5 Strategies to Improve Social Media ROI
Engaging with fans on social media offers plenty of opportunities for retailers to increase brand visibility and boost sales. But are retailers really using social networks to their full potential?
In a recent case study, social data intelligence provider Talkwalker examined the social media activities of select fashion brands and retailers to see which are performing best on social. The findings were extremely split. While luxury labels like Michael Kors accounted for close to 20 percent of the overall conversation online between mid-June and mid-July, data from social media channels told a different story. On Michael Kors' Twitter account, for example, there were just 114 tweets over the same period. Compare that to almost 4,000 tweets for Nordstrom!
This indicates that retailers are potentially missing huge opportunities to join conversations on social media that are already taking place to better engage customers and improve the return on investment on their social media strategy.
So, how can brands improve their social strategy to better engage consumers? Here are five essentials to succeeding on social:
1. Post content on a regular basis. While Nordstrom is consistent in posting and engaging consumers on Twitter throughout the week, high-end brands like Michael Kors and Burberry go long stretches without any activity at all on the social network. Fans keep using social media, even when a brand or retailer isn’t. By not having regular content on social channels, brands are missing out on a valuable opportunity to be remembered by customers. Consider using tools to find out when your fans are most often online, and schedule tweets or other social postings accordingly to ensure maximum reach.
2. Get visual. Some retailers, like those in fashion or beauty, rely on the visual appeal of their products to boost sales. Visual appeal can easily be translated into social media activities. For example, liven up your feed with images or videos to showcase your products or offer a behind-the-scenes snapshot. Visual content is more likely to be shared than plain text, and stays in customers’ minds for longer.
Since user-generated content works well and pictures are very easy to take, how about creating a contest where fans can submit and then vote on their favorite summer fashion selfie or beach-style picture?
3. Create/engage brand ambassadors. People who already have a positive opinion of a retailer can often be turned into brand ambassadors without too much effort. Tracking conversations about a brand or industry allows businesses to find out who is talking about them and whether they have an active and engaged audience. Offering free products or other perks helps strengthen positive impressions and gets your influencers to talk about your products. Tracking influencers’ overall social media reach helps find their passions and interests; use these insights to personalize your outreach.
4. Track relevant hashtags. Monitoring and tracking tools allow retailers to estimate the volume of conversation about their brands and products, as well as find topics and hashtags associated with their brand or product. Dedicated hashtag campaigns, such as Marc Jacobs’ #CastMeMarc campaign in 2014, make it easy for users to get involved and talking. Jacobs’ campaign, for instance, saw close to 1,000 mentions in a single day almost a year after it originally launched.
5. Join the conversation! Social media isn't a one-way street and should never be treated as such. For example, a large part of Nordstrom’s Twitter feed consists of replies to customer inquiries. Take your audience seriously by interacting and engaging them. On social media, being active is just as important as being reactive. As a bonus, engaging with customers on social media allows retailers to uncover new industry trends early on, giving them a head start over their competitors.
Social networks are penetrating every aspect of consumers’ lives. From product research to price comparisons to social support services for complaints or questions, retailers need to keep up with these developments and get more invested in the social media game. Many brands have mastered the art of engaging their customer base on social media, but there are just as many whose efforts fall short. Those brands and companies need to catch up and develop sustainable social media strategies before their competitors are too far ahead to catch up.
Todd Grossman is CEO of the Americas for Talkwalker.