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With more than 2 billion active social media users worldwide in the current day and a projected growth of 25% each year, it is foolish if your retail business is still not tapping on the vast potential these channels have on your sales and marketing profits.

It could be that some retail businesses find social media overwhelming since there are tons of networks available and they are always multiplying or updating platform features that could be challenging for you to implement.

Despite, that is no excuse for you not to get started on crafting a social media strategy, as these channels can be highly effective for driving large traffic to your retail eCommerce or website. Also, social proof is big these days, and brands don't just gain attention but establish recognition and trust through a credible online reputation.

In a holistic inbound strategy for your retail businesses, a social media strategy is fundamental. Leveraging social media smartly and suitably allows you to build trust, engage customers, generate high quality leads and establish yourself as a thought leader in your business industry. 

 

The Role of Social Media in Inbound Marketing

Properly leveraging social media allows you to:

  • Create awareness for your content
  • Build thought leadership as a authoritative, leading content publisher
  • Build trust and engage customers through interactive content
  • Generate high quality leads
  • Increase web traffic and brand awareness

As we focus on the key roles social media has within inbound marketing, we also draw attention to how important social media content is in a retail inbound campaign, facilitating the success of a digital retail strategy, one that many businesses are failing in, with the saturation of online noise and fierce competition among digital retailing stores fighting for the piece of a pie in today's digital world.

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How Social Media Helps with Inbound Lead Generation In A Digital Retail Strategy

Social media can be used at every stage of the inbound marketing strategy. It is a powerful platform that can help you build a strong inbound marketing foundation for your retail business.

Social media is a cost effective yet un-intrusive way of reaching millions of your desired audience, hence potential customers through titillating content and merchandise offers. Remember that people are the best promoters of your products to others, if your posts are shared and widespread to other groups, this adds authority and credible advertising more than an outbound commercial you see. Where better to spread your marketing messages than on relevant, active social platforms your potential customers are browsing and interacting at, multiple times daily.

As we focus on the key roles social media has within inbound marketing, we also draw attention to how important social media content is in a retail inbound campaign, facilitating the success of a digital retail strategy, one that many businesses are failing in, with the saturation of online noise and fierce competition among digital retailing stores fighting for the piece of a pie in today's digital world.
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The social media content your business puts out in every platform will facilitate the 4 progressive stages through the inbound methodology. You should be promoting your retail content across social platforms from the 'attract' to 'delight' stages to generate new qualified leads. Hence, your social media content is a highly essential and crucial component to the success of your marketing campaigns. Businesses are using social media to drive traffic, generate leads, nurture them and congregate a loyal community customer base that they can continue to engage and delight with new content, turning them into brand and product promoters in the long run.

For a retail business, use social media to attract visitors by sharing exciting, valuable educational content about your product, service or industry news across various channels that you've researched your target audiences eg. millennials to be at. Convert these traffic into leads by offering visitors interesting updates or special offers that are able to entice them into being a solid member of your business whether is it as a subscriber or a successful recepient of your discount offers.

Close these propsective customers through the channels you observe they interact most though social monitoring, provide them the value that they want at the right time, appropriately through these channels. Continue to delight your customers after closing them as customers by sending them more discounts and offers according to their purchase interest. Make them feel special and valued through unique ways of engagement even post-sale, increasing their chances of being a loyal, repeated customer of your brand.

Social media helps you get your painstakingly created inbound content out to your desired audience. It's not very wise to neglect these platforms where so many interactive audiences, especially the millennial generation, are at. At every stage of the inbound methodology, social media is vital.

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With very advanced advertising functions on social media platforms like Linked in, Facebook, Instagram or even We Chat in this modern day, you are able to get your retail brand and marketing content in front of a high targeted and segmented audience, expanding or narrowing the targeting according to the objectives of your marketing campaign.

With added budget, you can appear in front of specific age groups eg. milennials, corporates and their buying behaviour, matching them with your inbound marketing strategy's buyers persona.

social media(Hootsuite)

Integrating Social Media With Other Retail Marketing Channels

No matter how effective and robust our marketing channels, they won't work alone. A successful retail inbound marketing strategy is one that is intergrated with a combination of many tactics.

They’re all interconnected. By including social as a component of your other marketing strategy, you provide the groundwork that ensures the consumers of your content will easily recognize your brand at a glance—from a Facebook post to your website. Anything less than a seamless experience can send a consumer packing.

-Sprout Social, 2018

Social Media + Search Marketing
With the data you have gained from your social media reports, there are buying behaviours or patterns that you can analyze, learning more about your audience. With this precious knowledge, you are able to create more search engine optimised content. With backlinks you get from successfully built relationships over time, epecially from worthy brand avocates, the promotion and sharing of your content material whether on another authorative website, social channel, blog or any network helps with your retail business rankings in Google's SERP.

The higher you rank in the SERPS, the higher searchability of your retail promotions and brand. Hence, every piece of your social media content should be crafted with SEO in mind, and consistently optimised for search.

Social Media + Content Marketing
Social media marketing is content marketing. With collected data on the behaviour and needs of a target audience along with analysis on how different targeted persona use the different social channels at different buying stages of their journey, customise your social content strategy to meet the right audiences at the right time with the right content.

Craft user generated content to provide them the value they can benefit from your brand as an industry expert. Craft user generated content and highly personalised social content, users only bother with content that are relevant and of interest to them.

Social Media + Email Marketing
Your website and social media channels should be encouraging readers to sign up to your email list. Haven't you heard about the wonders of email marketing? It is great for sending out targeted emails, nurturing your prospective leads by offering them valuable content that ushers them gently down the sales funnel. Your emails shoudl have easy "follow us" social link buttons to enable your readers to be able to easily connect with you.

iMailCampaign’s is an fully integrated email marketing platform allowing you to take your entire marketing campaign from a holistic view, although the growth of social media is skyrocketing, email marketing remains the almost surefire way to reach people. Hence having a full social media and email marketing integrated strategy will be very ideal for your retail business.

Social Media + Influencer Marketing
A survey by Dana Rebecca Designs found that 72 percent of respondents had made a fashion, beauty, or style purchase after seeing something on Instagram. Instagram is overwhelmingly the platform of choice for social influencers.

78% identify the photo-sharing site as their top platform for collaborating with brands. Sponsored Instagram posts generated a billion likes in 2017.

(Hootsuite, 2018)

Other than social media ads, which almost every brand is hopping on to do, how does your retail brand maintain its presence in your user's social media feeds? Consumers of the modern day might not be totally convinced by your advertising messages, however if there is a real person advocating your brands, especially one that is well liked and a good endorsement fit, they tend to have large persuasive power.

Influencer marketing is not new, it has recently largely incorporated by marketers due to its great effectiveness due to higher social credibility. Where better than to reach out to your audience with influencer marketing than social media channels and platforms?

 

Conclusion

According to the Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs research for 2017, 89% of B2B content marketers in North America use LinkedIn, 77% use Twitter, and 76% use Facebook to distribute content.  We can be very certain that today, social media is not just a fallacy or a marketing tactic that is "optional". To drive in store traffic or just your eCommerce store you'd still need a full inbound marketing strategy with a strong social media presence. 

Most shoppers today turn to social media for retail and often look for help with buying decisions. With this drastic but evident shift, consumers paved a whole new buying journey we marketers and retailers have to keep up with, or face being drown out by strong, capable competitors.

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