Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry


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Today’s consumers are increasingly turning to social media to find the information that influence their purchasing decisions, as well as share their own retail experiences with others. From marketing and sales to customer service, the entire retail experience is going digital, and the success of your retail brand hinges on how you build your own presence and engage in the social space. What are some ways you can adapt as the needs of your brand and your customers change and evolve? Are you listening and engaging in social media conversations around your brand?

Whether you are just getting started in the social space or have an existing social media strategy that’s ready for the next level, this retail industry-specific eBook, Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry, will answer your questions, get you thinking and inspire you for the future.

Published in: Technology, Business

Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry

  1. 1. RETAIL INDUSTRY EBOOK / MARCH 2012 / / 1 888 6radianCopyright © 2012 - Radian6
  2. 2. RETAIL INDUSTRY EBOOK / MARCH 2012 Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry Retail Industry eBook: Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry RETAIL INTRO CHAPTER 1: What Is Social Media? CHAPTER 2: How Do I Get Started In Social Media? CHAPTER 3: How Do I Train My Staff for Social Media? CHAPTER 4: What Does A Social Media Monitoring Platform Do? CHAPTER 5: How Do I Start Listening? CHAPTER 6: How Do I Start Engaging? CHAPTER 7: How Do I Start to Measure, Analyze & Report? CHAPTER 8: What Are The Key Social Media Opportunities For Retailers? WHITE PAPER: How Retailers Can Use Social Media Monitoring to Track Industry Conversations CASE STUDY: GNC: Building Healthier Online 1 888 6RADIAN (1 888 672-3426) Copyright © 2012 - Radian6 [2]
  3. 3. RETAIL INDUSTRY EBOOK / MARCH 2012 Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry Retail Industry eBook Hi Radian6 shoppers, thanks for stopping by. Hopefully, you’ve brought your wish lists for what you want to take away from today’s visit. We have some great content that just arrived in store, so grab your carts as we take you through the aisles of our Retail Industry eBook. Here are some of the things you’ll learn: • How to avoid “the Three Ds” that could cost you customers, or your job. • How often you can talk about yourself without driving your customers away. • How to use social media to gain valuable competitive intel. • Four simple phrases that can get you through nearly any difficult social media situation. • Five things you should be listening for to get real business value from social media. Social media is an exciting space for retailers today. Today’s consumers are increasingly turning to their social networks to find the information that influences their purchasing decisions, as well as share their own retail experiences with others. Not only is the social web a growing resource for your customers, but with the increasing popularity of smartphones, your customers can access this information anytime, from anywhere. From marketing and sales to customer service, the entire retail experience is going digital, and the success of your retail brand hinges on how you build your own presence and engage in the social space. This is where a well-planned social media strategy comes in. Do you want to dazzle with your customer service, show appreciation for your loyal shoppers by offering exclusive discounts or event invites, or identify and turn around potential crisis situations early on? We can help you leverage social media to achieve these goals. Maybe you’re looking to get intel on your largest competitors, keep track of up-and-coming trends in the retail space, or identify and engage with rising influencers in the retail industry. Whatever your social media goals might be, we have the resources you need. Before we continue, there are a few questions we want you to keep in mind: • How are you already listening to and engaging in the social media conversations around your brand? • What is your current social media strategy? • What are some ways you can build off this strategy as the needs of your brand and your customers change and evolve? [3] 1 888 6RADIAN (1 888 672-3426) Copyright © 2012 - Radian6 [3]
  4. 4. RETAIL INDUSTRY EBOOK / MARCH 2012 Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry Whether you are just getting started in the social media space or have an existing social media presence that you want to take to the next level, this eBook will help you answer questions you might already have as well as provide additional content to get you thinking and inspire you. Before you start browsing, remember that just as your customers have their own individual needs, personalities, and style, your social media strategy will be unique to your retail brand. No two are alike. Happy shopping! [4] 1 888 6RADIAN (1 888 672-3426) Copyright © 2012 - Radian6 [4]
  5. 5. RETAIL INDUSTRY EBOOK / MARCH 2012 Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry Chapter 1 WHAT IS SOCIAL MEDIA? Where Did It Start? The use of computers in every day life has fundamentally changed how retailers and customers interact as a technologically advanced culture. In the business world we’ve seen memos transformed to email, conference calls morphed into virtual meetings and even sticky notes have gone digital. It’s no surprise that all these shifts to digital have affected the way we do business, and do our jobs. Just as the amount of information we were able to access has increased exponentially since the dawn of the Internet, our personal and professional connectivity has increased significantly since the introduction of social networking. The onset of companies using social sites for marketing and advertising, as well as client care and feedback, is what transformed social networking from a personal focused method of connecting with others into the business oriented use of Social Media - a use that can be closely tied to the concept of Word of Mouth Marketing. The social web is fundamentally changing the practice and culture of how retailers do business. It’s shifted how retailers communicate within their own walls, and how they communicate with customers. It has also given customers a voice and a platform for feedback, opinion, discussion, and collaboration that has never quite been seen before. Where Do You Start? Your retail brand may already have a social media strategy of some kind, even if it’s simply to monitor. Maybe you were prepared when your boss said it was time to get serious about social media. Perhaps you’re still waiting for that conversation to take place. Regardless of where you are, you’re probably full of questions. What do you do to tie your social media activities to your bottom line objectives? How can you make sure your social media presence is as effective as possible and helping you reach your goals? Step 1? Breathe! Let’s start or refresh your social media journey by talking about how you can get started using common social media platforms and the etiquette that goes along with it. [5] 1 888 6RADIAN (1 888 672-3426) Copyright © 2012 - Radian6 [5]
  6. 6. RETAIL INDUSTRY EBOOK / MARCH 2012 Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry Chapter 2 HOW DO I GET STARTED IN SOCIAL MEDIA? Social media now covers a variety of sites and information with new avenues being created daily. It can be a lot to take in, so before we discuss how to use these from a business perspective for a retailer, let’s spend some time making sure that you are comfortable with how to use these platforms and the etiquette that goes along with online engagement. Social Etiquette Before you start to look at the social networks, think about online etiquette. It will help you to make your experience even more successful. For starters, we probably all remember that big poster board from elementary school listing the rules for proper etiquette in the classroom: “We say please and thank you” “We use our indoor voices” “We treat others they way we would like to be treated” These were posted as reminders and were referenced whenever we fell off track. In terms of etiquette, not much changes over the course of our lives. Being polite and respectful to others is still Social Etiquette 101. Having proper etiquette on the social web means being aware of your audience, understanding how they communicate and being a valuable, welcomed and positive contributor to the community. There are several benefits to proper social etiquette and unlike kindergarten, they amount to more than simply avoiding that playmate who squished scented markers on your face. There are three main points to keep in mind to exhibit proper etiquette. They are: • Reciprocation - It’s above give and take. A good rule of thumb is to promote others more than you promote yourself, such as Chris Brogan’s 12:1 ratio. • Respect - Add value and be helpful and others will treat you with respect. People want to interact with and buy from companies that treat them with respect. • Reliability - Since social networks, for the most part, are public, always put reliability in the forefront, whether you’re an individual or a business. [6] 1 888 6RADIAN (1 888 672-3426) Copyright © 2012 - Radian6 [6]
