Where once passers-by strolled through busy shopping streets, it is now quiet. Shops are closed or have very limited opening hours. It's lockdown.
In order to continue to cover costs and, in the best case scenario, even make a profit, it makes sense to digitize retail distribution channels and move them to a world where everyone can continue to move freely - the Internet and, above all, social media.
60% of the German population can already be found there. And the trend is rising. As if that wasn't enough to convince you to integrate social media into your marketing strategy, social media is also increasingly being used to search for information. In fact, you could almost say that if you're not on social media, you don't exist.
This is not at all to say that sales should be moved entirely from the offline to the online world - the analogue retail buying experience is still a major concern for customers, which is mainly reflected by the increasing need for regionality, sustainability and deceleration. However, viral social media marketing with customer comments and recommendations offers a great way to build and reinforce your store's image, as well as act in a supportive manner.
Much more than ever, it is important to stay in the memory of regular retail customers and to inspire them with innovative sales ideas.
However, in order to take full advantage of the potential of social media marketing, don't just guess in the dark. First answer the following questions:
- On which platforms do I reach my target group?
- Which content offers my target group real added value?
- At what times is my target group active on social networks?
- Do I even have enough human resources to continuously supply the channels with content rich in content?
Only when these questions have been answered and a strategy has been worked out can social media be used promisingly.
The first step is to determine the target group.
This is where the creation of buyer personas comes into play. Because in order to ideally align communication, it helps to know who exactly is in front of you and whom you want to address.
Give your ideal customers a face and bring them to life.
Give them character traits and needs. This is the only way to find out what really moves your target group and what they want from you as a regional retailer. The persona's personal customer journey also plays a role here.
In summary, a Buyer Persona consists of:
- Quote / Life motto
- Character, behavior and attitudes
- Pain Points: What is troubling the persona? What are their current challenges?
- Goals: What does the persona want to achieve? What goals does she have? This includes both the goals directly related to your retail business and the persona's life itself.
In order to be able to produce targeted content and implement measures, it is important that you always keep in mind what is to be achieved in the first place.
With the goals, in the first instance, not the direct KPI's are meant, but first the overarching goals must be determined.
As a regional retailer, what do you want to achieve with social media activity?
- Increase awareness?
- Improve image?
- Increase turnover and sales?
Only then can you go into detail and define individual performance goals specifically for the social media channels.
In order to inspire your (potential) customers, you should define in advance exactly which formats are to be created.
However, make sure here that formats are selected whose continuous implementation is realistic and really adds value.
Are sufficient personnel resources available for their implementation?
In your position as a retailer, you should also consider the separate shopping functions of various channels, such as social commerce on Instagram.
- Instagram Shopping: At Instagrem you have the possibility to store your entire product catalog and to mark the products in posts. If the user is interested, just one tap will take him to the Instagram product page for more information and from there to your company website or online shop.
- Instagram Shop: The Instagram Shop is located in the "Discover" area and is similar to a shopping mall. There, the user gets various products suggested by retailers that he or she already follows or that are rated as suitable based on his or her behavior and interests. To complete the purchase, the user is also linked to the operator's website.
- Facebook Shop: Soon, both Facebook and Instagram apps will also allow direct sales with integrated checkout. "Shops" with a proper backend will be made available, through which the products can also be managed. Currently, integrated checkout is only available in the US.
- Linking with Shopify app (Facebook Live Chat): If you already have an existing shop and it is based on Shopify, there is also the possibility to stay in touch with customers, via a chat function in Messenger.
- Promotions: Not to be forgotten are also the most diverse sales-promoting measures that can be carried out via social media. For example, customers can be recruited via discount codes and raffles, and users can be inspired via inspiring image or video posts (e.g. "Shop-the-Look").
People like stories. It's not without reason that people nowadays talk about "infotainment" when it comes to attractively presented information in social media. Dry information is simply no longer attractive, does not attract attention and bores the user. Well-told stories, on the other hand, present even complex topics in a simplified way and subliminally promote their purchase. Especially in a time of massive information overload and the constant penetration of advertising messages, it is important to stand out from the crowd by being different, exciting and entertaining.
To develop an emotional but also authentic storytelling in marketing, you must not disregard the values of your company. Therefore, make clear in advance what core messages you want to tell, what characterises your company and what visions you are pursuing. Make sure, however, that you don't tell the story too much from a first-person perspective - the target group must be able to identify with your company and your products. Therefore, put yourself in the shoes of your previously developed personas and focus on their challenges.
Let's assume that the account is now fully set up.
What is still missing and crucial for success is the visibility and reach of your profile, so that as many (potential) customers as possible become aware of you and follow your content. Become visible in the environment of the target group and connect with (potential) customers. Use hashtags to gain awareness in relevant areas.
To prove continuity and reliability, a constant activity and publication of content is also necessary. Nevertheless, the principle applies: class instead of mass.
- Defining the appropriate strategy, taking into account their target audience(s).
- Definition of relevant KPIs: What do you want to achieve? How do you measure your success?
- Define social media channels and set up complete profiles.
- Don't forget the legal aspects: Even on social media, you are subject to imprint and data protection laws. Therefore, don't forget to include a social media related part in the legal texts on your company website and link it accordingly on your social media channels.
- Plan frequency of posts.
- Create content, but - Keep it short and simple: however, keep in mind that the human attention span averages 8 seconds and social media in particular is often consumed on the side. Therefore, keep it short and bait the users with exciting content that makes them want more.
Digitization and the use of social media are becoming increasingly important, especially in retail, because they represent an effective sales alternative not only during the lockdown.
In the future, sales will continue to grow in terms of digitalization - including retail.
Therefore, it is advisable to gather initial digital experience with the integration of social media into the sales strategy and to optimally prepare for the future.
- Together with you, we develop a target group-specific social media strategy for your company based on a comprehensive market and competition analysis as well as your desired target group.
- We are also happy to support you in the subsequent professional implementation, the targeted use of the channels and the subsequent measurement of the success of your social media activities.
- The planning and implementation of targeted and success-oriented ad campaigns on various channels is also one of our areas of expertise.
For holistic and successful online marketing, we are also happy to take care of the following topics: