Group of diverse people holding emoticon icons how retailers use social media

A lot has changed for social media in the past year. Fortunately, the platforms are the same. And social media still increases foot traffic, as well as pre-sells customer decisions. Obviously, businesses should continue to build their presence, but how retailers use social media is fundamentally changing.

Post Stories

This year, retailers should focus on their stories. Of course, some retail segments have better stories than others, but they often focus too much on the product and not enough on the consumer. That’s exactly what a story can do.

Why the change? The way people consume social media has changed. In the past, visibility was the key to more reach. Then, recommendations gave the platforms more potential for new ways of engaging their audience. Today, there are more choices to pick from and consumers have less attention to do it. That’s why they engage only with something compelling—something they are emotionally drawn to.

Stories Contain Emotion

Every good retail story has a beginning. There are some great stories with good beginnings, and good stories with great beginnings. So, a successful story needs to be interesting—engaging, and emotional. These stories also contribute to the company’s narrative.

How does a retailer do that? First, they need to know what differentiates them from their competition. Usually, they have very different stories. Some describe how the business started. Others are about how the business has evolved over the years. The newest stories are about community involvement and going “Green” for the environment. Each of these have emotional themes that capture more attention and engagement.

Begin with the Basics

It all starts with planning. Making a story requires strategic decisions that will define the theme and characters. That’s right, characters. Every good story has characters and they are far more engaging than products. Whether it’s customers or the salespeople, the characters make-or-break an engaging story.

The easiest way to build a story is make an outline. This acts as a guide to exactly what needs to be posted and when. Writing down the highlights within an outline also gives the marketing team a “heads up” on what should come next. The team will be better prepared and ready to find the best content that will fill in the details. They, in turn, become more creative.

Be Consistent, Be Strategic

Building a narrative is a more strategic way of posting to social media. Plus, maintaining a year-round presence on any of the social media platforms takes a lot of planning ahead. Content strategies are more than editorial calendars. They take time and effort to create a path toward a successful campaign. And they need goals to shoot for, like these:

  • Solidify the base.
  • Attract a new generation to capture more revenue.
  • Energize the brand.
  • Engage with the sales force

Each post contributes to the story that leads toward one or more of these goals.

Offer A Good Mix

How retailers use social media has changed. And for the better. The typical sale or coupon remains part of the social media mix, as well as the eye-catching product photos. The difference is to not bore followers with the same thing, over-and-over. Tell them a story and there’s a better chance that they will tell a friend.