  7. 7. RETAIL INDUSTRY EBOOK / MARCH 2012 Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry Now that you have the three points, how do you execute them? Think back to those elementary roots. • Join conversations because you’re interested in the subject matter or because you have something beneficial to add – not because you have an agenda or want to push your material and advertise your retail brand. • Saying hello when you jump online is a nice way to start your daily time online and encourage conversation. Saying goodbye at the end of your time online lets people know when you’re heading offline. No one likes to be left hanging in the middle of a conversation. If you do this consistently, your community will come to know when they can expect you to be available. • Introduce yourself and introduce others. Anytime you friend, follow or engage with people who may not know you, it is always a good idea to introduce yourself and share some of the basics like who you are and where you are from. • Say please and thank you. If you want to share someone’s content, ask politely. If someone has shared yours be sure to thank them whenever possible. Though you may not be able to respond to every comment on your blog or Facebook page, you can take a moment to respond to a few and perhaps make a general statement thanking everyone who shared your content. • If your social circle online is a large one, there are probably people in it that you don’t know as well as others or people you don’t know at all. Review your friends/ follower lists frequently. Set some time aside each week to manage your following/ follower ratio. It’s ok to step outside your comfort zone and expand your horizons when it comes to connecting. Not everyone you connect with has to be like-minded. Diversity breeds inspiration. The Three Ds Whether you are using social media for personal or professional purposes, take some time to familiarize yourself with The Three Ds. Remembering what they stand for, the examples below should help you steer clear of potentially disastrous situations. • Disclosure - Steer clear of disclosing trade secrets or intellectual property. This could cost you your job and give your competitors an unfair advantage. • Defamation - Do not make statements about someone that are false and could potentially cause economic consequences. • Discrimination - It should go without saying to not to be discriminatory. Remember, the social web is a public place so your voice is amplified. These are just a few quick tips; for more detailed and in depth looks at proper social media etiquette across platforms check out these great posts: An Insider’s Guide to Social Media Etiquette - Chris Brogan The Ultimate Social Media Etiquette Handbook - Tamera Weinberg Do we Need to Revisit our Settings for Trust and Transparency? - Valeria Maltoni [7] 1 888 6RADIAN (1 888 672-3426) Copyright © 2012 - Radian6 [7]
  8. 8. RETAIL INDUSTRY EBOOK / MARCH 2012 Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry Social Sites Once you feel comfortable with how you will be speaking on social sites, you’ll need to know a little more about the sites themselves and how to use each one. Let’s cover some of the major sites you’ll encounter and how to use them. Twitter If you’re already on Twitter, you know it’s more than just talking about what people have for breakfast. It’s more like “conference call IM.” Link sharing, conversations, personal connections that break the ice before in-person meetings, professional networking, etc. In many ways, its become the equivalent to having another phone on your desk, in a different form. If you’re just getting started on Twitter, you’re probably a bit overwhelmed and looking for a few ways to help optimize your experience. Here are a few things to keep in mind. • When setting up your profile, use your real name and a profile picture, or include the real names of the real people who are tweeting behind your retail brand’s twitter handle. It lets your followers know that there’s a real person(s) behind the profile. Build your bio the way you’d introduce yourself or your retail brand in person. • To get the ball rolling, search Twitter for people you know by entering their names and plug in topics that interest you and see who’s talking about them. As you get more followers, check out the people they’re following. That’s the most organic way to build your network. • Treat Twitter like a conversation. Start with 30 minutes, twice a day. The best way to build relationships and a community on Twitter: participate. Spend some time sitting back and listening, then join the conversation. Jump on in, say hello. LinkedIn LinkedIn is the virtualized and interactive version of that pile of business cards on your desk. True, it’s home to your online “resume,” but it’s also a mechanism to both demonstrate your expertise and share in the expertise of others, make business connections, and help connect others in your network with each other. So here’s our down-and-dirty guidebook for LinkedIn along with a handful of tips. • Use a real photo. The real you. • Share your goals more than your daily tasks. Focus on what makes you and your abilities different from the next person with your same title. • Are you a blogger by night? A speaker in your own time? Share that too! • Connect! Find connections, request them and watch your network grow. [8] 1 888 6RADIAN (1 888 672-3426) Copyright © 2012 - Radian6 [8]
  9. 9. RETAIL INDUSTRY EBOOK / MARCH 2012 Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry • Ask for recommendations from those who know your work, and display them on your profile. Offer to write recommendations for those whose work you’re familiar with. • Join the conversation! Check the LinkedIn Answers section for opportunities to lend your expertise to questions in your field. Join relevant groups and contribute with content and conversations. Facebook Often more of a personal social network than a business one, there’s no denying Facebook’s reach and popularity, and it can be a comfortable way to get acquainted with what it means to participate in social networks. • Remember: Social networks are searchable, and you just never know who might come knocking at your virtual door. Use a picture that you’d be proud to show off in public. Set privacy settings to ensure the public sees only what you want shared publicly. • You can choose who you’d like to connect to. Some people prefer to keep their connections to people they know personally. You should check in once a day or so to catch up with friend requests and peek at the “people you may know” sidebar, just to see who’s lurking out there that you should say hello to. • Facebook has a lot of applications. Choose wisely as they are a reflection of you and how you spend your time. • If you’re thinking of starting a group, this is where a business can make good use of Facebook. However, Facebook groups need to be nurtured and tended after by the people who build them. Group members are looking for dialogue, interaction, and discussion. As a retailer, consider taking your group discussion a level above your brand, and giving your fans, friends and loyal customers some meaty topics to digest and discuss. Blogging Blogging is such a ubiquitous form of media today, but people are still incredibly intimidated by starting a blog. Is blogging something your retail brand should do? That answer will vary from retailer to retailer. Do you have something to say? Do you want to share thoughts, interests, ideas? Are you interested in others weighing in on what you have to say? If so, starting a blog may be a great idea. Our getting-started philosophy: learn on the job. There’s no better way to learn about blogging than to immerse yourself in it. [9] 1 888 6RADIAN (1 888 672-3426) Copyright © 2012 - Radian6 [9]
