Social Media: Best Practices for Retailers to Take Advantage of a $1 Trillion Opportunity
The Value of Social Media
Social media, an industry that the McKinsey Global Institute predicts can add $900 billion to $1.3 trillion in revenue across four commercial sectors, provides an amazing opportunity for retailers to engage and transact with the 1.5 billion individuals using social media globally. This value has grown as the potential social marketing opportunities have evolved through three distinct waves: listening, publishing, and most recently, activating. For an in-depth explanation of the three waves, head over to this post on the 3 Waves of Social Marketing.
Social Activation: Beyond Building a Fan Base
The most recent wave of social marketing builds on the previous two waves rather than replacing them. Successful companies still need to monitor fans’ conversations on social channels and publish content to create value for those fans. However, building a fan following is no longer enough; an eMarketer white paper reported that only 20% of marketers believed social media produced quantifiable results last year. As more consumers flock to social networks and more companies find success drawing these consumers as fans, brands need to focus on the next step: activating their social networks.
What is Social Activation?
Social activation requires a meaningful exchange of value between individuals and brands on social media. This exchange can happen across the continuum of social interactions, from winning a new fan or follower, to engaging them in a meaningful exchange, to driving that fan through a social commerce funnel or leading them to complete social sharing. All of these interactions occur within the Discovery-Interaction-Transaction-Endorsement (DITE) framework, which you can read more about here.
How Can Brands Activate Their Fans?
To successfully engage with fans on social media, retailers need to follow these best practices to give fans what they want, where and how they want it:
- Follow the DITE fan engagement framework
- Conduct multiple, frequently promoted campaigns
- Engage fans across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, email, and other social networks
- Offer social media exclusives that fans won’t find elsewhere
- Enable social endorsement
Each of these best practices stands strongly on its own, but for maximum effect, the best practices should be used synergistically to create an amazing value proposition that fans can’t resist.
Activating Fans on Facebook
Facebook may be the largest social network, but it can also be the hardest for businesses to use effectively. Facebook fans want to engage with brands on their own ground — in the newsfeed — and according to a recent Lithium survey, 65% of fans connect with brands for games, contests, and promotions rather than standard ecommerce listings. To create value for both fans and brands, companies should follow fan desires while also creating value for themselves through activities such as:
Polls create value for companies by collecting real-time customer insight across a variety of topics, while they create value for customers by allowing participating fans to give meaningful feedback. Companies can create more value for customers by publicly incorporating poll results into product or service development.
- Email collection and coupons
Email collection creates value for companies by providing sales leads. Companies can create value for customers by offering something like a free coupon or digital download in exchange for an email and basic customer information.
- Social Commerce
Social commerce creates value for companies by creating direct ROI and closing the social loop, allowing for easy tracking of metrics. Companies can create value for fans by offering them exclusive flash deals and discounts for engaging in social commerce.
- Social Sharing
Mike Lazerow of Buddy Media stated that 90% of purchasing decisions are influenced by social. Social sharing benefits fans, who rely on their friends to make purchasing decisions, and companies, who can experience organic sales growth through customer referrals.
This post provides advice and a preliminary framework to help retailers engage with fans on social media. However, in order to experience success like Lady Antebellum, who sold out an exclusive Facebook offer in just 15 minutes, you need more information on how to implement the best practices listed above, as well as learning about more best practices and tools to use to enhance your brand’s social media presence.
Image 3: This deal sold out in 15 minutes through targeting an exclusive offer at fans in the newsfeed
For more success stories and a comprehensive guide on how to benefit from social media, download the latest Moontoast white paper, 6 Best Practices to Get the Most from your Facebook Presence.
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