Jelly’s Retail Series – Part 3: Social Media

December 4, 2015

So you’re a retailer on social media, but how do you make sure you’re doing it right?

Social media is about so much more than posting your favourite quote, tweeting how many times you brush your teeth, or sharing a photo of your meal. Today, it’s about information. It’s no secret that the social media timeline is a person’s number one source of news and information. If you aren’t part of that timeline, a potential customer is already looking somewhere else.

There’s an old saying saying that your website is like your living room. I would argue that the 2015 version of that adage is that your online presence is like your living room. It’s your storefront online, the first thing customers will see. If you had guests coming over, you’d vacuum and tidy up your living room, right? Think of your social media profiles as your living room; make sure they’re tidy before people come visit!

1. Give them ALL the information.

Remember back in the day when people wanted to get information about you, they would… phone you? They’d call to get your address, find out your business hours, ask if you have any sales, or if you had something in stock.

People certainly use their phones more today, but for everything except making a phone call! Your audience expects basic information on your social media profile. If it’s not there, you’ve already created a barrier and they may either shop your competition or be less happy about their experience with you – and you haven’t even met them yet.

2. Make sure your customers know what to expect.

Photos would be great: nice photos. Invest time and money in taking photos of your products. Remember that this is the first impression you’re making; if it’s ugly, customers are moving on.

Don’t focus on solely pushing your products. Celebrate your team, your diversity, and the other strengths that make your brand different than everybody else. The 80/20 rule applies here; spend 20% of your time talking about you, and the other 80% talking about everything but! Your customers want to know that you’re an expert; your social media page is a great way to show them that. Share industry trends (and your opinion on them), share content that builds trust, hits an emotional chord, and most importantly – share information that makes them happy to shop with you.

Are the words you use on social media the same you use in store? This is obviously beyond just names of products, features, and benefits. Your audience should know your brand voice and what to expect when they come visit you. Are you informal and fun? Straight-shooting and serious? Are they “guests” “clients” or “customers” – this matters! Imagine how much more at ease your customers (guests or clients) would be if they came to you knowing exactly what to expect. You’ll earn their trust quicker and you’ll create loyal brand evangelists.

3. Make sure you’re listening!

If a tree falls in a forest but nobody is around to hear is, does it still make a sound? If somebody is talking about you online but you’re not listening, do others still hear it? YES! Reviews are massively important and your customers are using social media as a platform for their on-the-fly assessment of you. We all know the value of word-of-mouth; we know that one of the first things a potential customer does is look up reviews of your business. If customers are expressing their opinion of you, positive or negative, engage with them. Thank them if it’s good, ask questions & try to resolve if it’s not. The bottom line is don’t ignore them. When you ignore customers, potential customers see that and makes them feel like you’d ignore them too.

Are your customers tweeting about you? Where are they tweeting from? If you’re listening on social media, you may get to interact with a customer before they even walk through your doors. Or perhaps you’ll get them while they’re inside your store. Or maybe, just maybe, they’ll tweet about you after leaving your store and you can thank them! You can ask them about their experience, and you can even tell them to… come back again! It’s like you get to talk to them, maintain a relationship… you know, be human!

The best part about reviews and positive messages – they’re success stories! Testimonials are a great way to build credibility and trust among your customers. If customers and potential customers see that you’re trusted by others, it will be much easier to gain their trust too.

4. How are you measuring success?

We’ve all been asking and we’ve all heard various responses to “What is the ROI of social media?” Truth be told, there is no right answer. Some things in life can’t be measured numerically but we know that they contribute.

Yes, we can get a specific number for the ROI of a particular campaign or a social media ad, but so many parts of social media play a role in overall success. It can’t be measured all the time, but believe me – it’s there. I will remind you of Gary Vaynerchuk’s response to the question, “What’s the ROI of Social Media?” His answer; “What’s the ROI of your Mom?”

Don’t hide behind ROI – there are lots of KPIs that will help you determine whether or not your efforts on social media are a good investment of your time. Engagement and growth in following will help you determine types of content people like, keeping an eye on integration will help you evaluate who’s coming to you from social, and ultimately a flourishing social media channel with lots of activity is a good indication that your audience likes what they see.

You cannot put a dollar amount on relationship building. Small acts are an investment into a long, fruitful, and happy relationship. Social media IS relationship building. Being present, being engaging, and being useful are ways to build loyal & trusting customers.

Does this mean you should be careless in what you post without worrying about any metrics? No. It means there’s great value in doing it right, there’s value in listening to your customers, and there’s value in being present. As you would any business decision, make your decisions using data – just use the right data.