  10. 10. RETAIL INDUSTRY EBOOK / MARCH 2012 Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry • The very best way to learn about blogging is to read. Read lots of blogs, both inside and outside your interest area. Pay special attention to things like tone, writing style, and how writers break up the content. Try Google Reader to aggregate your blogs and make it easier to organize them. • Begin commenting on blogs. Share your voice; the authors want to hear from you - it’s part of their validation that they’re writing something of interest. It’s okay to not have all the answers. Ready to start writing? • Set a goal, such as three posts a week. They don’t have to be mammoth, and at first, just worry about getting comfortable with the medium. Talk about what you know. Write to share something valuable with others in your community, and serve as a discussion hub and a resource. Get feedback and ideas from across your retail brand’s organization. • Scribble down post ideas when you have them. Starting post drafts and save them unfinished. You can always come back to them later when inspiration strikes. If you get a burst of writing done, schedule your posts in advance. • Share. Ask questions. Get people talking. You’re a conversation catalyst. • Staying plugged in to the comments on your blog is important. Commenters like to know that you’re listening and paying attention to their contributions. How often and how deeply you respond is up to you, but comments are an important part of the blog ecosystem, so find a way to engage. • Link out to the posts that may have inspired your writing. Point your readers to more resources relevant to your topic. Disclose relationships you have that may have bearing on the opinions you write about (most especially if you’re being paid to do so; it’s the law now). If you’re including other people’s work, make sure to attribute it. Once you’ve got a handle on the different sites yourself you may be wondering how you can start to train your staff to use social media both for their personal use & for your retail brand’s purposes. Let’s dive in to training! [ 10 ] 1 888 6RADIAN (1 888 672-3426) Copyright © 2012 - Radian6 [ 10 ]
  11. 11. RETAIL INDUSTRY EBOOK / MARCH 2012 Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry Chapter 3 HOW DO I TRAIN MY STAFF FOR SOCIAL MEDIA? Training your staff on how to use social media can be a daunting task. Since social networking and the concept of social business is so new, many people entrenched in the world of retail are still learning how they can best use the medium. When you start thinking about training your staff, you may notice that their experience falls into the following areas. Digital Native: They’ve grown up in a highly digital world being very comfortable with using online platforms and learning new ones. Savvy Technologist: While not having grown up with them, they feel comfortable using most online social platforms and digital tools. These people approach new platforms with caution and often let others fumble around before joining in. Reluctant User: They are aware of the digital world and social media but hesitate to explore and dive into the digital space. They do not think about or use digital tools more than necessary and generally resist incorporating those tools into their lives. Digital Contrarian: They are averse to the digital world. They’ve probably heard of social networking but they think it’s a bunch of piffle, and they’ll use email only for work purposes and rarely in their personal lives. These folks prefer traditional methods like phone calls. Digital Newbie: Unlike the digital contrarian, the digital newbie isn’t opposed to the digital world so much as they are simply unaware of it. Their life and day-to-day activities go on just fine without any digital intervention, and they don’t see the need to change their habits or behaviors. Knowing that all these different digital archetypes exist within your organization is an important step. Even though not all of them may be as excited about or involved in your social media process, they should all at least have the overall understanding so they feel comfortable with the space. This will help when you start building the framework of your training program. [ 11 ] 1 888 6RADIAN (1 888 672-3426) Copyright © 2012 - Radian6 [ 11 ]
  12. 12. RETAIL INDUSTRY EBOOK / MARCH 2012 Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry Training Program Prep and Framework When starting to plan your training framework you can go one of two ways. You can involve your staff in the initial discussions to get their input on how they would like to use social media and their current understandings of the space or you can keep all those initial discussions to your management team. Either way, talking through your strategy first is the right place to start. With these discussions you’ll want to establish a few different things: • Who within each team is going to be using social media • If there will be a single point person to oversee department social media activities or if everyone will have a fairly even distribution of tasks • Which social media tasks each team has been assigned to perform, or which tasks you believe they should be performing • The social media comprehension levels of all team members (not just general use, but understanding of how social media can be applied in business settings crossing various departments within your retail brand. The findings you glean from these meetings should give you a clear view of the various user levels you must accommodate, as well inform you as to what sorts of conversations have already happened around the retailer’s social media initiatives and how people are feeling about those plans. So, you’ve gathered all the information you can about the current levels of social media adoption and understanding within your retail brand, and now is the time to use that information to your advantage. The folks within your organization who are enthusiastic about social media and “get it” could be a great help in planning and helping this training program take flight. Social Media Training Team Create a cross-functional social media training team that can act as both a point of contact for coordinating training course attendance and employee benchmarking, and as a resource to answer questions and provide constructive feedback. They can - and should - tweak the training program as necessary. When the time finally comes to begin building your training program, you’ll need to make sure it includes these things: • Clearly stated purposes for why the retailer is adopting social media and why a training program is in place • Clear goals and measurable objectives for each piece of the program [ 12 ] 1 888 6RADIAN (1 888 672-3426) Copyright © 2012 - Radian6 [ 12 ]
  13. 13. RETAIL INDUSTRY EBOOK / MARCH 2012 Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry • Different course levels to account for different levels of adoption as well as create multiple opportunities for achievement and break the process into easily digestible mental bites • Tactical how-to training, as well as conceptual training and example scenarios • Testing or benchmarking to gauge the progress of employees as they move through the program • A review process for assessing the effectiveness of the program Developing a successful team takes planning and training but in the end, you’ll have a solid foundation and a group of rockstars to create great social strategies. While the people are crucial, so is technology. A social media monitoring platform is a tool your team will utilize on a daily basis. So let’s take a deeper look at this technology in the next 1 888 6RADIAN (1 888 672-3426) Copyright © 2012 - Radian6 [ 13 ]
  14. 14. RETAIL INDUSTRY EBOOK / MARCH 2012 Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry Chapter 4 WHAT DOES A SOCIAL MEDIA MONITORING PLATFORM DO? Social media listening, tracking, monitoring and engagement tools allow retailers such as yours to successfully employ a social media strategy and understand the impact the Social Graph and Social CRM have on their success. This enables organizations to become Socially Engaged Enterprises, with the power to understand and gain insights about social media through metrics, measurement, sentiment and analytics reporting. Social Media Monitoring A social media monitoring and engagement platform, such as Radian6, allows you to view relevant conversations happening around your brand and products in real time. This aggregation of data ensures you are gleaning the most relevant information from your online conversations, and have the ability to share important reports with those who need them most. Social media monitoring is beneficial for not only discovering public sentiment surrounding your retail brand, but can also be used when dealing with crisis situations, to benchmark your competitors or even to generate interest from new customers, sell all the items on your shelves. When used effectively, social media monitoring can help you reach out to a whole new audience, and enhance your online profile. How does this sync up with Social Media Marketing? With the rise of the social web, social media marketing is changing the face of how you interact with your customers. Instead of your clients clamouring for your attention, it’s up to you to reach out to them. Take your messaging to where they’re gathering most – the social web. Make the switch from traditional marketing to a format that allows for increased interaction with your customers, ensuring you’re engaging with them at the point of need. Adapt content and messaging based on what people are talking about on the social web. Monitor public sentiment to gain a better understanding of how your latest campaign is faring in the marketplace. Once you’ve harnessed the potential of the social web, your options are almost 1 888 6RADIAN (1 888 672-3426) Copyright © 2012 - Radian6 [ 14 ]
