With social media now in its adolescence, and the recent Google ‘Panda - and Penguin updates’, a reconsideration of traditional online marketing strategies is needed – for retailers in particular.
Google’s updates make both a steady stream of new content, and natural backlinks from social media platforms increasingly important for natural search rankings. Consequently, more companies are embracing social media marketing to meet their marketing objectives and reach customers. In this guest post, Jacqueline Rose, Features Writer from The Furniture Market
gives an overview of how social media can be utilised by marketers within the furniture industry.
Reaching the demographic
In any industry, marketing tactics are needed to deliver messages from the brand to the consumer. Before a business can decide on the right channels for its marketing messages, the external market environment needs to be considered.
The customer is integral to the external audit and as a result all strategic planning and executed communications must be aligned with their consumption habits to achieve success. These habits are in a constant state of evolution and have been since the two-way dialogue became established between the brand and the customer – in other words, social media became a driving force and a space where users spent increasingly more time. This change has resulted in collaboration, interactivity and participation among individuals on the social web.
Enhancing the customer experience
Consequently, brands became more active and transparent when communicating with their customers/prospective customers on a one-to-one basis, in order maximise the reach of their messages and offer another dimension to their customer service. The ultimate aim of this activity is to deliver messages from the brand to the consumer, engaging consistently to stimulate a conversion.
Certainly, in order to gain loyal customers and stimulate brand advocacy, a different kind of communication or promotional mix is needed to that of raising awareness or providing product knowledge.
But also the product category determines the way a brand speaks to the target audience. It must be considered that, buying decisions for products of higher value or with long buying cycles (e.g. cars, furniture) tend to take much longer, as opposed to the decision making for impulse buys that come at a lower cost and risk. Considering this, brands need to be mindful of how they measure and track the success of their social marketing which is not always an easy task if the conversion journey is not instantaneous.
Furthermore, the beauty of the social web is its ability to offer an array of opinions; therefore before making purchasing decisions, often a prospective buyer will consult friends via social platforms, blogs, review centres and more before they make a transaction.
Platforms and places
It must also be assured that the media which transports the message is suited to the content of the message. As posts, tweets and pins are limited in their size and extent, the consumer obviously needs another source, where he/she gets the desired detailed information. Thus, platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter may also be great platforms to raise awareness and to lead the prospect to the brands’ website. For instance, statistics of Shopify showed that their referral traffic came to a high extend from Facebook (26.4%), followed by Twitter and Pinterest (3.6%). However, referrals from Pinterest are 10% more likely to buy, this is particularly the case for retail brands due to the visual nature of the platform and its ability to drive traffic to the individual source.
Thus, social media can support customer acquisition activities by raising awareness for the brand. Moreover, viral effects through social sharing, commenting and linking may increase the reach for a message significantly.
In short every retail brand needs to be utilising social media marketing tactics if they aren’t already. Consumer buying behaviour is seeing a substantial shift from offline to online – if brands want to reap the benefits, they need to develop a presence.
About Jacqueline Rose:
This guest post is written by Jacqueline Rose, Features Writer for The Furniture Market
, a customer driven furniture retail business which offers individually selected modern furniture and accessories for the home and garden.
Furniture World Magazine-Business solutions for furniture retailers