Social media usage is continuing to grow at record paces, with 75% of all internet users now using social media.  Just as quickly, the social media landscape is constantly being transformed as new social apps and platforms are introduced into the social sphere.  For retailers, social media channels can bring huge opportunities to target consumers in unique and personalized ways. In fact, research indicates that 46% of shoppers rely on social media when making a purchase.

Here’s a look at important statistics on social media usage and 5 strategies that are adding up to big wins for retailers this year.

Social Media by the Numbers

Every retailer is on social media in one way or another, whether you have an active strategy in place or not.  Consumers are constantly talking about brands on social platforms, recommending products, asking where to buy something, or posting a complaint.  Take a look at these statistics reported in an infographic by VoucherBin.

  • 59% of marketers have claimed using social media for more than 6 hours each week
  • Every month, Google+ receives 48% more visits than Facebook (1.2 Billion on Google+ compared to 809 Million for Facebook)
  • Posts containing photos are most popular among brand managers at 75%
  • 4 out of 5 SMBs have reported using social media for promoting their business with 3 of them gaining new customers
  • More than 50% of event organizers use social media to promote their business
  • 80% of consumers say that their purchases are at least somewhat influenced by user generated content
  • 58% of consumers believe they should be rewarded for talking positively about a brand on social media
  • Only 30% of consumers receive answers to their queries posted on a company’s Facebook page
  • 71% of tweets are ignored and only 23% generate a reply
social media marketing

One: Integrate Video Marketing  into Social Channels

The use of video in retail marketing has seen a substantial rise this year.  At Social Media Marketing World, an event held earlier this year in San Diego, video content was the hot topic among social media marketers.  Statistics indicate that 73% of marketers are increasing their use of video, 21% claim it’s the most important form of content marketing, and 58% want to improve their knowledge of YouTube.

Millennials have also proven that they prefer to research products through YouTube as compared to more traditional sources.  Video is a must-have for retailers who want to sell to the approximately 80 million millennials.

Live streaming is also gaining huge momentum this year, with 50% of marketers planning to use live video and 14% of marketers who are already using live video. Retailers can use live streaming on platforms such as YouTube live, Facebook live, Periscope and Snapchat to feature live Q&As, event coverage, and inventory showcases.

Google introduced shoppable ads last year, and several retailers such as Sephora are finding huge success with this form of video content. Sephora’s online video strategies are helping to drive sales, with the retailer reporting an 80% lift in consideration and a 54% lift in ad recall as a result of the pop-up ads that take viewers from video to featured product pages.

Two: Retailers Are Adding More Social eCommerce Features to their Strategies

Social media is becoming an increasingly important resource for online shopping. Social platforms are introducing new features to make it easier for consumers to complete purchases directly from social sites.

Social eCommerce Strategy

Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter all currently offer in-channel purchasing options.  Pinterest offers Rich Pins to show consumers real-time pricing and product availability. Facebook app UltraCart’s online Facebook store transforms your Facebook page into an actual online retail site with buy links from specific products that can then be loaded directly into a shopping cart. Shopping carts such as Shopify, Bigcommerce, and Magento also have integrations for Pinterest, and Shopify offers a Facebook store for retailers.

Three: Think Mobile-First: Combine the Power of Social with Mobile

According to Mobile Marketing Watch, “Everyone from Boomers to Gen-Y and even Gen-X are all now using the combinations of mobile technology and social media. In 2015, 98% of Fortune-500 companies used some form of social media to engage with customers. What’s more, the number of global mobile phone users is expected to pass the five billion mark by 2019.”  Additionally, for those retailers who hope to thrive with the Millennials and Gen-Z, social marketing must be integrated with mobile.

social video marketing

The majority of consumers now use mobile devices as their primary access point to social media. Marketers are planning accordingly and the social advertising market is projected to hit $11 billion by 2017.

Statistics indicate that:

  • 2x more sharing occurs on mobile vs desktop
  • 71% of consumers use social media from mobile
  • 76% of Twitter users access from mobile
  • 1.1 billion Facebook users are on mobile

To drive social marketing success among mobile users, it’s imperative that the content you create is posted on mobile-friendly pages and is easily shareable from a mobile device. Mobile is a visual medium so be sure you are sharing plenty of video and photos.

Mobile users also frequently check social media to find suggestions for nearby businesses. Optimize your social presence so consumers can quickly find you and information such as your business location, hours of service, price range and contact information.

Four: Social Media Influencer Marketing Is Gaining Momentum

More retailers are utilizing influencer marketing as part of their social media strategies.  Influencers are people who are active on social media and blogs, making them ideal candidates to become a brand advocate.

Consumers trust recommendations and reviews from a third party more often than the brand itself.  This behavior has encouraged more brands to invest in influencer marketing.  When influencers align themselves with your brand they bring their entire network of social followers, can drive additional traffic to your website and social networks, and can outright drive more sales through their recommendations.

While many industries use influencer marketing as more of a top-of-the-funnel strategy, this is not the case in retail.  Retailers use social influence throughout the path to purchase, as discussed in an eMarketer report, “Influencers in US Retail: The YouTube Stars, Reviewers and Superfans Consumers Trust.”

According to the report, “Companies such as Target, Old Navy, Lord and Taylor, Aéropostale and Dick’s Sporting Goods have paid these big stars to create content: back-to-school look books, music videos, Vines documenting the buildup to a store visit, Instagram posts with 50 celebrities wearing the same dress, or tweets about the arrival of a new collection.”

social media influencer marketing

Five: Add Social Experiences to Your Physical Locations

Connecting social media experiences to brick-and-mortar locations offers a great way to further engage social followers.  Social media should be seen as an extension of the physical location versus just an online experience. However, many retailers are missing out on these opportunities to enhance brand loyalty and provide a more interactive experience for customers.  Social media company Ignite suggests the following, “Adding social experiences in-store, such as photo booths, video tutorials at the point of purchase, Influencer recommended product placement/signage, UGC in-store, etc. are valuable opportunities to add validity to your brand and products.”

Some great examples of brands doing this include Fashion retailer Marc Jacobs.  Customers who came into a store location were rewarded with free gifts, such as jewelry, perfume, and accessories, if they sent a tweet or posted on Instagram.  The campaign resulted in over 13,500 Tweets and 4,300 photos on Instagram. (source)

Social media is evolving and offers exciting new opportunities to take advantage if the social landscape.  With the introduction of new technologies, platforms, and innovative trends, social media should be a core aspect of every retailer’s business.

To learn more great tips and strategies on how to adapt to today’s omnichannel consumer expectations, download our free Omnichannel Marketing Success Kit.

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