Don’t be afraid of the big bad social media wolf

January 24, 2018

January 8/15, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 15

By Lindsay Baillie

 

The terms “digital marketing” and “social media” have been around for quite some time. In fact, most everyone in the flooring industry is talking about how to capture the new wave of consumers via social media sites and strong digital strategies. However, despite social media’s growing popularity, some flooring dealers are still hesitant to enter the digital space.

According to digital marketing experts, social media is no longer a choice for retailers. To stay current and capture the consumer in 2018, dealers have to make an effort to incorporate social media into their digital strategies.

Following are four reasons to no longer fear social media and embrace it.

1. It’s a crucial part to growing your business. While some dealers are still finding success in traditional forms of advertising, such as print and TV, experts suggest social media is an even greater outlet for growing business.

Lisbeth Calandrino, FCNews columnist and retail industry consultant, suggests retailers ask themselves the following questions: Are you trying to get new customers? Are you trying to keep the customers you already have? “If your answers to those questions are yes, then you have to begin looking at the tools available to get those results,” she explained. “Those tools are all available on social media.”

She added, “If you don’t start using the tools, you’ll find yourself so far behind you won’t know where to start.”

2. It’s where the people are. One of the main reasons social media can help retailers grow their businesses is because their customers are interacting with each other on these platforms. Not only does social media expose consumers to various products and businesses, it provides a platform for creating potential referrals.

“Just as it’s important to network in real life, it’s important to be doing the same on social networks where your customers are,” said Christine Whittemore, chief simplifier, Simple Marketing Now. “You can learn where your customers are by asking questions such as, ‘Where do you like to go for ideas?’”

Whittemore also suggests retailers make sure they have the right messaging on social media instead of simply blasting posts about sales. “You’re better off getting ahead of it and getting involved so you can answer questions, address feedback and show off how vibrant your business is.”

3. You can monitor your customers’ reactions to products and services. Social media allows retailers to generate more exposure to their stores’ brands. In addition, it helps them gauge consumer trends and sentiments regarding recently purchased products and services.

“Savvy retailers will see social media as a means of monitoring ‘the temperature’ of their customer relations and general satisfaction,” explained Paul Friederichsen, marketing expert and owner of BrandBiz. “After all, wouldn’t you rather know you’ve got a problem so you can address it?”

According to Friederichsen, there exists a fear of social media concerning things like negative comments and low ratings. However, as a site’s administrator, the retailer has the power to control the majority of those fears. If  retailers receive a negative comment, they have the ability to respond and solve the problem.

4. There are resources available to help. Social media is, by nature, social. People are always available with suggestions of what to post, when and how. There are even tips available via the platforms to help any retailer get started.

What’s more, retailers can practice social media on personal accounts before executing a business profile. As Whittemore explains, “If you have a [personal] social profile and can experiment a little, then you’ll be more comfortable using it for the business. Break it into mangeable pieces, roughly 30 minutes a week.”

Beyond using a personal account, retailers can have multiple employees take part in running a business page. “If everyone in your organization becomes an ambassador for your business it’s easier,” Whittemore said. “What’s tricky about social networks is they’re about people. When you have a page for your business it gets a little murky because the business isn’t really a person. How do you project the caring [nature] and personalities of your people on your network?”

In the same vein, retailers can also ask employees to use their personal accounts to generate leads and traffic to the business’s account.

Retailers can also utilize various online programs to help run successful social media campaigns. Friederichsen suggests looking into program subscriptions that will help monitor, plan and track social media activities, such as HootSuite and Sprout.

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