Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 | 6 min read
For today’s top retailers, social media isn’t only about making a splash; it’s about boosting sales, creating brand evangelists, and standing the test of time. According to Boston Retail Partners, while 69% of retailers see opportunities to make use of social media to enhance the customer experience, a whopping 81% of retailers believe their processes for doing so need improvement.
Innovative retailers like ASOS, