I spent much of Christmas tweeting and re-tweeting posts on micro-blogging platform Twitter in the hopes of winning a Sony Tablet or iPhone (none of which came my way, in any case!) But yes, the use of social media was extraordinary!! What was more interesting was the fact that retailers did not ‘PUSH’ their products by ‘Selling’. To the contrary, they ‘PULLED’ a huge audience by ‘NOT selling’ but ‘engaging‘ the vibrant online buyer community!! Apparently, research has also proved that products recommended by friends/acquaintances on social networks fare better than those that aren’t!
There is no denying it. Social media is here to stay. So all you lovely entrepreneurs and independent retailers, please do consider these points in your strategy:
1) Back to basics – Integrate your social media channels to speak in one voice. It should brandish your USP (unique selling proposition) that can be as simple as ‘hand-made jewellery’ or as exotic as ‘Himalayan rocks’!
2) ‘Engage’ and ‘brainstorm’– As a customer myself, I would be annoyed if a retailer used social media to ONLY Sell. Simple community engagement initiatives like seeking feedback/opinion using Polls and posting pictures of not just celebrities but even the common man endorsing their brand make you endearing!
‘Brainstorm’ with your audience – they are a storehouse of ideas! For example, hold a Twitter contest to solicit brand TAGLINES, thereby ‘engaging’ customers with more than a mundane sales pitch.
3) ‘Extra’s – Can you use social media to offer that ‘little something extra’? For eg., a Facebook offer of 20% discount or ‘Cash on Delivery‘ could be a deal breaker.
4) Financial and non-financial targets – Let’s face it. You are not running a charity. Ensure to set targets, eg, 500 new Twitter followers.
5) Don’t stop –Most retailers/small scale entrepreneurs do not have the bandwidth to persist with social media initiatives. But do keep the buzz going. Cross-posting a Blog post a week could do the trick.
Social Media strategy is not to ‘sell’ but to ‘Engage’. Speak the voice of the customer, and they will look after you!