Are you a good listener? You should be. Because your business depends upon it.
Smart, objective-driven social listening is critical for any retail brand seeking deeper relationships with shoppers.
Some brands do it well. Some do it not at all. I recommend going with the former strategy. A social listening effort is mandatory for marketers who must know who their shopper really is, and what she really wants. Here are some ways to amp up your social listening effort:
Let competitors do the heavy lifting.
Competition is everywhere – and more intense than it’s ever been. This is especially true for brick and mortar stores trying to thrive against ecommerce giants like Amazon and hot start-ups such as Stitch-Fix that offer extremely personalized experiences.
Savvy retailers use social listening to monitor their competitors – and their customers – to gather perspective on:
- What consumers love about their competitors – so they can provide it in their own way, and gain market share
- What consumers hate about the competition – so they can offer a better customer experience with their own brand
- What new trends are cropping up beyond their personal brand’s world, and in their category as a whole
Once you know what other brands are doing, you can create messaging and strategies that set your brand apart and above.
Show the shopper some love.
The only way to get shoppers to care about your campaigns is to make sure your marketing addresses things they care about. It sounds obvious, but too often brands assume they know what consumers are into instead of actually finding out directly from the source.
Social media offers an always-on resource full of exactly the information you need to speak to shoppers’ desires. Those desires – those passions – are the keys to making meaningful connections.
Shoppers’ social posts are full of everything they admire, yearn for, appreciate and despise. The retailer who speaks to those shoppers in authentic, human ways becomes one of the things they love.
Remember to track the results of campaigns in real-time to know where the audience stands in the real-time moment so that it’s possible to adjust any low-performing strategies while there’s still time to right the course.
Prepare for the rain, even when skies are sunny.
No one wants to think about a crisis happening, but if it does, being unprepared makes everything worse. The best way to ensure a brand’s survival at such a time is to actively monitor conversations on social media to see the first signs of trouble brewing.
Keep an eye on industry-level issues like online retail and inventory, as well as negative sentiment at the shopper level. These can indicate situations that are in danger of erupting into much bigger headaches (or disasters)
Use social media monitoring tools to be alerted to use of high-risk keywords and worrisome conversation volumes. Have a plan in place for dealing with potential crises (with all involved leaders aware of their roles).
Use every snippet of intel at your disposal.
There’s no single information source that will tell you everything about your shopper, so social data isn’t a replacement for other sources of information. It’s a complement.
Sales data, demographics, focus groups, surveys and psychographics work with data from social media to create a comprehensive, specific shoppers persona; one that retail marketers can leverage to gain stellar customer loyalty.
Use these insights to create Shopper Moments that delight audiences and makes them want to talk more – and more positively – about your brand on their social channels. Identify and reward your most devoted brand advocates and influencers and they’ll help you reach consumers wary of being marketed to.
It doesn’t matter how long a brand has been in business, or how long they have been at the top of the food chain – any brand can fall off of the shopper’s radar if it doesn’t continue to evolve to meet a changing shopper and an evolving marketplace.