Retail has gone through massive changes in recent times. With the digital shift looking permanent, social media marketing has become an essential component of any marketer’s toolkit. Whether your shoppers are in your brick-and-mortar store or scrolling online on your website, your marketing needs to meet their expectations and standards. Which makes social media marketing even more central to your marketing strategy.
For ecommerce retail stores, social media marketing provides the opportunity for customers to find you and shop with you immediately. For retail brands that prefer their physical stores, social media marketing helps imprint your brand name in your prospective customer’s mind. Performance-driven social media strategies will drive foot traffic to your stores and improve brand recognition among your target market.
The value of social media cannot be ignored. It is a powerful platform to advertise your business and grow your sales. 51% of consumers in a survey trust social media platforms for brand information. Overwhelmingly, the leading source for trusted brand information is friends and family (93%). Friends and family connect over social media, multiplying the effect of social media manifold. Social media influence is only set to grow in the future.
What is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing is the use of social media platforms and social networks to market products and services. Social media marketing can be paid for, or organic and therein lies its greatest advantage. Social media is a dynamic technology that provides novel ideas to brands looking to engage with existing customers and attract new ones.
Social media allows you to build your brand name within your target market and promote your desired culture, mission, or tone. Social media platforms also provide marketers with detailed analytics that can help them track the success of their efforts.
The organic way to build a social media following and a loyal community is a strategy for the long term. But it is anything but fickle as it is hard work to achieve and maintain a sizable following. You make regular free posts that bring you to your target audience’s feed, or your followers or customers share your profile.
The value of paid ads on social media recently overtook paid search, exceeding $137 billion. It is the fastest-growing form of marketing today because it connects you with your target market right away. The major social media platforms are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and Snapchat.
What is the gap between Traditional Marketing and Social Media Marketing?
Since social media came into the fray, and the fortunes of retailers have noticeably changed, there has always been the question of how traditional marketing is still relevant.
Both media have the same goals: to draw in customers and increase brand awareness. Traditional marketing includes TV, print media, radio, and billboards. Their need and effectiveness are undeniable, despite the rise of social media.
Traditional advertising does not engage with the customer in the wondrous ways of social media. Social media allows communication to and from all involved parties. Brand to the customer, customer to the brand, and even customer to customer. The average conversion rate for print media is 1.7%. What is the average conversion rate for eCommerce sites? 2.63%. The average conversion rate across Facebook Ads is 9.21%.
Social media marketing isn’t just more effective than traditional media but also other competitive digital marketing media. It easily trumps any medium of marketing that was deployed before the advent of the internet in the following ways:
- Social media is faster and more economical. Making it a convenient option.
- Anyone can make an account on social media and start advertising, there is no need to contact professionals.
- Social media marketing success is measurable. You know exactly how effective your ad was by measuring the click rate.
- It is easier to edit social media communication or messages, almost instantaneous in fact. In case you make a mistake or want to revise your strategy.
- Social media platforms allow you to market your ads to your exact target market. You can filter them according to age, gender, location, interests, etc.
Why should you focus on Social Media Marketing?
Social media is a visual space that is incredibly influential. Digital marketing on social media is a phenomenal way to reach your customers. 90% of marketers claim that social media marketing has been profitable for them.
There is an urgent need to direct your marketing arsenal toward social media platforms because almost 56% (4.48 billion) of the world’s population is on social media. Even if global domination is not your primary aim, social media maximizes your efforts and magnifies your potential exponentially.
The reasons social media marketing is a force to reckon with are:
- Social media usage is widespread, but that does not limit its versatility. It can attract customers, or the media, other stakeholders, bloggers, and even employees.
- It is a free channel for those who have the patience to build an organic following.
- It adds the human element to the brand as it allows you to actively participate in the market and interact with your customers.
- The visual nature of social networks allows you to improve brand awareness while building visual identity.
- You can use social media platforms to retain customers and amplify the entire customer experience. Social media can be critical at the beginning of the conversion funnel and also at the end. It helps build long-lasting relationships.
- Social media provides a deep understanding of your target market and its pain points. This means you can create a marketing strategy and a product that suits your customers’ needs exactly.
The Social Media Marketing Ladder: The first 5 important Steps you need to know to level up your Retail Brand
Now that we’re clear that social media marketing is absolutely essential for any brand serious about growth, here are 5 tips to help you get there:
Know your product and focus on your target Market
Use analytics that are offered by your social media platform of choice to discover what your target audience responds to. Analytics can be precious and help drive measurable sales. You can tell if your product answers your customers’ pain points and if your social media ads or posts are having the desired effect. Instagram analytics, especially, are quite detailed.
As a customer service tool, social media requires you to have a customer service team that is responsive to a VoIP phone number and is knowledgeable about your products and services.
Dominate every Social Media Sites for wider reach
Sticking to a single social platform isn’t an intelligent move. You cannot afford to miss out on the rest of them. For retailers, Facebook and Instagram are great for social selling but other platforms have some potential too.
Expand your social presence across multiple platforms and reap the individual benefits of all. Seeing that each platform is unique in its strengths, if you’re going the organic way, you have nothing to lose by building a following on more than one social network.
Follow the trend and engage with your audience
Engage with your customers’ needs more than one post a day. You can link your website or blog on your social media pages and use those to drive customer engagement. If you’re a brand focused on customer care and would like customers to note your brilliant contact center, you could write a blog on a contact center best practice that you feel all your peers should follow.
Keep an eye out for the latest trends on social media. Your customers’ discerning eye makes them more socially aware than they get credit for. You need to keep experimenting with your social media outreach plan and keep it dynamic.
Your marketing materials should have a unique mark from other competitors
Make sure you’re following trends, not copying your competitor’s moves on social media. Your marketing strategy needs to be unique and representative of your brand. Ensure all your posts, images, videos, blogs stand out as your own creation. Your creative flair needs to be evident, and it should show online and match your offline marketing material like brochures, physical packaging, stickers, and business cards.
Get in touch with an influencer
Influencer marketing is game-changing. It is a relatively new concept, but it isn’t one that will tire out anytime soon. Especially for retail brands, influencers can play a critical role in attracting customers. Your audience trusts them and their recommendations.
Suppose, you are a MagicJack competitor and want customers to know about alternatives to MagicJack, find an influencer who can create a video about it. It will be far more effective than you speaking about a competitor. Brand advocates and referrals save money and help maximize your profits using social capital.
Conclusion: Social Media Marketing basics are the foundation to strategic brand planning
As long as you understand that social media marketing aims to boost engagement and then sales, you are on the right track. Use your social media pages to create a brand identity that customers want to be associated with. Your organic efforts will amplify your paid ads. Ideally, you should combine paid and organic social media marketing to make the best of both.
Your social media presence exists to attract customers and also to ensure that your existing customers have an exceptional customer experience. Retailers have the most to gain from social media because the opportunities are truly limitless.