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Using social media to grow your brand: top tips from retail experts

 

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It’s near impossible to be in retail these days and not be on social media. Social platforms offer  great benefits—like the ability to create a community and connect with your customers—but the number of platforms (each with their own constantly shifting goal posts and algorithms) means it can be hard to keep up.

Retailbiz spoke to five very different retailers about their approach to social media and asked two questions: How important is social media to your store’s strategy and what are your top tips?

Natasha Ritz, Lush Handmade Cosmetics brand communications manager

How important is social media to Lush’s strategy?

Social media is a really important medium for telling our story and communicating with our customers. Social adds a lot of value to the overall marketing mix. To serve our customers as best as possible, we need to be where our customers are—coming to them rather than making them come to us. Social media channels provide amazing opportunities to chat daily to our customers, share stories and learn about each other.

We tailor our content for each of our channels to engage our customers through the style of media they like to see. Each channel provides a very different customer experience, and the way the audience engages on each channel is different.

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People may have three or four different online personas and change their behaviour depending on what channel they are on at the time. We have to ensure we can communicate on each of those levels and truly understand what our customers want and how they like to communicate with us.

What are your top tips?

The best tip I can give is to test and learn… The analytics offer amazing feedback on engagement and the reach of each piece of content you put out. Try videos, images, short copy, long copy—basically try it all, because there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to social media; it’s a space to communicate daily with your customers in a very genuine and real-time way.

It’s also best to keep in mind that social media shouldn’t be seen as only a measure on whether a customer converts into a sale. Social media is a chance to share a brand story or message, and engage every single day with people who may just enjoy the lifestyle of your brand.

This type of interaction is what will develop and build your brand’s online presence, which will in turn help attract other people to join in the conversation. It’s also an opportunity to ask questions and get to understand gaps in your offering or in the market by getting feedback. Further to this, brands should consider how their content will add real value to people’s lives, as that’s what will enhance their perception of the brand.

social media tipsStephen Jones and Carlinea Williamson, House of Home CEOs

How important is social media to House of Home’s strategy?

Stephen: It’s incredibly important as a medium to promote your brand and equally as difficult to get transactions from your social media. Herein lies the challenge.

What are your top tips?

Stephen Jones: Go where your customers are. If they aren’t on Instagram, then don’t bother with Instagram.

Whatever you choose be consistent with your brand and messaging. If you are a luxury goods provider, ensure all fonts and imagery support your ‘luxury’ positioning.

Don’t buy audiences. Be patient and let the organic growth of your tribe take shape over time. If you have a great product/service—consumers will find it. Back yourself and your idea.

Carlinea Williamson: Don’t feel like you have to be on every platform—think about your people and where they are and just go there. It’s so important to be authentic. We really think strategically about the different platforms and what are the right messages for putting on each one. Content that works well on Facebook might not be right for Pinterest and vice versa.

Biome

Tracey Bailey, Biome Eco Stores founder

How important is social media to Biome’s strategy?

Social media is critical to putting ourselves in front of our current and potential customers as often as possible. I cannot imagine that you could run a successful business today without using social media effectively.

What are your top tips?

My top tip is to maintain your own database of customers outside of social media. Remember that you do not own your Facebook or Instagram profile and followers and there is a risk they will disappear for a reason beyond your control.

And secondly, actively monitor and participate in your social media every day. It is a demanding creature that responds very well to daily grooming!

social media tipsAllison Jones, Melt Bake & Party founder

How important is social media to Melt’s strategy?

Social media has played an important part in Melt’s launch, but it is only one part of our sales and marketing strategy, which also includes events, email marketing and collaborations. Social media can be really valuable if it’s done well.

What are your top tips?

My top tips for retailers would be:

1. Generate your own content as much as possible (your suppliers might give you cute styled photos but they’ll be on everyone else’s feed too).

2. Only post once or twice a day.

3. Resist making every post a sales pitch. Try to mix in stories about yourself, your customers and your interests to keep your audience engaged.

 

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