Speaking of cross-promotion, consider that any given retailer’s email list is their bread and butter for encouraging repeat business. With an engaged email list and social following, brands have more opportunities to nurture customers and keep them in the loop about their latest promotions. Here’s how ShopBop puts their Instagram feed front-and-center via their email newsletter.
3. Gather feedback from your social customers
Of course, social media for retail isn’t just as simple as blasting offers and deals.
Although customers are more than happy to follow retailers in pursuit of a sale, your long game should be to sell your brand beyond your products.
This means figuring out your brand identity and making connections with customers. Perhaps one of the easiest and most effective ways to do so is through asking questions.
What sort of products do people want? What sort of content do they want to see? Whether through Instagram Stories or question-based posts, picking people’s brains is easier than ever. Additionally, question-based content encourages replies and interactions which are like candy to modern
The feedback gathered from customers can not only inform your content and product strategies but also serve as a break from purely promotional content. Retailers like Best Buy do an awesome job of asking playful questions while subtly featuring their products at the same time. See how that works?
4. Dedicate time to providing social customer service
Food for thought: customer service concerns are among the top reasons that consumers engage with retailers on social media.
And so if you’re equipped to handle such concerns, you’re golden. Consider that there is no “one-size-fits-all” for customers to reach out, though. Here’s a snapshot of why customers reach out to retailers via our 2019 Social Index.
Effective social media for retail means listening and responding to customer concerns with care. This means both personalizing your replies while also responding in a timely manner. As noted in our guide to Twitter customer service, 60% of people expect a response within an hour.
Don’t think of responding to such concerns as customers being needy, though. The ability to respond with grace spells good news for your brand as you strive to keep customers around for the long-haul. Check out how Publix manages to address a reasonable concern while still scoring a “Like.”
In fact, companies like Publix have managed to make stellar customer service part of their online identity.
Social customer service isn’t just about addressing questions and complaints. Customer care also means giving customers shout-outs to highlight their positive experiences. As noted by our data, that’s the top reason why customers reach out: capitalize on those moments and let them serve as social proof for your brand.
The more you’re able to highlight your satisfied customers, the better.
The takeaway here is that customer service can’t be an afterthought for retailers. Through consistent monitoring and social listening, you can make sure those precious mentions don’t fall by the wayside.
5. Listen for trends to influence your product and content strategies
Speaking of listening, social media retail trends are constantly changing.
Brands are constantly experimenting with new ways to engage with followers. At the same time, competitors and new products are constantly flooding any given retail space which speaks to the need for brands to have a strong pulse on their industries.
Sprout’s social listening suite includes a
query builder where brands can easily monitor mentions, hashtags and industry-related keywords to better track what customers are buzzing about.
More advanced listening features in Sprout can also help retailers monitor their brand sentiment and mentions to ensure healthy, positive growth in engagement over time.
Beyond questions and concerns, your customers can be a goldmine of business intelligence on social media. It’s all a matter of making sure you’re listening, though.
6. Curate user-generated content to promote your satisfied customers
Easily one of the biggest needs when it comes to social media for retail, brands need to be on the hunt for user-generated content (UGC)
Even retail giants like Target (with nearly 4 million Instagram followers) rely on UGC to show off their products.
Customer photos are noted to increase conversions and engagement among social followers. Your customers want to talk about their latest purchases, granted you give them a chance to do so.
For example, Target encourages followers to @mention them within posts which allows followers to be featured in their feeds.
Meanwhile, Anthropologie uses the branded hashtag #myanthropologie to entice customers to post their photos.
Whether it’s for an influencer marketing campaign or simply encouraging UGC, retailers these days are expected to
create their own hashtag
to encourage organic promotion on behalf of their followers. Doing so provides yet another avenue for customers to engage with your brand and vice-versa.
7. Make social shopping as seamless as possible
As noted by the number of brands totally killing social media for retail, encouraging purchases directly from social media is more than possible.
However, it’s not as simple as dropping product links and walking away.
If you want to increase your
social media conversion rate, you’re going to need to make shopping a seamless experience.
For example, let’s look at how easy Crate and Barrel makes shopping their Instagram feed. Their bio link call-to-action is loud and clear, as is their social-specific landing page which makes it a cinch to browse products.
Ideally, you want to keep your customers moving from Point A to Point B rather than bouncing between a bunch of links and re-directs. Even if you don’t use a third-party tool for social shopping, making your social landing pages scrollable and mobile-friendly is a must-do.
Additionally, note that social platforms are constantly rolling out new shopping and advertising features tailored for social media for retail. For example, the recent roll-out of Instagram checkout signals how networks are trying to make it easier for brands to encourage purchases. Here’s a snapshot of the feature from Crate and Barrel’s feed.
8. Remarket to current and former customers
Of course, we can’t talk about social media for retail without discussing paid ads.
With social algorithms seemingly cracking down on purely promotional organic posts, running ads allows retailers to appeal to customers without running the risk of spamming them.
The good news is that retailers can personalize and target their advertising like never before. Brands can run campaigns to prospect for new customers or reach out to returning customers simultaneously.
For example, Facebook and Instagram’s dynamic ads can reach former customers or folks on your email list who you’re looking to reactivate. Such ads serve as a cost-effective way to reintroduce your brand to customers and are likewise noted for their high ROI. This retargeting campaign from Gathre resulted in a staggering 91% return on ad spend.
9. Don’t forget your physical packaging
If you’re a retailer, you have a distinct opportunity to make a lasting impression on your customers in-person.
This can be done by combining your social presence with your physical packaging if possible. From stickers and business cards to quite literally wrapping up your products with your social handles, there are tons of creative ways to couple social media with in-person promotion. Here’s an awesome example from Vistaprint. Even something as simple as a branded business card snuck into your shipped orders is a smart move. Retailers can’t be shy about promoting their social presence and in-person creatives are one of the most meaningful ways to do it. 10. Increase your customer lifetime value over time
The end-game of social media for retail is to nurture customers and encourage them to become long-term shoppers.
In other words, you can’t afford to solely focus on acquisition. Growing your follower count is nice, but ask yourself: is your social presence resulting in long-term engagement and purchases?
If someone is willing to follow your brand, they’ve already signaled their interest to make a purchase. This highlights the need to promote offers while also connecting with a diverse content calendar. As noted by the examples above, retailers have a ton of creative options available for regularly engaging their target audiences.
At the same time, think about how you can increase what your social following is worth over time.
Ramp up your efforts during the holidays where consumer spending is at an all-time high. Run influencer marketing and UGC campaigns. Try your hand at social ads.
And along the way, make sure you’re keeping a close eye on engagement via
social analytics. By tracking your growth and engagement by the numbers, you can better understand what’s encouraging purchases from your followers over time.
And with that, we wrap up our guide!
How are you using social media for retail?
There’s no denying that retailers have their hands full in terms of their social presence.
But as we said, retailers have the most to gain from social media at large.
From uncovering new customers to increasing the value of the ones you already have, the amount of creative business opportunities available to retail brands on social media is seemingly endless.
And with the help of tools such as Sprout Social, brands can run and monitor their campaigns by-the-numbers to win more customers along the way.
We want to hear from you, though. What do you see as the future of social media for retail? Any challenges that you’ve faced in pursuit of more business? Let us know in the comments below!
This post How to master social media for retail and win more customers originally appeared on Sprout Social.
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