Month: April 2014

The Top 6 Social Media Retail Trends for 2014

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Social media has vastly changed the retailers landscape and there are many upcoming trends in social media which will continue to change retailers strategies. Customers can now see behind the scenes on shoots, how products are made, compare prices easily, comment on the quality of the product in an open forum and generally be more a part of the retail experience. Customers are no longer “the end user”, often, social media allows customers to be involved in many stages of the retail experience, such as MAC cosmetics re-releasing customer favourite products. In this post, we will examine the new social media retail trends for 2014.

1. Segmentation

Not all of your content should be shared on every platform. You should share specific content on certain sites. Carlos Gil explained it best with this handy guide:

  • Facebook is your community of brand advocates where you are posting relevant updates whereas
  • Twitter is where you’re having meaningful 1-on-1 dialogue
  • Vine and Instagram humanize your brand through colorful photo and live video
  • Pinterest connects your brand as everyday solutions
  • Foursquare rewards your most loyal customers

By using this you are tailoring your content to what your followers actually want to see on that social media feed. Customers don’t want to see 1-on-1 dialogue on Facebook, save it for Twitter. While this creates more work for your social media manager, the results are worth it.

2. Content

Amy Porterfield constantly stresses the importance of ‘Native posts’ as opposed to ‘Non-Native posts’. What this means is, you should aim to have your posts be part of the conversation, as opposed to forcing your way into conversations. Say less, show more is a good mantra to have. Customers don’t want to feel like you are constantly selling your brand to them. Sometimes an image with subtle product placement will do. Don’t force your message on customers, because that will surely drive them away.

3. Adapt

68% of Millennials get their news from social media and 66% look up a store after learning that their friends have checked in there. This group is expected to outspend Baby Boomers by 2017. This is important as Millennials base a lot of their purchase decisions on their friends opinions, so likes, shares, retweets, favourites, comments and clicks are becoming even more important to sell your brand. Millennials are big mobile users, so adapt your strategy to incorporate mobile based apps like Vine and Instagram.

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4. Community

It is important to focus on the community of people who are already following you. Don’t constantly search for more followers, promising them discounts and promos. Some of your most engaged audience is already right under your nose. Embrace them, reward them and in turn the will happily become brand advocates.

5. Collaborate

It cannot be denied that bloggers are an influential group. It is important to leverage then advocates especially in relation to point number three, Millennianls are a highly influential group and seeing someone famous or with strong social klout will definitely work in your favour. Bloggers are highly receptive to advocating brands, this will be become essential for retailers to exploit in 2014 to stay just ahead of the curve.

6. Mobile

As mentioned earlier, mobile is going to be a huge trend in the retail world in 2014. Mobile payments are expected to amount to $90 billion in the coming years. We can see it happening already, people shopping on the go, on their commute. Customers are becoming comfortable with shopping on their mobiles and once people realise the convenience of it, mobile retail should grow at a huge rate

So there are the top six social media trends for retail in 2014. Retailers should quickly work to develop strategies for each of these trends, or risk being left behind.

Amy Porterfield: How to Effectively Use Facebook Ads and Email

Daniel Drucker: Retail Trends and Predictions 2014

Carlos Gil: Social Media Trends in Retail to Look for in 2014

 

Blogging for Business

How Effective Blogging can help your Business

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There is a debate as to whether blogging in business is relevant in today’s social media heavy world. Likewise with SEO, is it dying out or are people being somewhat ignorant? The two actually work well in tandem. Blogs increase your SEO. Fresh content is still a key to beating out your competitors in the search engine results page. Having your blog embedded in your website and use effective keywords, without keyword stuffing, can help your SEO and page rank in Google. Having a blog makes your business more visible in the digital world.

Blogging is important for:

  • Driving traffic to your website. Your blog gives you the opportunity to create relevant content for your customers. Use this as a marketing tactic to drive traffic back to your website.
  • Position your brand as the industry leader. Well written articles demonstrate your company as an industry leader. By posting topics which resonate with your market and show your knowledge, you are marketing your skills for your business, service or product too.
  • Develop customer relations. Blogs provide another source to deepen the connection with your customer. By connecting directly on your website, your clients are able to get to know your business or product from the comfort of your online home base.

