Generate Loyal Customers and Sales via Social Media
Retailers have heard all the buzz around social media and its value to their brands, but many are still unsure how to use the channel's capabilities to their benefit. In a session at last week's Retail Marketing Virtual Conference & Expo presented by Retail Online Integration and eM+C, Adam Cohen, partner, social media practice lead at interactive marketing agency Rosetta, and Kevin Ertell, vice president of retail strategy at ForeSee Results, a customer satisfaction measurement and management firm, sought to end the confusion with some best practices retailers can use to monetize social media.
Social media is an opportunity not only to interact directly with customers, but to watch what customers say in an unfiltered, unsurveyed environment, said Cohen. Social media isn't a side project that's to be relegated to interns; it must be integrated into your overall marketing approach. Here are some best practices that Cohen and Ertell provided to help retailers integrate social media into their marketing efforts:
* Understand the needs, attitudes and behaviors of customers to define differences in brand, purchase and channel preferences. Focus on the entire customer experience — from web and e-commerce assets to paid search to email to mobile, said Cohen.
* Focus on the lower levels of the marketing funnel. Loyalty and advocacy are two levels after conversion that are often overlooked, said Cohen. Social media tactics can be most powerful when targeting those segments of customers — repeat buyers and brand advocates. Chances are you already have brand advocates out there, said Cohen. What are you doing to build long-term relationships to interact with them?
* Plan your social media strategy. Consider the following when forming your brand's social media strategy:
- the level of risk;
- where and how your target demographic can most benefit from social media interactions;
- how and where your brand is being discussed in social media;
- what are the business objectives that you're trying to achieve (e.g., long-term customer relationships, brand awareness, etc.);
- how active are your customers in social media; and
- how much time and budget can you invest in the channel.
There's a perception that social media is free, said Cohen. While that may be true for a lot of the tools that you use, it takes an investment of effort to get the most out of the channel as possible.