Retailers Must Be Social This Holiday Season
During the make-or-break holiday season, marketers will pull out all the stops trying to reach their target customers, whether it's through traditional advertising (print, TV, radio, outdoor) or via postings on social media.
And the most effective content for engagement across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is video content, according to our findings.
Shareablee found that total engagement across social media platforms in the retail industry this year declined only 2 percent, even though brands posted 13 percent less content than in 2016.
However, big-box and department stores saw a 2 percent increase in engagement and a 97 percent increase on video actions across all social platforms from 2016 to 2017.
Of all branded content across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, video is performing best. Video actions on the platforms have grown nearly 100 percent since 2016, from 179 million to 220 million.
Video views grew 3 percent, with consumers now watching 2.4 billion videos on retailers’ social platforms.
Video represents a more engaging way to interact with consumers and lets a brand express more than words associated or pictures. While the phrase “pivot to video” may be overused, it's clear that consumers are interested in branded videos and are more willing and likely to engage with their favorite retailers’ videos.
While the retail sector as a whole may have seen a decline in social engagement, that doesn't mean that retailers should shy away from using social media. The industry saw a 46 percent increase on clicks across all platforms in 2017, with retail brands experiencing a jump of 53 percent, suggesting consumers are still very interested in engaging with their favorite retail brands. Rather, retailers should post content on platforms that their customers are on and are engaging with.
As it stands right now, Instagram and Twitter are the social media platforms that retailers should be targeting. Big-box and department stores saw an 11 percent increase in engagement on Instagram, and retailers/brands saw a 22 percent increase in engagement on Twitter.
Additionally, the retail sector saw an explosion of growth in followers in 2017 on Instagram and Twitter, with follower counts rising an average of 43 percent and 14 percent, respectively. Comparatively, the retail industry as a whole saw a decline in engagement of 15 percent on Facebook and only a 9 percent increase in followers.
So does engagement on social media actually lead to a consumer being more willing to shop at a specific retailer? Shareablee has found that it indeed does make a difference. From January 2015 to August 2016, average spend increased 19 percent among those who engaged with a specific retailer online. Consumers were also more likely to log into a retailer's website, with engaged consumers logging in 77 percent more than the average consumer. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, lifetime spend with a specific retailer was 51 percent higher among those who engaged with a brand on social media.
Shopping is increasingly becoming a connected experience, whether it be ordering gifts via a voice-activated device or shopping via Instagram. As such, a fully connected consumer is 52 percent more valuable to a retailer than one who is highly satisfied.
By utilizing the right social platforms and creating engaging content, retailers can capitalize on the burgeoning opportunity that social media represents.
Tania Yuki is the CEO of Shareablee, a social media intelligence firm.
Related story: 5 Drivers to Retail Social Media Success