April 2nd, 2019

5 Ways Retail Brands Can Win on Social in 2019

Theresa Braun

Last month, Likeable brought together thought leaders and industry experts to share best practices and insights around how retail brands should be preparing for the future of social media. Take a look at our top five takeaways for how brands can rethink their content strategies.

1. Fear is getting in the way of great content.

No matter how much social media evolves, one thing will always be true: great content wins. In her opening keynote, Likeable CEO Carrie Kerpen shared four ways marketers often hold themselves back from greatness, along with tips for how to overcome those challenges:

  • We’re held back by fear. Commit to taking a risk—just pick one and stick with it.
  • We’re stuck in our own bubble. Step out of your own perspective, and pop your bubble by seeking out insights from people outside of your team, company, or industry.
  • We’re looking at other people’s highlight reels. It’s easy to get hung up on all of the great content we see from other brands as we’re scrolling through our feeds every day. Instead, gather the type of content you most aspire toward, and create your own reel.
  • We’re too focused on performance. Measurement is vital, but a singular focus can keep us from taking chances. Try putting aside 15 percent of content for experimenting.

2. Pinterest is a secretly powerful acquisition tool.

Although it’s thought of as an inspiration and visual discovery agent, Pinterest is also much more than that. A majority of Pinners use the platform throughout their path-to-purchase: 83 percent of weekly Pinners have made a purchase based on the content they saw from brands on Pinterest, and 57 percent of weekly Pinners have used Pinterest in store while shopping, according to a GfK US Pinterest Path to Purchase Study. Content from brands is clearly driving results on Pinterest: 77 percent of weekly Pinners have discovered a new brand or product on the platform, according to the same study. Ultimately, Pinterest is for planning, where users prepare in advance for holidays and key events. Brands looking to win on the platform should take an always-on approach for specific search terms and use trend insights to target people who are searching and saving seasonal ideas.

3. Customer loyalty is about more than just rewards.

In order to retain loyal customers, brands need to think beyond rewards and incentives and instead focus on creating everyday value. In a session titled “Customers Who Care: Loyalty & Affinity on Social Media,” Likeable’s senior content strategist Brian Leigh shared how brands can build affinity on social:

  • Stand for something. Pick a cause that matters to your audience, and double down on it. Whether it’s environmental issues or community values, what matters is that your audience cares about it, and that you deliver the message authentically.
  • Lead with video. Video generates more comments and shares than other content types, and has been shown to elicit a stronger emotional response than images on mobile. Without video, the bar for creating an emotional connection gets higher.
  • Allow for deep engagement. Optimizing content for social has more to do with speed than length: If you hook people early and give them a clear sense of what to expect, they will spend time with it. This applies to long-form video, episodic content, and web articles.
  • Socialize customer advocates. Consumers trust information from other consumers. Once you’ve built brand affinity, you’ll have a large group of consumers who support what you’re doing and want to tell people about it. With branded hashtags and focused CTAs, you can structure the conversation and drive it at scale.

4. Mother knows best (about what content will resonate).

Moms are a key target market for many retail brands. They’re also busier—and more connected—than ever. In an enlightening conversation with some real customers, we learned what moms are looking for from brands today: strong morals and values, transparency, and authenticity (no forced humor). Here are a few other tips for how moms want brands to talk to them on social media:

  • Spark authentic conversations around balancing all aspects of life.
  • They love being moms, so focus on celebration and inspiration—not stress.
  • Acknowledge that caretaking responsibilities are often shared within the household.

5. Find your tribe.

According to eMarketer, just 33 percent of retail marketers aren’t leveraging influencer marketing of any kind. As the trend grows, brands need to know how to best co-create content and expand their reach by finding the right influencer partners. Brittany Hennessy, author of Influencer: Building Your Personal Brand in the Age of Social Media, shared a few key pieces of advice for how brands can effectively partner with influencers. First, when identifying potential partners, look at current shoppers, online followers, and customers/followers of your competitors. When establishing a partnership, make sure to deliver a creative brief that sets expectations and ensures that content remains on-brand. Deliverables and terms should also be clear to ensure that you get what you need out of the program and that you have full usage rights to the content afterward.

Ultimately, the key to social media for retail brands boils down to this: When you tell your story authentically through great content that resonates with your consumers, you’ll not only see success in numbers, but you’ll start to create true and loyal customer advocates as well.

Tags: Best Practices, Pinterest, Strategy

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