  15. 15. RETAIL INDUSTRY EBOOK / MARCH 2012 Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry Social Media Strategy For any organization, the key to a successful social media strategy is to tie it to your existing business objectives, and your existing sales, marketing, customer service and other strategies. An effective social media strategy can mean the difference between successfully nurturing online relationships with your customers and missing out on opportunities for outreach. Your social media strategy should cover the guidelines you need to best interact with your consumers on the social web. From the frequency of your posts, to how to handle negative feedback, your social media strategy will ensure that you’re not only connecting with followers, but that you’re being consistent and engaging during these interactions. An effective social media strategy not only allows you to engage on the social web, but also works to enhance your online profile for those who might not already be connecting with you. A social media monitoring platform can help you with this process. It addresses these key steps in the process: • Scaling your mountain of content. These platforms cull through content based on a number of algorithms so you don’t have to! • Tracking trends. Over time, you’ll start to see trends emerge as you view the data. • Lightening your load when it comes to reporting. Platforms can aggregate your data so you can simply pull the information you need. • Getting information to those who need it most. Log in and grab the data - it’s that easy. You can often segment by different user settings or admin rights. Social media monitoring platforms provide the opportunity to get to know your community inside and out – because when you’ve got an indicator of their past preferences, you’re better suited to give them a richer experience in the future. The discovery process gives you a deep dive into many areas, including who is the most influential in conversations surrounding your retail brand. These loyal supporters are instrumental in spreading your message even further throughout the social web. As we’ll discuss in the next few chapters, a strong social strategy starts with listening and extends through engagement. • Listening - Get tuned in to all of the important conversations surrounding your brand, the retail industry and your competitors. • Engaging - This could be reaching out to your customers or using their feedback to enhance your services. Either way, you’re part of the conversation. • Measuring, analyzing & reporting - Once the conversations start rolling in, you’ll want to start measuring your results. Tracking discussions will help enhance your social media strategy, and help you get to the bottom of what’s being said. Let’s take a deeper look at these steps in the next 1 888 6RADIAN (1 888 672-3426) Copyright © 2012 - Radian6 [ 15 ]
  16. 16. RETAIL INDUSTRY EBOOK / MARCH 2012 Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry Chapter 5 HOW DO I START LISTENING? Once you and your staff are trained on what social media is and the platforms that work best for your brand, it’s important to understand the potential impact all of that information could have on your work. Listening – or social media monitoring – is the notion of searching for the key words and phrases being used online to hear what’s being talked about. It’s about homing in on the data, conversations, dialogue, and other bits of information that are relevant to your brand. From the people talking specifically about YOUR BRAND, to people talking about the retail industry or even your competitors, listening is about harnessing the conversations that matter to your business, and extracting the information that helps you decide how, where, and when to engage with your community. Listening: The Ws Why Listening is Important: A sound listening strategy forms the cornerstone of a sustainable, scalable social media strategy. It helps you understand what’s being said, where it’s happening, what kind of volume you’re dealing with, and where on the social media presence curve you sit as a company. Consider this the initial research phase of your work to get a lay of the land, and an ongoing temperature gauge that helps you adjust your continued activities. What to Listen For: As you start with a monitoring program, the potential can be overwhelming. So much information, so many sites, and all of it moving by at the speed of light. Start with a tiered system that takes you from brand-centered listening, to competitive listening, to industry-wide listening (some more specifics on these are below). Within those categories, you can organize and prioritize those conversations by classifying them into relevant buckets, like: • Complaints • Compliments • Questions • Leads and Inquiries • Opportunity 1 888 6RADIAN (1 888 672-3426) Copyright © 2012 - Radian6 [ 16 ]
  17. 17. RETAIL INDUSTRY EBOOK / MARCH 2012 Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry Where to listen: The answer to this question is different for every retailer. The important place to start is casting the net wide, using a tool or set of tools that will help you sweep the entirety of the social web to find the conversations that matter to you. As you sort through the posts and discussions you find, you’ll be able to sort out where the relevant discussions are happening, and what media types you need to pay attention to. Although they are the primary social media sources for the retail industry, social media isn’t just about Twitter and Facebook. It’s about the function of social communication online, which is to more easily share, create, and contribute to content. That means that for some industries the best place to be may still be forums and message boards. For others, it could be LinkedIn or niche online communities. And for some, it could be blogs. The searches you undertake as part of your listening program will help you focus your efforts, uncover the concentrations of discussion and dialogue, and help you understand where you should be spending your time and effort to engage the communities you care about. Who Should do it: As you embark on a listening program, the first question is often “So, who’s responsible for doing this?” To answer that question, you need to ask yourself: • What’s the central focus of our social media participation? Customer service? Marketing? Product ideas? • Do we have dedicated human resources for this, or does it have to be part of an existing role? • Is there someone on our team already interested in this? Front-line listening as part of a “listening grid” – a workflow and system of routing and sharing the intelligence gathered from a monitoring program – can be a dedicated role, or part of many. But at its best, listening is wired into many roles and functions in an organization. Much like having a telephone on every person’s desk, equipping employees and departments with their own listening tools and stations means that they can integrate social media information and intelligence into the work they’re already doing. They can use the tools in the ways that support their jobs, and treat social media as a new phone, a new line of communication from your retail brand to the outside world and back 1 888 6RADIAN (1 888 672-3426) Copyright © 2012 - Radian6 [ 17 ]
