The role social media plays in today’s retail environment

As technology continues to evolve, as does the way that consumers interact with their favourite brands, both online and offline. The upsurge in the use of social media and other digital channels means that the way retailers reach and engage today’s consumers is drastically different to 10 years ago.

Social media, for instance, is an advancement that has presented a new frontier and boundless opportunities for today’s retailers to engage more customers to expand their business.

Similar to the shift from radio to television, we are once again witnessing a massive shift in where consumers are directing their attention, this time from television to mobile.

To keep up with trends and ensure your brand stays relevant and top-of-mind for consumers, it’s now more important than ever to rethink the ways you interact with your customers, and perhaps look to what digital marketing can offer.

But where to begin? Here are four ways you can implement an active social media marketing strategy to bring your business into the new decade.

Define the type of influencer suited to your brand

Influencers are at the forefront of the digital marketing movement and provide a great starting point for your business, big or small. With an effective working relationship, influencers can help build brand awareness and drive conversions. There are two main categories of influencer – macro and micro -, and you might find that one is better suited to your specific business objectives than the other.

Macro influencers, for instance, have large follower counts and an inspiration-seeking audience; therefore, they are highly effective at driving brand awareness and extending reach. However, they often come with a hefty price tag and are less likely to lead to conversions, and are usually more effective for awareness campaigns.

Micro-influencers, on the other hand, are often easier to relate to, which can help to drive conversions. While they have smaller follower counts, you will find that they often boast extremely engaged followers who are more likely to purchase products recommended to them.

Focus on targeted locations

Research shows that consumers require at least seven touch points with a brand before they will consider making a purchase. Therefore, consider implementing a social media strategy whereby potential customers will see the same product from several different sources. Influencers located in similar regions will often have shared audiences, therefore engaging with influencers in a single area can help increase the exposure frequency of your brand to the same people multiple times. This helps to saturate your customers’ news feed with your product, meaning you stay top-of-mind and relevant.

Convert content to grab attention on multiple platforms

Many brands have introduced social media marketing into their strategy, so it can be easy for your content to get lost in the crowded space. To stand out, it’s important to create ‘thumb-stopping content’ that is so cleverly crafted that it catches the customer’s attention and causes them to stop scrolling through their feed.

Simply reproducing an advertisement used in print or broadcast will not suffice on social media. Create appealing content that can be converted and displayed across a multitude of social media platforms to set yourself up for a successful campaign.

Maximise your impact with minimal spend

For smaller, independent retailers, social media marketing can be a great option as it doesn’t require the large marketing budget that many other advertising avenues do. If you have a minimal marketing budget, consider offering contra opportunities to micro-influencers to engage audiences. This involves asking influencers to post content in return for receiving a particular product for free. By engaging these influencers, you can reach thousands of customers, without spending a cent on advertising space.

Retailers worldwide are now turning to digital marketing as a new avenue to reach and engage customers. However, in a saturated market, it can be difficult for smaller retailers to stand out. By implementing a strategic, low-cost social media strategy, you could find it’s the next crucial step to grow your business.

Written by Zane Sabré, Co-Founder and Managing Director, MAISON de SABRÉ

Read this article on pg 16 in the latest edition of our magazine The Retailer, Issue #68 out now!



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