To ensure your business blog receives traffic and is shared, install plugins allowing retweets, shares etc. Make it easy for your readers to interact with and share your posts. Share the link on your own social media pages so that people can quickly share or retweet without having to go through too many steps. Don’t be afraid to self promote your blog. Gather subscriber names and emails and send out a monthly newsletter with a recap of blog posts you’ve written. Knowing your topic and knowing it well is what makes for content that can’t be replicated elsewhere and that readers will feel is worthy of sharing.

According to Hubspot, 46% of people reading blogs more than once a day and a rapidly increasing global population of blog readers, content marketing efforts are more valuable than ever. Firstly, determine your target audience, define your voice, and dive right in, because solid blogging can further the success of your business. 78% of consumers believe that organisations providing custom content, such as blogs, are interested in building good relationships.

Although there are numerous web-publishing services out there, there’s no denying WordPress, Tumblr, and Blogger are the three most popular given their wide-reaching acceptance and deep integration on the web. So which do you choose? Each blog is custom-tailored for a different user and audience, so it’s really personal choice or which best suits your business. WordPress is best suited for professional users who want to outfit their blog with upgrades and plugins, Tumblr finds grounding in quick, community-driven posts usually lined with images. And Blogger walks the middle ground between the two with a sheer level of simplicity and easy-to-use design anyone can master.

Include calls to action (CTAs). They’re important because they can help direct readers to other relevant information, encourage your audience to move further along the sales process, and ultimately increase conversion rates. Be sure to include relevant CTAs in every post so it’s easy for your audience to move from one piece of content to the next relevant piece.

With each blog post, ask yourself this question: if this post was the only thing influencing a potential buyer’s decision to choose my company, would I want them to read it? If the answer is no, then you need to make improvements.

Adding links to your website through a blog is a great way to drive traffic. However, if they are not relevant or are broken links then this will lead to a high bounce rate. There will be people who may come to your site to read a specific blog post and then leave. This is still traffic to your site and means that your content is worth reading. The other side to it is people who’ve read your blog post and might then read another blog or take a further nose around your site and what you do which might then generate a lead. At this point we’ve turned a blog into revenue.

B2C – Get the most from Blogging

The Globe & Mail – Beef up your Business Blog

The Perfect Email Marketing Strategy For Retailers

Email marketing is integral to business and retail has a lot to gain from utilizing this cost effective communication tool. In previous posts you will have seen our tops tips and some really interesting statistics regarding email marketing as a tool and how the food and festival industries are using it. Now we will turn our attention to how the fashion industry is using email marketing to drive sales and increase customer databases.

You may notice that when you go onto a retail website for the first time, you are quickly greeted by a pop up, encouraging you to sign up and usually giving you 10% off your first purchase. The whole point of this is to capture your details so that you can be sent promotional emails.

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Once the retailer has captured the details of the potential customer, it is important that certain factors are taken into consideration.

1. Mobile optimization is incredibly important for retailers (expandedramblings). Normally, there are images in the emails that retailers send out which highlight the product. If a customer is having to zoom in and out of an un-optimized email, the impact of the product is lost as well as the customer being frustrated.

2. Promos, competitions and sales aren’t essential. Retailers are lucky in that they are working with very visual products. Sometimes just showing new season clothes will be enough to make customers click through to the site paired with the right message and sense of urgency. Below are some examples. River Island used the subject line “Enhance your style with our shoes, bags + occasion wear” and used bold visuals to appeal to the customer.

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This next email was from Net-A-Porter. The subject line read “Must-have pieces to wear to work”. Again no mention of a sale or discount but they created a sense of urgency with the words “Must-have”. This was paired with a graphic named “The Chic List” with the “essential style update” continuing that sense of urgency.

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Fashion Bunker chose a tactic similar to Net-A-Porter by creating a sense of urgency within their subject line “Get Your Hands On Them Now!” This was then followed by an email filled with bright shots of clothes, graphic prints and lots of visuals.