  18. 18. RETAIL INDUSTRY EBOOK / MARCH 2012 Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry Listening: The How So, brass tacks time. How, exactly, do we build listening programs in all of the right buckets? What do we search for? Brand: In the brand bucket, you’ll want to concentrate your searches around terms, words, and phrases that are directly related to your retail brand. You can go broad or narrow, but in general, you’ll want to develop a stack of keywords and phrases that reflect: • Your company name • Your brands, business units, or product offerings • Names of specialized services you offer such as rewards programs • Names or terms around specific campaigns • Key stakeholders in your organization • Nicknames, abbreviations, or misspellings of any of the above The general thread here is that it’s the terms that will help you understand whether people are talking about you or not. If they’re not, that’s intelligence in itself. If they are, you’ll want to know if it’s positive, critical, or indifferent, as all of those things will help frame your future strategy. Industry: Industry listening is proactive. It’s intended to help you understand the larger landscape that surrounds your retail brand, the conversations that are above and around your brand. It’s not about you, but rather understanding how you might fit into the larger profile of your industry on the social web. Here, you might search for: • Terms related to products and the retail industry that are not brand specific • Phrases that define the markets you serve • Larger industry keywords or categories • Professional organizations you belong to or that fit your business profile • Names of thought leaders in the retail industry By listening, you can learn about overarching perceptions of your markets or your business purpose. And you can identify and locate conversations that aren’t about your company, but where you can engage and communicate expertise, meet new people, and establish your online presence as a resource and authority without a focus on sales or 1 888 6RADIAN (1 888 672-3426) Copyright © 2012 - Radian6 [ 18 ]
  19. 19. RETAIL INDUSTRY EBOOK / MARCH 2012 Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry Competitors: Competitive intelligence used to be limited to expensive, paid reports from business intelligence companies, or whatever information you could glean through your network of acquaintances, friends, and contacts. The social web has brought a new dimension to competitive analysis, and put a wealth of information out there to find. You can look for: • Names of competitive retailers, brands, products, and services • Stakeholders in those companies • Buzz around competitive campaigns or promotions • Nicknames, misspellings, or the like of any of these What can you learn here? If folks are talking online, they’re sharing information about your competition. Who they’re hiring, who’s recently left. What new product they’re coming out with. They’re communicating what your competition isn’t doing, which presents all sorts of opportunities for you. And it can pinpoint emerging crises or buzz swells that you might want to be aware of for your own purposes. The same unfiltered, fast moving and open information that’s out there about YOU is out there about THEM. It can be awfully worthwhile to pay attention. Your listening program will set the tone for the rest of your social media activities, so it’s imperative you take the time to fine tune each piece of it to ensure you’re listening in the places that are most relevant to your retail brand and to the conversations that have the most potential impact. Once you’ve got this part of your strategy solidified, it’s time to tackle 1 888 6RADIAN (1 888 672-3426) Copyright © 2012 - Radian6 [ 19 ]
  20. 20. RETAIL INDUSTRY EBOOK / MARCH 2012 Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry Chapter 6 HOW DO I START ENGAGING? Engagement is often seen as the “holy grail” result of a listening and monitoring program. For many retailers, it’s a natural evolution, but for some, it can be a bit more complicated. Engagement has become a hot-button term for something that really is more fundamental in its marketing need: Gaining and holding the attention of customers and prospects through regular retailer-to-community interaction. According to, to engage is: “To occupy the attention or efforts of (a person or persons).” In the context of social media, engagement usually means talking directly with your target audience, but the method and depth of engagement is individual for each company. Engagement becomes a bit less fluffy when you remove the “buzz” aspect of the term and remember that this is what you, as a business, have been aiming for all along: If you get someone engaged with the messages you’re putting out there, they’ll buy what you’re selling, and, if you’ve done it right, come back for more. Engagement: The Ws The social web has made it easy for people to share their opinions about everything on a mass scale, making it harder for brands to break through those opinions and stand on their own two feet. In the best cases of online sharing, brands are being stewarded by their loyal fans and long-time customers; in the worst cases, retailers are losing business because people are sharing negative opinions that are deterring possible prospects from taking that next step and buying. Most of those negative cases can be turned positive if the retailer would only take steps to show they care about their customers’ and prospects’ experiences with them. That can be done through direct interaction, acting on customer feedback collected either passively or actively, or making sure the purchasing cycle for people is as easy and positive as possible. What to say: “What do we say?” is often the hardest question to answer, largely due to the fear that letting people speak on behalf of your brand could create problems like mixed messages, the spreading of inaccurate information, or even legal 1 888 6RADIAN (1 888 672-3426) Copyright © 2012 - Radian6 [ 20 ]
  21. 21. RETAIL INDUSTRY EBOOK / MARCH 2012 Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry There are basic comments you can make, though, to reassure people you’re listening to them without causing problems for your brand, including: • We’re sorry. • Thank you. • How can we help? • We’re listening and we hear you. Despite common fears about responding to negative comments, addressing those mentions openly with an eye to calming the issue can turn a potentially sour situation into an opportunity to create a loyal brand fan, much like what your support team members do on a daily basis, but via social channels. Where to engage: Figuring out where you should be engaging starts with looking at where your audience currently exists. Your audience will appear in a few places to start, or perhaps many if your business is inherently social, and you’ll be able to identify exactly where that audience is through your listening strategy. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t put effort or resources into interacting on big social networks if that’s not where your audience happens to be. Software companies, for example, are often mentioned on support forums or communities, thus showing a much larger portion of customer activity than, say, Facebook. Just because certain social networks are more popular than others – or even more popular than other types of media – doesn’t mean your market is there. Do your research before you commit to engaging on a particular network. The audience of one retail brand may, in fact, not be frequenting all of the same social networks as the fans from another retail brand, for example. Who (internally) should engage and who you should engage with: There’s a good chance some of your workforce is already out there on the social web talking with your customers. Identify these folks, not to make examples of their behavior, but to bring them into the fold and gain an understanding of how and why they choose to interact online. Embrace their passion, feedback, and buy-in, and work with them to create a more structured and effective engagement strategy. Depending on your goals for social media involvement, you might want to engage with a few different types of people, including: • Customers with inquiries in need of support • Brand evangelists • Brand detractors • Retail veterans and 1 888 6RADIAN (1 888 672-3426) Copyright © 2012 - Radian6 [ 21 ]
  22. 22. RETAIL INDUSTRY EBOOK / MARCH 2012 Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry You might want to start interacting with just one group to gauge what kind of time and resources your engagement strategy will require to succeed, and add more groups when you feel you’re ready and able. Engagement: The How So, how do we build a solid engagement strategy? How do we start talking? Brand: When it comes to speaking on behalf of your brand, the possibilities for engagement are seemingly endless. From saying thank you for a positive mention to calming down an angry customer who’s thinking of switching stores, the one thing to remember is there is no right, industry-standard way to engage – the “right” type of engagement for you is defined by the goals you set for your social media program. Don’t leave your team hanging, though. Establish guidelines for engagement that give those engaging on the frontlines enough freedom to be themselves while still properly representing your retail brand. Industry Getting involved in the conversation surrounding the retail industry is essential for establishing your brand as not only a thought leader but also as a helpful retailer that truly cares about its community. At the end of the day, you’re providing a service that solves a deep human problem, and sharing your knowledge about how to solve that problem – outside of selling people on your products – will create trust in your customers. You’ll want to spend a certain amount of time being reactive to your community first, catching up with their direct mentions of you before delving into industry discussions. But when you’re ready, creating and adding to conversation threads will provide a wealth of perspective to both your retail brand and community. Some conversations you might want to get involved in include: • General questions about the services and special campaigns your retail brand offers. • Requests for opinions on a subject matter your retail brand can share expertise in. • Detracting commentary about why a service you provide is not useful. • Conversations about specific professional roles, where team members can grow their own 1 888 6RADIAN (1 888 672-3426) Copyright © 2012 - Radian6 [ 22 ]
