Friday, October 31, 2014

Do you want your online presence to stand out?

If you want to be known as the subject matter expert in your field, making sure your online presence stands out from the crowd has never been more important! Your online presence goes hand in hand with your online reputation, and we have provided some techniques to use to ensure you build your competitive advantage and increase your reputation & credibility online and above!

Create conversations

The digital space allows you to create conversations with your customers outside your place of business. Spaces like social media and your website should not just be about blasting promotional messages to your audience. You should post unique & interesting content which will form relationships with your target audience. For example, try posting interesting articles, blog posts, videos, photos or curate content from other experts in your field. People also love a feel good personal story!!

Be social

Being social is one of the best ways for businesses to establish trust and credibility online. People want to be able to ‘google’ you, or in fact ‘facebook search’ you. If you are not in that space, chances are your target audience will find your competitors. Many of our clients are concerned about how to use social media, so in many instances we manage it for them. However, there are some social rules that one needs to follow, such as listening to your customers and engaging with them, responding to any questions or complaints in a timely manner and being upfront and honest. If you want to know more about our social media services, contact us today.

Start a blog

A blog will help build your profile within your industry, presenting you as a subject matter expert. They also help build your SEO, which means attracting more traffic to your website. Bonus! Write about what interests you and your target audience, comment on industry updates or share your tips on how to achieve something. Blogs are really easy to set up, and can deliver real results for your business. How often should you blog? It depends upon the business but we recommend at least monthly, if not fortnightly. We develop & manage blogs as a part of our social media service, contact us today.

It’s all about that content 

In order to build trust and credibility with your customers, you need to offer website content that is valuable to your prospects and builds your subject matter expertise. It is important that you know your target market, and tailor your content around their FAQ’s.  Make sure you’re offering valuable information, not just promotional messages. Prospective customers also appreciate if you go over and above with your information. For example, if you’re a building company, why not provide helpful hints and tips for DIY home repairs or finding the best supplies. 

Collect testimonials

How often do you check the reviews of a product before purchasing? Providing testimonials gives your prospective customers confidence. People are increasingly researching products and services online and there are plenty of ways you can collect testimonials. For example, sending your customers a survey monkey, or asking your customers to complete a feedback form in-store. The more the merrier! 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

How can retailers use social media to grow?

Communicate with your customers
The most common barrier we find that prevents customers from purchasing in-store are caused by retailers insufficiently communicating with their customers and their employees, particularly if they are constantly busy. Social media provides an additional avenue to communicate with your customers on an interpersonal level, which increases engagement and loyalty.

Promote social engagement in-store
An opportunity that many retailers may be missing is promoting and encouraging social engagement in the store. American company, Nordstrom, started using its Pinterest fan base to identify popular products and encourage social engagement. These “most-pinned products” were then promoted in-store with special signage and unique merchandise designs. Other companies have used designated hash tags, encouraging customers to share images of themselves in-store by offering incentives.

Increase brand preference
Social media is all about defining your business’ personality. By doing this, your business will appear more ‘personable’ and ‘humanised’ and your customers will find you more relatable.

Share new products/services
Social media is a fantastic outlet to let your customers know when you have new stock arriving, or decide to offer them a new service. The visual nature of many platforms allows you to post images and allows your customers to share them.

Promote upcoming events
Are you having a sale? Social media is the perfect place to promote it. What about a special event? Facebook allows you to set up events within your page, driving foot traffic to your store and giving your customers something to look forward to!

Promote exclusive deals and offers
For retail outlets, using social media to offer special promotions to loyal followers not only allows instant sales, it also allows you to measure your effort based on the response. Encourage your followers to share the promotions for greater impact.

Share ‘employee picks’
This will not only personalise your business, it will make your employees feel special and that their opinion is valued. Plus, customers love recommendations!!

Integrate your social media platforms
It has never been easier to integrate your entire marketing campaign online, particularly with the use of hash tags and links. Encouraging your customers to visit your other social media networks and website is the most efficient way of driving online traffic, allowing your customers to connect with you on a range of platforms no matter which one they use.

Which social networks should you be using to grow your business?

Research shows that Australian businesses cannot afford to stay out of the online conversation, however only 66% of retailers said they have a social media strategy. So what’s stopping you?

The most common issue our clients have is a lack of both time and an understanding of how social media can work for their business. However, with the right management and effort, social media has proved that it can increase customer satisfaction, brand preference and drive sales. In fact, 40% of social media users have purchased items online or in-store after sharing or ‘liking’ them on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. So, how can you use social media to grow your business?

First of all, it is important to understand the social media networks that are most suitable for retailers.

Facebook is a large social network and is fantastic for retail businesses in terms of brand exposure and customer communication. It is a great place to engage existing customers and offer sales and promotions. Facebook advertising is a major benefit of the network as it allows you to direct traffic to your Facebook page or website. Why should you be on Facebook? If Facebook were a country its population would be the 3rd largest in the world, and in August 2014 there were 13,400,000 Australians on Facebook!

Instagram is a photo sharing network that allows businesses to post images instantaneously ‘on the line’ (ahh the Internship).

Pinterest is an online collaging resource for sharing inspiration and bookmarking links. It is the perfect place to display your product range, engage viewers through high quality images and give them free reign to browse and examine potential purchases.

YouTube is a video-sharing website popular for user-generated content, video clips, vlogging and tutorials.

Linkedin is a professional networking site which allows businesses to connect with other like-minded business, as well as acting as a recruitment device.

Twitter enables businesses to send text-based posts of up to 140 characters, allowing them to quickly respond to customers. It also allows you to provide a link, which can drive website traffic.

All these social media platforms not only also provide retailers with a wealth of information about their customers, it also allows businesses to easily measure ROI, both of which is extremely difficult through traditional media.