In 2021, you should already be aware of how critical social media is in increasing sales and brand awareness of your retail store. By now, your store and products should have a presence on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google My Business, and others, and a healthy grasp on where your customers are in the social media world. While this is standard for retailers small and large alike, it’s easy for even the most social media savvy retailers to make common mistakes when engaging with their customers online.
Whether you are just getting started or consider yourself an expert, here are five commonly-made mistakes that you don’t have to learn the hard way.
Ignoring the Latest and Greatest Features
While social media is ever-evolving in its latest features and upgrades, it wouldn’t serve your store well to ignore these unique ways to find your audience and make it easier for them to shop your products. That’s because, now it’s more convenient than ever for your customers to find what they’re looking for on social media and make a purchase right away using the likes of Instagram Shop and Facebook Marketplace.
With Instagram Shop, retailers can upload their store offerings to their Instagram profile and complete transactions without leaving the app. All you need is an Instagram Business account, a Facebook page, and a product catalog. Similarly, retailers can set up a Facebook Shop and sell directly from Facebook Marketplace. These tools make it easy to advertise your business and create a seamless shopping experience for your customers.
You might’ve also noticed other changes added to the Instagram experience like Reels (Instagram’s answer to Tiktok’s bite-sized video feed) and Swipe Up, so you can add a link to your Stories (instead of being limited to the link in your bio). The key takeaway is social media channels are constantly updating and introducing something new. You don’t want to be left behind or missing out on a better way to get your products out there.
Letting Your Content Become Predictable
Today, it’s all about content. And boring content is the kiss-of-death for retailers on social media. With content overload being a thing, it’s important and highly beneficial to stand out in the crowd of other retailers, hot influencers, and, just…noise. Even worse, you don’t want to become ignored by posting stagnant or predictable content that does not encourage interaction or excitement.
Luckily, there are many ways to spruce up your content that social media channels like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter offer easily. Most platforms give users the ability to stream live video into their feeds which is now the go-to tool for retailers when promoting events or specials in real time. There are also clever ways to use Instagram Reels as 15 to 30 second commercials about your new product or seasonal store front.
Content not only includes your amazing product offerings, but it also encompasses your brand voice, your reputation, and your authentic expression. Use your creative imagination to speak to your audience in a fun, captivating way that aligns with your story and overall messaging.
Posting Inconsistently or at Ineffective Times
Think of your social media activity as an ongoing relationship with your customers. If you don’t post for a few days – or suddenly stop responding to your followers – it’s a guarantee it will lead to unfollows and decreased engagement from your social audience.
To prevent this, set a goal for how many daily social media posts you will do on each channel, and don’t hesitate to utilize Hootsuite or Sprout Social to help you preplan your posts when you know you will be busy.
“How often should you post” is another consideration. Typically, the answer to that question varies but averages to about one post a day on Facebook and Instagram and up to 14 times a day on Twitter. Be mindful because posting too little may lead to disengagement and posting too much may cause fatigue. There are a number of factors that might shape your results, but ultimately, your best bet is to test your social audience and see what works for them based on your own conversion goals.
The same can be said for what day and time you should post your content. Yes, a wide consensus says mornings on weekdays for Facebook and Twitter, and there’s a sweet spot right before the afternoon rush hour for Instagram, but there really is no universal perfect time to post on social media. Again, it’s all about what your customers will react to. Take some time to create a strategy that allows you to test and adjust based on your own discovery.
Forgetting to Respond to Customers
One of the biggest mistakes any company, especially a retailer, can make is to not respond to their customers. Customers have zero patience when it comes to waiting for brands to respond to their questions and comments on social media. In fact, now 40 percent of consumers expect brands to respond within the first hour of reaching out on social media, while 79 percent expect a response in the first 24 hours. What does this mean for your company? When engaging with customers on social media, it’s important to respond as soon as possible to avoid losing out on sales and online engagement.
Of course, you can’t be on social media all of the time, so consider ways to handle online customer service without compromising response time. This may mean allocating employees to watch social media during certain time frames or setting store standards on how to respond to specific inquiries.
This goes for both positive and negative feedback. We all know the risks taken by not responding to a bad review or concern, but also have some fun by engaging with your best customers who speak positively about your brand. You have their support, so don’t ignore them! It is major to treat social media like a conversation, not just a lecture.
Ignoring Your Advocates
Which brings us to our last mistake. All too often, retailers focus on posting the type of content that is meant to sell to their target customers, while neglecting the customers who already know and love their products. These can be considered your advocates, or customers who are so excited about your products, they are even willing to recommend you to a friend or colleague. They’re also gung-ho about posting on their own social media pages with pictures of them using or wearing your products.
Instead of constantly selling to gain new followers, likes, and more engagement, don’t forget to check in with who’s already there. Plus, user-generated content (UGC) is a hugely effective selling tool. In fact, although influencer marketing is considered the fastest-growing consumer acquisition channel, consumers find UGC 9.8 times more impactful than influencer content when making a purchasing decision.
When considering quality over quantity, these are the type of customers you want to nurture. Make sure to include content that speaks to these valuable regulars throughout your profile or page.
You’ve Got This!
Using social media in the most effective way can give you a huge boost in sales or it can be just another marketing channel you’re spending a lot of time and resources on. Avoid these pitfalls and your social media channels will move your retail business in a positive direction.