  23. 23. RETAIL INDUSTRY EBOOK / MARCH 2012 Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry Competitors Competitive engagement isn’t about interjecting yourself into conversations about your competitors carte blanche. It can be useful to help you highlight points of differentiation, though, and it allows you to reach out to people interested in products when it naturally makes sense. Competitive engagement can also be used to stay on top of industry happenings like mergers and acquisitions, as well as help protect and build your retail brand through ongoing interaction with people who mention you as well as your competitors. Many would say that engagement is the most important aspect of a social media strategy – it gives you the chance to get involved with your customers, potential customers, and greater industry community in ways that weren’t previously available via traditional business communication channels. From market research to community assistance, engagement gets you tuned into what your market really needs from a retail brand like yours, and allows you to build relationships that carry into repeat business and referrals, and those are the ultimate successes. Now that you’re listening and engaging in conversations on the social web, you’re probably becoming interested in really tracking what’s being said. Maybe you’re even ready to work some of your results into your social media strategy. Although the idea of tracking millions of conversations can be daunting, the next chapter is here to 1 888 6RADIAN (1 888 672-3426) Copyright © 2012 - Radian6 [ 23 ]
  24. 24. RETAIL INDUSTRY EBOOK / MARCH 2012 Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry Chapter 7 HOW DO I START TO MEASURE, ANALYZE & REPORT? Just as putting together a list of items makes your customers’ shopping experience more organized and efficient, you’re going to need to chart your course to define the objectives/key performance metrics that will show you if you’re really making the most of the social web (as it relates to your goals, of course). To get where you’re going, you need to know where you’ve been and where you want to be, and this is where that charted course comes in handy. Measurement: The Ws Measuring the progress of your social media program isn’t an option – it’s a business necessity. Social media is a business channel just like direct mail and other traditional communication and marketing channels, but unlike many traditional methods, social media unlocks the door to instantaneous, two-way dialog, creating a new level of necessary measurement. While traditional metrics still matter, it’s essential that you select highly relevant and measurable objectives specific to your social media program to make sure your efforts are indeed providing strategic and financial value. What to Measure: Familiar with the phrase, “You are what you eat?” This holds true with social media: Define your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) carefully here, because you will become what you measure. Understand what your brand wants to accomplish and what market you want to target to determine what metrics are actually relevant to your brand. It’s important you establish both qualitative and quantitative measurements for your goals, too, because both matter in providing a holistic view of the progress of your social media program. And while you’re at it, don’t settle for measuring only outputs and outtakes, either. Impact, especially in terms of ROI, is determined by measuring outcomes (the quantifiable changes in attitude, behavior and opinion). If you only measure superficial results such as number of followers or fans, your social media and engagement strategy will also remain at that level. Here are some metrics to help you brainstorm what you might want to measure and 1 888 6RADIAN (1 888 672-3426) Copyright © 2012 - Radian6 [ 24 ]
  25. 25. RETAIL INDUSTRY EBOOK / MARCH 2012 Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry Revenue and Business Development • Number Percent of Repeat Business • % Customer Retention • Transaction Value • Referrals • Net New Leads • Cost Per Lead • Conversions from Community Activity and Engagement • Members • Posts/Threads • Comments or Ideas • Inbound Links • Tags, Votes, Bookmarks • Active Profiles • Referrals • Post Frequency/Density Cost Savings • Issue Resolution Time • % of Issues Resolved Online • Account Turnover • Employee Turnover • Hiring/Recruiting • Training Costs • New Product Ideas • Development Cycle Time • Product/Service Adoption Rate Value Awareness and Influence • Brand Loyalty/Affinity • Media Placements • Share of Conversation • Sentiment of Posts • Net Promoter Score • Interaction with Content • Employee Social 1 888 6RADIAN (1 888 672-3426) Copyright © 2012 - Radian6 [ 25 ]
  26. 26. RETAIL INDUSTRY EBOOK / MARCH 2012 Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry How to Measure: Go beyond measuring traditional web analytics that provide data about channel use and begin layering onto those metrics that explore audience behavior and engagement found within social media analytics. Having a hypothesis to start from will help you pinpoint which beyond- the-traditional metrics you should be tracking. For instance, “We think that an increase in blog subscribers over six months will correlate with an increase in online purchases,” or, “Post activity on our help forum will decrease call center costs,” are strong hypotheses to get started measuring and benchmarking. Build your goals and objectives based on these hypotheses, and measure against them to see if you’re on the right track. The beauty about setting a baseline with your hypotheses is that you have a roadmap to follow to keep you on track; you’ll know exactly where you stand at all times, and you can course correct in real-time as you track changes in the level of content and customer engagement. Brand Measuring engagement around your brand can help you understand if your messages are resonating with your intended community, or whether there’s a disconnect between how your retail brand is presenting itself and how your community perceives you. To gain insight on just how well your brand is being reflected on the social web, begin measuring: • Reverberation: The total volume of inbound linking and generations of retweeting of a post. • Repetition: The average times per month a source inbound links/retweets your content. • Activation: The monthly total of new sources that have shared your positive content. • Engagement: The amount of repeat commenting and length of those comments. Industry Keep your finger on the pulse of your industry to spot emerging trends and topics of interest that help you drive content creation or product and service improvements and ideas. By tracking the trends of your industry you’ll also be able to find out who key players are and get early insights into the new voices in the industry, and you can apply all these insights to help mold your outreach, engagement, and future business strategies. To see which sorts of topics and issues are gaining traction in the retail industry, begin measuring: • Exuberance: The monthly count of testimonials (or twestimonials!) and positive 1 888 6RADIAN (1 888 672-3426) Copyright © 2012 - Radian6 [ 26 ]
