmed that social media is not just favored by the younger generation but is also popular among the older one. Most 20 to 36-year-olds frequently use applications like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube while most 35 to 49-year-olds also use Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest regularly. In fact, this older generation uses social media for 39 more minutes, on average, than the younger generation.
So, it doesn’t matter what kind of audience you cater to retail businesses need to incorporate social media into their marketing mix, as more and more consumers prefer purchasing items online from the comfort of their homes.
Social media works best with a targeted approach
Despite the vast reach social media has, using it does not always ensure successful marketing. Rather, because of its broad reach, businesses need to filter and apply a more targeted approach to reach their target market to increase its effectiveness.
Adopting a general or unfocused strategy would not only be inefficient in reaching the right people but might also put off potential customers. The 2016 Nielson report also revealed that 90% of customers in the UK confessed that they had stopped following a brand in the past year. Out of those, 46% did so because brands sent them too many messages and 24% did so because the messages sent were irrelevant.
Retail businesses need to clearly define their desired audience by age, gender, preferences, etc. and reach them with specifically tailored messages so that they can acquire new customers and satisfy existing ones too.
Consider City Beach, an apparel retailer, who understood that their target audience uses Instagram more. They concentrated their marketing efforts on that platform. Their content is customized according to their audience, and they are doing remarkably well. Each of their post gets 5,000 likes almost immediately.
According to Ambassador, 71% of customers who experienced good social media service, are more likely to tell others about it. E-commerce businesses need to focus less on quantity and more on quality. This brings us to the third point.
Use social media to engage with your audience
Just promoting your products and brand through social media will help get new customers, but it is equally important to strengthen your relationship with old customers by improving brand loyalty.
Brand loyalty is created when you engage with your audience and create an online community for them. While new product promotions and sales offers are necessary to generate sales, they should not make up the entirety of your social media content.
Instead, they should make a small portion of your marketing, along with other interactive content like contests, new ideas, guides, behind the scenes or anything else that helps in establishing a personal connection with your audience.
For example, if you visit KFC Australia on different social media websites, along with their new menu items and deals, you also get to see funny posts to make you laugh.
Add people and locations to your posts to make it more real for the viewers. According to Simply Measured, Instagram posts with users tagged and locations added, showed notably better engagement.
Take a look at Lorna Jane, manufacturer and retailer of women’s activewear, who ranked number one on Google, Facebook, and Instagram thanks to ecommerce SEO services. Their success lies in their interactive social media accounts.
Posting inspirational quotes and asking the followers to like it if they agree or asking them questions like what they were working on are small examples of how they interact with their customers and keep them engaged.
Engaging with customers is also important as it motivates them to share your posts and spread positive word of mouth, which is basically free marketing for you.
Furthermore, these days, social media websites come with built-in features that help you gauge the effectiveness of your content and posts. You can see the number of people reached on Facebook or the number of likes and comments or even how many people visited your website. This will give you an idea of what’s working and what’s not.
In today’s business environment, you can not ignore the importance of e-commerce and social media. And while it brings many benefits like customer loyalty and higher retention rates, decreased costs, and higher audience reach, retail businesses have to be careful in designing their strategies. The wrong approach can result in a negative public reaction, your brand getting lost in the noise or even just getting out of your control.
What other things do you think retail businesses need to know? Leave us a comment below!