Social media has emerged as one of the defining phenomena of the modern age and it is now used as much by businesses as by individuals in day-to-day lives. For retailers, the crossover between personal and professional use opens up a great deal of potential for subtle selling and the building of brand loyalty.
Here are some key considerations if you’re keen to use social media channels more effectively:
Understand your audience
This is a fundamental starting point for most marketing efforts but in the context of using social media channels with precision it is perhaps more important than ever. Thankfully, social media platforms themselves provide plenty of content that can be of use to you as a retailer if you’re aiming to understand who your audiences are and what they might want from a company like your own.
The more you can learn about your potential customers, the better chance you’ll have of engaging with them effectively and building a valuable level of brand loyalty.
Authenticity is a key asset for any business using social media and straightforward advertising or promotional messages are very easily spotted as such and they become instantly much less engaging. One way in which retailers can help see their business promoted in a subtle and sustainable ways is to have employees post in a natural and believable fashion about cool things they’re up to in a professional capacity. Quite what this might be will vary greatly of course but, with the right approach and by using the most appropriate channels to spread the word, a company’s staff can be among its most effective and persuasive social media advocates.
Social media channels can be used for purely promotional purposes in a variety of ways by retailers and any other kind of business but they can also perform an important function as a customer service tool as well. As a retailer, you can aim to limit the effects of any negative online chatter by jumping into conversations with more positive responses and reacting quickly to queries on any number of issues. It all helps build a sense of connectedness between a business and its customers – and shows you genuinely care about your product or service.
Measure and make plans for improvements
Social media can be a fantastic way to find and attract new customers and build an audience for any content you create but there will always be room for improvement and it’s important to find the channels that work best for your business.
Understanding what’s working and what isn’t on social media is essential if your progress is to head in the right direction and the best way to gain insights on that front is through measurements and analytics. There are tools available that can give companies almost microscopic details on how each of their social media channels are performing – such as Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, Hootsuite and Sprout to name just a few. However, for some people simple measures of basic patterns and trends will be enough to work with and strategize around.
Keep at it
In whatever way you decide to pursue social media as a way of spreading the word about your business and, hopefully, improving your customer loyalty and bottom line in the process, it is vitally important to keep at it.
Returns on social media efforts can be a long time coming but once they have been earned they are effectively self-sustaining and they can be hugely beneficial for retailers in any sector.
John Baird has been involved in personal insolvency and finance for over a decade and he specializes in advising people facing financial distress. He offers this support though the website Scotland Debt Solutions.