  27. 27. RETAIL INDUSTRY EBOOK / MARCH 2012 Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry • Attention Span: The average span of time a post is commented on and retweeted, or shared on Twitter. • Resonance: The total volume of “in sync” conversation around an idea. • Potential: The monthly comparison of declared need and estimated revenue from successful referrals. Competitors Competitive intelligence can clue you in to rumors and insights about your competitors’ business moves, how their customers are perceiving them, and help you identify unmet needs of the crowds. That information will also help you establish if you’re ahead of the social media game, behind the curve, or somewhere in the middle. Benchmarking your competition on the social web can help you clarify how your social strategy should emerge and evolve, too. To get a handle on how you’re comparing in the competitive landscape, begin measuring: • Conversation: The total monthly relative share of conversation versus competitors. • Infatuation: The score of the relative direction of inbound and outbound links/tweets between sources. • Bucket Volume: The monthly count comparison of post types (i.e., complaints, referrals, etc.). Measurement, as a practice, should already be wired into your organization – if it’s not, take the time to figure out why that’s the case and how you can remedy that situation before embarking on your journey into social media. The most important truth to keep in mind about measuring any business initiative, be it social media or a traditional marketing/customer service/sales program, is that the metrics you select to track your progress must relate directly to your goals; there is no template or best way to measure anything, but the information we’ve shared here should get you started brainstorming which metrics make the most sense for tracking your social media program. Analysis Defining the measurement that you are going to use for your social media program can be different from the stage where you are analyzing those results against your business objectives. The thing to keep in mind is that analysis takes time and you’ll need to benefit from some others who are already doing great work in the 1 888 6RADIAN (1 888 672-3426) Copyright © 2012 - Radian6 [ 27 ]
  28. 28. RETAIL INDUSTRY EBOOK / MARCH 2012 Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry Share the Knowledge We’re not talking about exposing internally sensitive or trademarked information here, but rather methods and metrics that have been found to work well in the social space. If we are sharing this information we can start to learn from each other in a collaborative environment. Collaboration could be done through conferences, white papers or councils. Perhaps you have an idea for a Twitter chat for collaborating ideas? Check first to see if it already exists, and if not, be the leader! Try, Try Again There will be metrics and methods used that will seem very promising but at the end of the day they just won’t work in the social space. Instead of getting frustrated with these, we need be able to take an objective view to discuss what works, what doesn’t work and where to go from there. If you want to see this in action, just take a look at the search engine results for “What is Social Media ROI?”. Just a few examples of articles discussing this topic are: Social Media ROI for Idiots , 2011 Trending Topic: Social Media ROI , How to Measure Social Media ROI. Believe in the Integrity of the Data Data doesn’t lie, but it can be misinterpreted. Make sure that no matter what you’re doing, you are letting the data speak for itself. Draw insights from your data but don’t force the data to say anything that isn’t there. Sometimes as much as we want 1+1 to equal 3, it just isn’t meant to be. Reporting Keep in mind that at some point in your social media journey you may need to create a report that shows how your efforts are doing. Don’t look at this as a daunting task, instead think of something in life that we are all very familiar with and able to read, a report card. From kindergarten to high school and beyond, we’re all very used to seeing our semester grades in an easy to read standard format. Whether it be the letter scale of A – F, a percent out of a hundred or a GPA, each of us could probably take someone else’s report card and understand whether they were doing well or need some work. Here’s what this can teach you about your own reporting. Grading Scale The point of a grading scale is to be able to compare your marks semester over semester, year after year. It also enables anyone familiar with the scales to jump right in and understand. This touches on the idea of standardization we’ve been talking about. We don’ 1 888 6RADIAN (1 888 672-3426) Copyright © 2012 - Radian6 [ 28 ]
  29. 29. RETAIL INDUSTRY EBOOK / MARCH 2012 Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry have across the board standards in the social media industry yet, but you can still have a system that everyone internally is comfortable with so no matter who you hand the report to, they will be able to understand. Labels You would hate to confuse your English grade with your Math, which is why report cards have the great advantage of having very clear labels. These are essential to a good report. From the proper date, to time period, to the labeling of information, these are all a must to make sure nothing in your report is misunderstood. Easy to Read Short and sweet (or sour as the case may be) is why parents love the one page format of a report card. In 5 minutes they know exactly what’s going on with the most important parts of their children’s lives. Here’s an inside secret, executives feel the same way about their retail brands. Give them a report that’s short and hopefully sweet and they’ll love the 5 minute read they get. The Shifts Most report cards will show you how much you’ve improved or slipped, semester to semester. This is one of the most effective things to show on a report because these shifts are the bread & butter to seeing if you are meeting your objectives. Teacher’s Comments “Johnny is progressing at an expected pace, but needs to pay more attention in class.” Even though some of us might have cringed seeing paragraphs of writing on our report cards, teacher’s comments were really analysis points highlighting what’s working and what’s not. Therefore, including comments like these on your reports will help to draw attention to what’s working and what’s not. Pass or Fail A part of the report most of us jumped right to the bottom to see: the pass or fail. This gave us a clear answer as to whether or not all the grades, notes and shifts meant we were moving on or giving it another go. Incorporating a clear manner to say whether or not your efforts and results line up with your business objectives is key to any report so that not only are you giving the “why,” but also the next steps, whether they are to move on to the next grade or take a step back and try it all over again. Now that you have the knowledge to navigate the aisles of the social web, let’s look at other retailers that have taken that path and succeeded in their social 1 888 6RADIAN (1 888 672-3426) Copyright © 2012 - Radian6 [ 29 ]
  30. 30. RETAIL INDUSTRY EBOOK / MARCH 2012 Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry Chapter 8 WHAT ARE THE KEY SOCIAL MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES FOR RETAILERS? Hopefully the previous chapters have helped fill your cart with lots of helpful ideas on how you can leverage social media. We’re almost ready to hit the check-out, so we want to help organize some of the very thoughts we hope you’re now thinking. We gave you a lot of material, but let’s check off our list to make sure you have everything you need to deliver a new or renewed strategy. If you are already active in the social web, or are at least taking a peek at what your competitors are up to, likely you have noticed that no two retailers have identical seeming social media strategies. While the selection is endless, the last thing we want to leave you feeling is overwhelmed. Let’s look at the key uses of social media for retail brands like yours. • Customer service: directly responding to customer’s questions, complaints and inquiries via social media. • Crisis management: having your finger on the pulse of a crisis just as it unfolds or directly after it occurs and being able to respond, diffuse and assist quickly. • Campaign or promotion management: the use of social media channels to spread word about a contest/sale/exciting change that you want your community to hear about and participate in discussion about • Shopper loyalty: keeping your customers engaged and interested in the community you create and making it difficult for them to ever want to fall out of love with your retail brand. • Keeping tabs on the competition: understanding the successes and failures of rival retailers, and using this intel to earn more loyalty points for your retail brand. Remember that deciding on a social media strategy that fits your retail brand is a process, not an impulse buy. Just as your customers try on more than one pair of jeans before making a purchasing decision, a great social media strategy should be implemented one thoughtful step at a time. Don’t feel as though you should dive in and attempt to hit all of the aforementioned use cases, and instead identify your top priority and begin there. One thing at a time. Always. It’s time to check out and put some of what we’ve covered today to good use. We hope you enjoyed coming with us on this excursion and that you’re on your way to finding the best fit for your social media strategy when it comes to your brand. We can’t wait to hear what exciting things are in store for you and your 1 888 6RADIAN (1 888 672-3426) Copyright © 2012 - Radian6 [ 30 ]
