Social media is all the rage, but is it paying off for local retailers? It can, especially when helped along by brands.
In social media, there are actually two things going on at once:
1. Consumers are talking about the things that they buy and want to buy.
2. They’re doing this while they’re moving about in their lives.
They are using their devices to record and report where they are. This combination of mobile and social is dramatically changing the shopping experience. With help from brands, the local retailer can reap significant and measurable rewards.
Brands want their retailers to “be more social” while providing them little to no help with content. It’s easy to suggest to a retailer to put up a Facebook page and join Twitter, but then what? And how can brands help?
Brands are making significant advertising and promotional investments that go right to the consumer. Smart brands are also listening to consumers. They monitor consumer responses to advertising by tracking mentions of their products on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media venues. It’s happening right there in the open.
And since social consumers are also largely mobile, they’re not just telling you that they are interested in your product, they’re telling you where they are, right at that moment. You only have to make the next easy step and inform them where they can buy close to where they are right now. It’s instant gratification on a whole new scale.
This is a great opportunity for brands and retailers to work together. If brand management can collect the local retailers’ Twitter and Facebook information and encourage them to pay at least minimal attention to their own feeds, then real magic can happen.
Retailers aren’t just hungry for content for their Facebook timelines and Twitter streams—they’re starving for it. Savvy brands can get more bang from their national advertising expenditure by feeding retailers specialized content for multiple uses, especially targeted social media content.
How can brands support local retailers’ social media campaigns? Here are some basic steps:
1. Create a social media guide for retailers that includes copy and product images that they can use to create the base content on their web sites and Facebook pages. Consider including images of people using the featured product and images that they can draw upon for future use.
2. Collect retailer data like their web, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media identities and locations. Use this information to let consumers who come directly to you to find their local retailers and follow them in the social media avenue of their choice.
3. Send the retailers regular social media “feeds” filled with short, focused content that they can use as their own. Remember: Monthly is good, weekly is great; and always reward retailers that follow through.
4. Feature the social media successes of other retailers and pass on tips that work.
What you feed to retailers can be very simple. “We’ve got the all new Product X in stock!” “Seen Product Y on ‘The Office’? We’ve got it. Come and get it.” Useful, practical content is highly effective: “Grass stains? Product Z obliterates them. I tried it and love it.”
Featured coupons, specials, and discounts through social media can give retailers an immediate bump in sales. It’s exciting and effective, but it takes a steady stream of content. Retailers may not have or take the time to create their own content, so if you supply it to them, they’re more likely to regularly feature your products.
Here’s the key thing that brands need to impress on retailers: word of mouth has always been powerful, but in the new social world, word of mouth travels at the speed of light. Just one delighted consumer can set off a wave of positive impressions. And sales.
That’s a social “win-win.”