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BFS Capital Blog

Social Media Tips for Retail Businesses

June 18, 2016

Social media for businesses is more than seeing how many likes or followers you can get. It’s about joining quality conversations within relevant online communities.

As a retail business owner, it’s important for you to understand what needs to be done behind the scenes of your social media efforts and when you’re face-to-face with consumers. Here are a few social media tips for your retail business.

First things first, you need to take a look at your business from a bird’s eye view. What is your retail store selling? Who are you selling to? What is the need for your product or service? Once you figure out the answers to these questions, you ask, how are we already reaching customers and what other ways do we want to communicate with them? You’ll also need to determine how you’re going to quantify and measure the success of your social media marketing initiatives. If possible, try to focus on finding a direct link between conversations and key performance indicators like traffic, leads and sales, rather than just likes and follows.

When your retail store and products are being talked about online (because it will happen), listen to what people are saying. Even if bad things are being said about you or your business, online communities are your best tool to identify the strengths and weaknesses that are important to current and potential customers. Many business owners might not realize the actual benefit of online discussions surrounding their company. This is free insight into the minds of your customers. They are telling you what they like and what they don’t like. It’s up to you to pay attention to what they’re saying. Monitor social mentions of your business and listen to what consumers are saying about products and retailers within your market, in general.

One of the top factors in the consumer’s decision and purchase process is a shopper’s experience. Take the time to listen to your customers. If you see that they have complaints about a particular product or service, send them a personal response letting them know that you are working to resolve the issue. Integrate your responses with existing channels and utilize the most appropriate channel for execution. For example, Twitter and Facebook users are people who tend to expect immediate results. They update in real time and want updates in real time.

While social platforms that contain dashboards are great monitoring and organizing tools, you want to make sure you decentralize your interactions. Engage with consumers directly, rather than always “broadcasting” generic posts to the public. Be sure that your team is able to communicate with others in an acceptable way. Language is important and so is customization. Learn what your customers are upset about and what their preferences are and cater to their needs as much as you can.

Running successful digital marketing campaigns is not just about shoving product in people’s faces via social media or other digital channels. It’s about providing information that fills a need and engaging with your consumers. Stay up-to-date on what’s happening in the world and, more specifically, in your market and field. You want to give customers a reason to follow and engage with you on social media. Providing them with relevant, useful information can be a great way to gain and maintain a solid customer base.

Measure ROI
A lot of times, social media doesn’t directly equal revenue. This makes it difficult for stakeholders to understand the value of social media efforts. If you link social with the organizational and department goals, you may be able to tie it to the big picture. You can track likes, follows, mentions, etc., but dig deeper than just that. Measure every social action, traffic from social media sites and track on-site conversions. Identify how many customer service interactions actually improve relationships or solve issues.

As a business owner, it’s important for you to stay informed on the latest technology trends affecting the retail industry. Embracing social media for your retail business allows you to get a better understanding of what your customers and market want and need. It’s about listening, engaging, personalizing and educating your followers. Determine what social media tools best fit your business goals and make the investment to join the online conversation.