The very idea of social media as a networking tool has gone from foreign to essential; we simply cannot compete without strong social media efforts. In the growing world of omnichannel retail, a new term has arisen for the targeted, hyper-connected consumer: the SoLoMo Shopper. SoLoMo stands for Social, Local and Mobile, and basically describes in a nutshell how these shoppers operate.
Step one of this equation: Social Media
Point 1: It was announced a couple of days ago that Social media consultancy Wildfire has been acquired (for an undisclosed price) by, of all people, Google. The announcement is significant for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it underscores the value Google sees social playing out in its future. My point is that if you’re still on the fence or in the dark as to IF social should be a part of your strategic loyalty mix, you’re probably a question or two behind the curve.
Point 2: We’ve reviewed and commented on a number of new socially-enabled Loyalty apps over the past several months that are each to some degree gaining traction in their particular vertical. A few in particular seem to be doing nothing less than re-shaping the very transaction stream (i.e. Belly, Bunchball). And lately, new apps and approaches are continuing to appear at a blistering pace. Social is a fundamental change to our industry and the pace of that change can make your head spin. Fast.
So, where do you begin? A recent article in Business Insider offers what I think is a sensible way to step into, and get a glimpse of what our world is rapidly changing into.
Twitter: Obvious. If you can have one single social media outlet, make it twitter. An article by the Business Insider describes how Twitter now allows advertising companies to target an audience based on location.
This means you now have the ability to tweet to people specifically in the area of your store, giving you the option to offer local deals that people can see on twitter and then take advantage of in-store.
Real life application: Tweeting giveaways works great because it causes people to not only follow your feed, but to also retweet it. So something as simple as “the first 50 people to retweet this will be entered in a drawing for a free (whatever you determine the prize to be),” can quickly turn into a sort of viral marketing campaign. Oh, and it’s free.
Facebook: If you haven’t already, create a Facebook presence and then use it. A great advantage to Facebook is that it’s extremely photo compatible, and posting photos of new items that come in, or posters for discounts and sales, can foster a great deal of excitement and local support. An example of a Facebook business page can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/businessinsider
Real life application: When you get in a new collection, new item, or want to promote an upcoming event, then Facebook might be the best channel. Adding photo albums on Facebook allows potential consumers to see what you have, and find it at a nearby location, or follow a link to your website.
In the same vein, use the Facebook events pages to your advantage. Create an event for a special sale day, or weekend, or even item. Then invite people and encourage them to invite friends. Giving rewards based on how many additional people your loyal consumers can bring in is a great way to boost motivation.
Stumbleupon: gaining popularity, Stumbleupon now generates more traffic than any site except for Facebook, according to Business Insider. This site allows its users to literally “stumble upon” sites they would never have found before, based on their personal preferences and profile.
Real life application: With Stumbleupon now bringing in so much web traffic, it’s great not only to get your name out there, but also to see what other companies are doing. Set up a profile and start stumbling.
Instagram: recently bought by Facebook, Instagram is basically twitter with photos. This can be a great way to show off new products and use hashtags to connect with similar products on the market. It also interfaces seamlessly with Facebook and twitter, which means you can have consistency across all your major platforms. .
Real life application: Set up an Instagram account and start posting. With these types of platforms, your best bet is to just start following all the people you can. Check out the popular page, and follow those people. This is the easiest way to get people following you.
Post photos of new items, new deals, and even things beyond that. Does your company sponsor a charity? Post pictures of the work that they do. Do funny or interesting things happen in the office? Show off your people and culture, as well as your products and services. Give your company character and make people engage with you. This generation loves seeing companies as accessible and connectable.
These are just a few examples of the hundreds of Social Media sites and platforms out there. But it’s a good start to have a presence on these “big hitters” and then begin to expand out from there.
If resources are in abundance within your organization, then consider linking multiple Social Media outlets together for a comprehensive and more impactful approach.