  31. 31. RETAIL INDUSTRY EBOOK / MARCH 2012 Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry White Paper HOW RETAILERS CAN USE SOCIAL MEDIA MONITORING TO TRACK INDUSTRY CONVERSATIONS Dear Radian6, As a retailer, we monitor social media conversations around our brand and engage with our customers on a regular basis. Now we’re looking to expand our efforts into the broader conversation around the retail industry, especially with the holiday season in full swing. Do you have any pointers for us? Dear User, With Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday behind us, we’ve already seen how retailers and consumers are using social media to discuss, influence, and determine purchasing decisions. There is valuable insight to be gained by listening to these conversations that can benefit your retail brand, including: • Identifying points of need among consumers • Seeing which retail brands are getting the most mentions • Determining your industry influencers Let’s look at the social media conversation around Small Business Saturday to illustrate the above points. Find the Right Words Here’s a quick peek at the keywords I chose to include in my topic 1 888 6RADIAN (1 888 672-3426) Copyright © 2012 - Radian6 [ 31 ]
  32. 32. RETAIL INDUSTRY EBOOK / MARCH 2012 Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry Since we are looking at a very specific topic, I included “Small Business Saturday” as well as several hashtags being used around the event. However, if you are looking at more general conversations, you can use proximity to refine your results. For example, let’s say you want to narrow in on retail conversations around Christmas. While including “Christmas” on its own might pull in hundreds of thousands of mentions unrelated to the retail industry, adding additional keywords such as “shopping” and using the proximity feature will allow you to pull more relevant mentions. Pinpoint Point of Need Conversations Consumers are constantly turning to their social networks for opinions and recommendations when it comes time to make purchasing decisions, but they won’t always reach out to brands directly, especially if they’re not even aware of you. Stay one step ahead by proactively searching for point of need conversations to engage in. To find these conversations around Small Business Saturday, at the widget level, let’s enter some phrases that consumers might use when looking for recommendations. By opening up a River of News from the Topic Trends, we can identify consumers who are looking for specific items and suggestions on what stores they should shop at, or sharing their plans around Small Business Saturday. These are perfect opportunities for retail brands like yours to engage in a helpful and friendly tone. You already know that these consumers are excited about Small Business Saturday, so use that as a jumping off point. “We’re excited about Small Business Saturday too! Have fun today!” would be a great way to start a 1 888 6RADIAN (1 888 672-3426) Copyright © 2012 - Radian6 [ 32 ]
  33. 33. RETAIL INDUSTRY EBOOK / MARCH 2012 Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry Find Your Competitors Monitoring industry conversation is the perfect way to see which retail brands are getting the most mentions and give you a better idea of your competitors. In the case of Small Business Saturday, where people are aiming to shop local, incorporating location keywords at the widget level, such as city names or states, will give you more relevant results. For example, let’s put in “shopping” and “Chicago” to find conversations specific to that city around consumers’ shopping plans on Small Business Saturday. By opening up a River of News, we can see which Chicago retailers are getting mentioned. Radian6 insights can also give you valuable information on which retail brands appear most frequently in industry conversations on Micromedia. By looking at the most mentioned usernames around Small Business Saturday, we see that Etsy received a significant number of mentions. Kramerbooks also appears as a result of President Obama’s well-publicized visit to the Washington, D.C. 1 888 6RADIAN (1 888 672-3426) Copyright © 2012 - Radian6 [ 33 ]
  34. 34. RETAIL INDUSTRY EBOOK / MARCH 2012 Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry Identify Industry Influencers Just as your retail brand has influencers, there are also people that influence the industry conversation. We already covered the Usernames Mentioned insight above, which is a great way to identify Micromedia influencers. You can also look at Retweeted Usernames to see which Twitter users have the most amplification. Here, we have the most retweeted usernames around Small Business Saturday. Finally, you can use the Influencer Widget to identify influencers by media type. Since most of the conversation around Small Business Saturday occurred on Micromedia, let’s view the influencers for that media type specifically. Whether you want to engage with these users or just listen to what they have to say, your brand will benefit from knowing who is directing the conversation. These are just a few of the ways you can broaden your listening scope to find opportunities for engagement and identify competitors and influencers in the retail industry. For the retailers out there, what are some other ways you are monitoring industry conversations? Did you focus your listening efforts on conversations around Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday? Why or why not? 1 888 6RADIAN (1 888 672-3426) Copyright © 2012 - Radian6 [ 34 ]
  35. 35. RETAIL INDUSTRY EBOOK / MARCH 2012 Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry Case Study GNC: BUILDING HEALTHIER ONLINE COMMUNITIES The Challenge GNC is the world’s largest vitamin & supplement retailer, devoted exclusively to helping its customers live healthy and meet their fitness goals. They understand that their customers are looking to them for the most recent scientific research and new product developments. GNC knew that many of their customers and consumers in general were using social media to get answers to their health and wellness questions, make product recommendations and share their experiences. “Social media has given consumers the power to get answers and recommendations long before they step foot in the store to make a purchase,” explains Chris James, GNC’s Director of Social Media. Customers no longer have to come into the physical store to get information and answers to their questions. GNC knew that conversations were happening online and they wanted to find a way to bring these people together and help them find the right information at the right time. The Approach GNC has started creating an online community where consumers can get answers, share feedback and receive encouragement on their journey to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Using the Radian6 platform, the team at GNC listens for questions or concerns that relate to the products GNC carries or people who are chatting online about looking for help to start a health and wellness plan. The team engages with people who have questions about products they should be using, or which brand to try. GNC will even offer customers who are having issues with a product the chance to try a similar product or receive store credit or a gift card) to try something else if they choose. GNC wants to ensure customers who have had a challenging experience give them a second or third look before they approach the conversation. Listening for that point-of-need is critical for customer retention. The Results GNC has built a strong and healthy online gain presence. They have allowed consumers to gain access to resources and experts, without ever leaving their computer. It has also allowed GNC to connect with their customers who take to social media to share their inspirational stories. “It is truly amazing to have customers thank us for helping them lose 150 pounds,” says James, “I think it’s amazing that we have a chance to connect with out customers on this level, that we are a part of helping them change their lives for the better, and that we can share in the journey with 1 888 6RADIAN (1 888 672-3426) Copyright © 2012 - Radian6 [ 35 ]
  36. 36. RETAIL INDUSTRY EBOOK / MARCH 2012 Social Media Strategy for the Retail Industry Thanks to their ability to connect with their audience, GNC has created a community of people who are not only interested in their products, but also invested in a lifetime of better health and wellness. And that makes it a big win for everyone. Find us on the web: Follow us on Twitter: Read the Blog: Author: Zoe Geddes-Zoltess Editor: Amanda Nelson Designers: Lise Hansen, Lindsay 1 888 6RADIAN (1 888 672-3426) Copyright © 2012 - Radian6 [ 36 ]