With around 3.196 billion social media users globally by January 2018, according to data from Smart Insights, social media users have increased by 13% compared to 2017. This means there's a massive potential pool of customers out there on social media, and what's more, that pool is ever-growing.
Is your business making the most of this powerful platform? Most businesses now, at the very least, have a social media profile, but how many are using them effectively? It's not enough to just be there, you have to be noticed too. Let's take a look at some key ways you can make social media a powerful tool for your company.
Boast about your awards!
Social media offers a unique avenue for retailers to create a direct, contactable "face" for customers, and talking about your awards is a brilliant starting point for this. There are many retail awards events hosted throughout the year that highlight industry-specific accomplishments, as well as countless corporate events that are designed to promote networking within the sector. So, why not use these to harness the power of social media and advertise your brand?
Showing the human side of your business can help build rapport with your customers too - share photos of your team at an award show and show the world their pride in the company they work for. This not only keeps your accounts looking fresh, active and innovative, but it also gives your brand a personality and allows your audiences to see real people rather than just products and a company logo. Of course, many brands have cottoned onto this brand-boosting tactic, so you need something to stand out. According to a study commissioned by Tesco Mobile, Brits scroll just over five miles on their smartphones a year, so you must make your visual posts as interesting as possible to capture a ‘scrolling audience’. Consider using an Instagram Selfie Frame featuring your brand logo or another photo prop to give your upload an edge!
Communication is stronger than advertising
In terms of advertising, of course social media is a great way to get some out there, but make sure your focus is on customer engagement.
What is the age range for your target audience? What do they enjoy doing? What are they watching or listening to? What matters to them? All of these factors will help you create content that will engage with them and stop them from simply scrolling past you. If your target consumer is mainly parents, then share information about family-related topics. If you sell to mainly professionals, keep your posts and language tone mindful of this. Remember, despite being a retail business, not every post has to be about your company or industry: you can further your engagement with your target consumer if you discuss topical trends, too.
Encourage discussion in the comments thread, interact with your customers, and set up a hashtag to track and contribute to posts. Uploading an image of a new product or simply posting details about an upcoming sale with a link to your site isn’t going to cut it in 2018 and beyond. Brand social media is about creating a conversation and familiarising people with your company to boost brand loyalty and awareness. Conversions and repeat customers will follow.
Pick your platform
Smart Insights also shed some light on the biggest active user bases in the UK by platform:
However, it’s strategic to be active on all channels if you want to have the greatest audience reach — but research is key.
Facebook might be the top of the leader board, but that doesn't mean it is instantly the one to go for. Look at which of your platforms have the most followers — this will show you where to channel the majority of your efforts. Then, determine which have the least and start boosting these numbers. Many brands have Facebook and Twitter accounts, but fewer may invest much time in Instagram and Snapchat. This imbalance of efforts could be detrimental to your company — particularly when you consider the fact that Snapchat is anticipated to overtake Twitter in ad revenue by 2019.
Bring people together with shopping!
Instagram has around 17.2 million UK users over the age of 13. What are you doing to capture this pool of consumers? With the shopping feature on Instagram, you can create a virtual store for your retail brand and sell your products using descriptions and high-quality images, letting people browse items without leaving the app. Cost-effective, fast and simple to create; this feature is a retailer’s dream. Plus, Instagram doesn’t take anything from your transactions.
Create video content
Entrepreneur Europe reckons that 80% of online content will be in video form by 2019. Are you ready for the surge in audio-visual? Your first step towards merging engagement with advertising on social media is Facebook’s live streaming feature. Using just a smartphone, you can record videos like tutorials and demonstrations to offer your followers quality content that they want to engage with. For example; if you sell tech gadgets, do a livestream of how to set these up, or give a beauty tutorial if your range includes cosmetics.
'Behind-the-scenes' videos are always a great idea, as you can showcase a day on your production line or office to let customers see where their favourite products come from. Let your staff chat about your company’s processes to open channels of communication with your followers and let them see the innovative processes and dedicated workers behind your brand. Alternatively, you can video charity events and team-building events that your staff take part in — this will show that your brand cares about more than profits.
If you aren't tapping into social media, you're definitely missing out; take a look at how your brand can benefit!
"With around 3.196 billion social media users globally by January 2018, according to data from Smart Insights, social media users have increased by 13 compared to 2017. "
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