Social media has never been more important for a retail brand. It’s a key way to stand out in the hearts and minds of your customers in today’s omnichannel landscape. The customer journey is increasingly influenced by digital and mobile. Social media plays a critical role in this customer experience, from customer acquisition, engagement, retention and service, to loyalty and brand advocacy.
“Think of social media as one of the pillars of your retail store’s brand management. Social media is a way to connect the dots between the customer experience, loyalty, customer service and the spirit of discovery and emotions that make shopping enjoyable.”
In 2016, social media is not just about advertising; it’s education, content marketing, displaying your passion for helping customers, giving them a sneak peek at your products, and inspiring them with customer success stories. Social media done right can elevate your brand above the competition and boost sales. Extraordinary social media content translates to a uniquely memorable brand. Are you ready for your store to be one of those magical brands?
How can you best use social media networks?
By improving the social media branding of your retail store you can directly impact sales and improve the customer experience as well as sending out campaigns and promotions. Here are some global best practices and ideas to help you:
|Social Media Network||Target||Top Tips|
|Highly mobile younger Millennials and Gen Z consumers.||Post high-resolution original photography with attention paid to professional design and branding.
|Millennial women, especially mothers, and people interested in fashion, style, lifestyle and self-improvement.||It’s all about amazing pictures of your products.
|Influencers, partners and business associates in your industry and loyal brand advocates and consumers.||Post more frequently to compensate for the lower engagement and visibility of Twitter posts. Use a post scheduler like Buffer or Hootsuite and post a higher percentage of images with hashtags as tweets.
|Consumers who are 35+.||Create your own 1-2 minute native videos that are highly shareable and post them on Facebook groups related to your vertical, products and store.
Study your competitors!
Study your competitors and other independent brands in your retail industry and see how they are managing their social media marketing amongst different channels or platforms. This will give you ideas and inspiration on how you can use your own social channels even better to create a unique customer experience that spans online as well as in-store.
Many of your customers will have questions, require education, and want to talk with you on social media. Using social media as a way to offer great customer service really helps you stand out and provide a more omnichannel customer experience. This is especially true if your website does not have an IM chat. Here are a few rules of thumb to help you along:
- Answer all questions and comments on a daily basis and monitor your social channels very closely. Response times matter.
- Provide educational tips on your products to inspire your customer engagement and curiosity.
- Do not delete a negative comment or complaint. Answer it compassionately and with the best of intentions to help your customers.
- Find examples of some of the best support on Twitter and Facebook to get an idea of how good customer service works on social media, and share this with your employees. Bigger brands will often have a dedicated Twitter feed just for helping customers.
- Turn happy customers into brand advocates. If your customer service is exceptional, word of mouth will translate into sharing that experience on social media. Online brand advocacy is very valuable for your retail store.
Using social media to optimize the customer experience has never been more important for independent retail brands. Doing it well can elevate your brand as one of the memorable favorites of your customers.
Are you doing something unique on social media to enhance your store’s brand? Share your story and experiences below.
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Log in to Vend U now and find the whitepaper in the Resources section. You’ll get more information about picking the right social media platform for your retail vertical, and valuable techniques to boost social media growth. Or, find out more about Vend U.
About the author
Michael Spencer is a brand & identity consultant, freelance copywriter and blogger for various clients. He’s a creative writer who is passionate about helping independent retailers boost their brand and inspire their customers. He has written over 400 educational articles in the last year on LinkedIn alone. He resides in Montreal. Contact him on LinkedIn, Twitter or Quora.
About Ashley Gilgrist
Ashley looks after product marketing at Vend — working hard to bring exciting product launches to retailers around the globe. When she’s not busy talking all-things-Vend, Ashley also has a love of tea, candle-crafting, binge-watching, and hiking the pointy peaks of New Zealand.