How Deb Shops Used Social Media to Improve its Search Rankings … and Grow its Revenues
For multichannel retailer Deb Shops, a seller of junior and plus-sized apparel and accessories for women aged 13 to 25, combining the power of two of online retail's most profitable channels — social media and search — has brought increased brand awareness, more site traffic and ultimately increased sales.
At this month's Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in Chicago, Joe Kassa, Deb Shops’ chief marketing officer, along with David Larkins, vice president of marketing for online marketing and advertising firm NetPlus, discussed how retailers can create a social media agenda optimized for search engines.
5 Reasons Social Media Should be Search's BFF
Larkins began the presentation with a rundown of five reasons why social media and search work best when harnessed together. They include the following:
- Google likes social media;
- social media produces quality inbound links;
- social media is a proactive form of reputation management;
- social media increases brand awareness; and
- it increases consumers’ time spent on your website.
Encourage content creation from your customers and employees, said Larkins. To find your brand evangelists, offer consumers something in return — e.g., advance notice on sales, special offers, free stuff, exclusive access, etc. This also works for bloggers, Larkins pointed out. But it's the responsibility of retailers to provide consumers the context to put content out there the right way. For a general audience, keep those opportunities simple. For example, encourage videos, product reviews, photos with them and your product, recipes, etc.
The Deb Girl Model Search
With a primary demographic of teenage girls who spend more time texting and on Facebook than average consumers, Deb Shops realizes the importance of social media on its business. When brands say that they must communicate wherever their customers are, for Deb Shops that means a heavy presence on social media sites.
One of Deb Shops most recent social media campaigns occurred eight months ago. A model search was held among its customers, with the winner being featured in a Deb Shops’ photo shoot and on its website. While not the first apparel retailer to run a model search, Deb Shops’ campaign was different — it was completely done online.