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3. Retailers should use their email marketing to promote their social media channels (Practical E Commerce). As customers have willingly signed up to receive these emails, they are considered warm leads, and can be driven to your social media channels to improve your online klout. This is very easy to do and simply requires adding social buttons to your emails so that customers can easily click through into your various social media channels.

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4. Transactional emails: Transactional emails can deliver amazing results with the right messages to the ideal customer when timed properly. Transactional emails are those which confirm a purchase, notify a customer of shipping dates, explain a warranty etc. 60% of customers, don’t mind receiving marketing messages within these emails. Silverpop notes “Because these
messages reach customers at a time when they are most likely thinking about the company in a positive light, savvy marketers are eager to utilize transactional emails to enhance customer relationships, solidify branding and cross-sell and up-sell additional products”.

The opportunities for retailers are endless when it comes to email marketing. They can very quickly entice customers with visual graphics and by creating a sense of urgency. Retailers need to do more to incorporate their social media channels into emails as a means of cross promotion, and most importantly, retailers need to recognise the power of the transactional email. Nothing is more powerful to a company, than a customer who is open to their marketing message.

Expanded Ramblings: Driving Retail Sales with Email Marketing Made Easy

Silverpop: How Retailers Use Transactional Email

Practical E Commerce: 8 Ways to Integrate Social Media with Existing Marketing

Keeping your Business Social

Importance of Social Media in the Food Industry

Social media marketing is now considered more important than traditional print advertising in the food and beverage industry according to the Grant Thornton International Food and Beverage report, ‘Hunger for growth: Food and Beverage looks to the future’. The report revealed that nearly half (49%) of all food and beverage industry executives say social media is a top method of attracting and retaining customers compared with 46% for print advertising. A company website is viewed as the most important at 78%.

Over ninety percent of food industry executives agree that social media has completely changed the way consumers interact with their brand. Once thought of as an “extra” in marketing departments, social media is now a must-have, and one of the best ways to get results. It is estimated that over twenty thousand companies have a Facebook page for their business. With close to a billion people on Facebook, there is the ability for companies to target nearly any consumer group. The marketing department in Sainsbury’s claims that social media has been a great way for the company to reach out to their consumers via a more “holistic approach.” The ability for the company to have an open dialogue with customers gives Sainsbury’s a way to improve their business, thanks to direct feedback from customers via social media.

Smartphones is where most social media interactions happen. An increasing number of consumers are using smartphones and tablets to access product information while eating in restaurants and shopping in supermarkets. According to Scoop Business, 58% of people aged between 36 and 65, and 61% of younger adults, research products online, using smartphones or tablets, before going to a restaurant or when shopping at supermarkets.

In February 2010, Proctor & Gamble, makers of Old Spice, launched “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign with an online commercial starring former NFL player Isaiah Mustafa. He is shown towel-clad in his bathroom as he tries to convince female viewers to purchase Old Spice body wash so their men will be just like him, or at least smell like him. The commercial premiered on YouTube during Superbowl weekend and has since received more than 26 million views. Five months later, Old Spice decided to take things to the next level; they wanted to engage and communicate on a more personal, intimate level, and so “The Response Campaign” was born. On the morning of July 13, 2010, Old Spice posted a simple message to Facebook and Twitter causing the campaign to become a viral sensation. For two days, Mustafa, answered queries on Twitter via YouTube—producing more than 180 videos in real-time. The result from the campaign was phenomenal being the fastest growing and most popular interactive campaign in history. The results were:

  • Twitter following increased 2700%;
  • Facebook fan interaction went up 800%;
  • Traffic to Oldspice.com increased 300%;
  • And with more than 75 million views, Old Spice became the no.1 all-time most viewed branded channel on YouTube.

Case study from Zones of Social Media Marketing.

Timing is also important in Social Media. Posting and being available when your customers/ fans are online is important. You want to catch people during their downtime. You might need to get them early in the morning during their commute or “settling in” time at work, during lunch or in the evenings. It is also important to understand the timing may be different for their specific customer base or industry. Experimentation is recommended.

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From Entrepreneur.com