By Derek Eccleston
Social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, have long proved their worth to retailers as a marketing, communication and engagement tool. With new and emerging social media sites, such as Google+ springing up throughout 2012, retailers are beginning to branch out their efforts in order to engage with a much wider online audience.
The Social Media Benchmark has been documenting the growth of retailers on social media sites for the past two years, and has consistently found that those who invested in the channels early continue to dominate the league tables today. Retailers looking to make the most of users from across new platforms should ensure that they have an active presence from the offset and can continue to build on this going forward.
The latest study also suggests that retailers are beginning to refocus their efforts back towards user engagement, with interactive features such as in-built games, rather than focusing on sales and Facebook stores, as several high profile retailers, including ASOS, close their fCommerce avenues. Unlike Facebook stores, there appears to be a real desire from users to interact with games from within their social media accounts, and therefore ‘gamification’ of content is a great way to create additional engagement around a brand.
Social media is a great tool for retailers and brands alike. It’s the first step in creating a community around your brand, engaging with customers and harnessing insight from what they have to say. Our own consumer behaviour studies in recent months have shown that it has become increasingly clear that the majority of consumers don’t want to make a purchase through their Facebook account, and would rather visit a retailers website direct. Therefore, retailers need to refocus their efforts on working to engage users and create a community of advocates for a brand, and including interactive features, such as games, helps towards achieving this.
eDigitalResearch also measured retailers ‘talking about’ numbers for their Facebook pages, a Facebook measurement that takes into account user activity and interactions with brands, such as wall posts, comments and sharing pages. Results in the past have suggested that numbers often correspond with follower numbers. However, this time around, retailers Net-A-Porter, Marks & Spencer and Tesco all have a higher than average talking about number, demonstrating the positive impact that regular brand activity can have on social media strategies.
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About the author and eDigitalResearch
Derek Eccleston is Head of Research at eDigitalResearch.
eDigitalResearch are research specialists with expertise in online business. When you have to make critical business decisions – we can give you the precise multichannel insight and informed direction you need. Surveys, panels and communities combine to provide holistic insight which gives clients the confidence and evidence to make crucial decisions on product range, marketing, customer service, supply chain and even basic positioning. For more information please visit www.edigitalresearch.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.