Building Your Retail Brand Through Social Media

Sunday, July 18, 2010 | 9:33 PM

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Photo Courtesy of DreamsTime

In order to promote your brand and boost sales, aggressive marketing campaigns are a necessity. When you take a look at some of the biggest and most successful companies in the world, their branding strategies are clearly defined. Take L’Oreal, one of the main leaders in the cosmetics and beauty industry. Their slogan "because you’re worth it" generates excellent brand awareness and is highly reputable internationally. Subsequently, this leads to increased sales and in turn, increased profits.

However, these huge companies also have large advertising budgets. What if you are a smaller company? Maybe even a start up and you want to implement the best brand building strategy. What can you do? The life saving strategy is called "social media", which is not only cost effective but is extremely worthwhile. Social media networks are free and easy to use. Social media coupled with your other advertising, online and offline, can really make a difference to help boost your brand. It has become an integral part of retail businesses marketing plans. Twittering has overtaken blogging as it’s faster, shorter and more concise. Emails are slightly more personal whereas Twitter lets you connect through one simple line and removes the difficulty of reaching out to people who you may not even know their email address. 1/3 of Twitter users talk brands. A recent research study by ROI Research found 33% of Twitter users share opinions about companies or products while 32% make recommendations and 30% ask for opinions[1].

Social media not only encourages customer interaction but allows you, the business owner, to stay in touch with current customer’s and helps maintain and retain relationships. You can also receive feedback instantaneously and answer customers questions immediately. All the while, building brand awareness and customer loyalty.

Twitter usage grew from a few million user’s in 2009 to over 20 million in 2010. In 2011, Twitter adoption is expected to grow to 32 million and 36 million in 2012[1]. Social media has enabled companies to actively engage with their everyday customers. The new age WOM “word-of-mouth” has provided customers with instant gratification, as they are now receiving answers and recommendations in a very short space of time.

Four important points for building your social media strategy:
  • Know your audience - one social media Network will work for some, but not for others. You need to find what works best for you and your target market.
  • Define a clear strategy about what you want to achieve as well as effectively allocating time and resources.
  • Try different forms of social media to find out what works best for your specific audience. Trial and error is the solution to success.
  • Measure. Measure. Measure. It is extremely important to measure the impact of your strategy.