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Simon-Kucher & Partners - B2B Article

In the retail industry, some see social media marketing as a necessary part of their customer experience, while others just see it as a nice-to-have. However, consumers' use of social media is increasing, with 76% saying they used it more in the previous year and 63% buying something on it. Social followers mean prospective business for firms of all shapes and sizes, whether it's a digital or in-person transaction.

The beauty of social media for retail is that you can interact with customers at almost any stage of their journey. It's critical to grasp the methods and strategies that work among today's top merchants to get the most out of your campaigns. In this tutorial, we explain what retail brands need to do to plan out that all-important consumer journey as part of their omnichannel sales strategy.

1. Get seen through an omnichannel social presence

Retailers can't afford to limit themselves to just one social media presence. While concentrating all of your efforts on a single channel may save you from spreading your resources too thin, it also means you're losing money.

New statistics show how crucial Instagram is for shops in terms of social selling nowadays. Titans like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube rule consumers' social media habits. Consumer involvement is also high on newer platforms, such as TikTok and Snapchat.

It's critical to have a strategy for cross-platform content promotion to guarantee that you're reaching every portion of your audience. Not only can you cross-promote content using social scheduling tools, but you can also time your promos for maximum interaction.

2. Convert prospects into consumers by supplementing your existing marketing

This may sound obvious, but a large part of social media for retail is figuring out how to integrate your social presence with existing sponsored advertising. Especially given the top three social media goals for businesses (brand exposure, community participation, site traffic) are core components of all social media platforms. Some firms may be hesitant to push things too aggressively on social media. Nonetheless, over two-thirds of customers think brand social posts affect their buying decisions.

It's fine to promote coupon codes, deals, and discounts regularly to encourage spontaneous purchases. If presented with some artistic flair, striking product photos are fantastic material that doesn't come across as "salesy." Brands with a large and active social following have more options to nurture clients and keep them informed about new offerings.

3. Invest time in social customer service to increase retention

Unbeatable customer service may set your company apart from the competition in today's world of online buying and fast-paced transactions. Listening to and reacting to consumer issues with care is an important part of effective social media for retail. This entails personalising your responses as well as reacting quickly (another top customer expectation). Customer satisfaction is greatly influenced by these aspects, with 60% of customers expecting a response within an hour.

It's not only about answering queries and complaints when it comes to social customer service. Giving consumers shout-outs to promote their great experiences is also part of it. Take advantage of these opportunities and use them to build social proof for your brand.

4. Keep an ear out for emerging trends to inform your product and content initiatives

When it comes to listening, the social media retail landscape is continuously shifting. Brands are always experimenting with new methods to interact with their fans. At the same time, new items and competitors are continually invading any particular retail market, emphasising the need for companies to maintain a firm pulse on their industry.

Monitoring mentions, hashtags, and industry-related keywords is a wonderful way to keep track of what consumers are talking about. On social media, there's a treasure-trove of business intelligence.

5. Curate user-generated content to create brand advocates

Brands must be on the lookout for user-generated content (UGC), which is easily one of the most important mediums when it comes to social media for retail. Even large retailers employ UGC to promote their items and build a strong community around them.

Customer images have been shown to enhance conversions and social following engagement. Customers like to chat about their recent purchases if you offer them the opportunity. Use a branded hashtag, for example, to inspire people to share their images.

Retailers are expected to develop their own hashtag to stimulate organic promotion on behalf of their followers, whether it's for an influencer marketing campaign or just to encourage UGC. Customers will be able to interact with your brand in new ways as a result of this.

6. Make social media purchasing seamless

It is more than possible to encourage purchases directly from social media. You will need to make buying a seamless experience if you want to raise your social media conversion rate. Make sure each item has a product description as well as a social-specific landing page that makes browsing your products a breeze.

You want to keep your clients going from point A to point B instead of bouncing between a variety of links and redirects. Making your social landing pages scrollable and mobile-friendly is crucial even if you don't utilise a third-party platform for social buying. It's worth noting that social media networks are continually releasing new shopping and advertising tools designed specifically for retail. Instagram Checkout, for example, demonstrates how platforms are attempting to make it easier for companies to drive purchases.

7. Remarket to existing customers to help build long-term loyalty

Of course, we can't discuss social media for retail without including sponsored advertisements. With social networks reportedly cutting down on solely promotional organic postings, merchants can appeal to customers without risking spamming them by running advertising. The good news is that businesses can now personalise and target their advertising in ways that they have never been able to before. Brands may create campaigns to attract new consumers while also reaching out to existing customers.

Brands, for example, utilise Facebook and Instagram's dynamic advertisements to reactivate or reach out to previous consumers. These ads are a low-cost strategy to reintroduce your brand to customers and have a high return on investment.

How are you integrating social media into your retail sales strategy?

There's no doubting that retailers have a lot on their plates when it comes to social media. The number of innovative business options accessible to brands on social media is apparently unlimited, from finding new consumers to boosting the value of the ones you already have.

There's never been a better moment to go all-in on social media to boost traffic, establish a loyal following, and increase revenue. Social media should be a key component of your omnichannel sales strategy today more than ever.

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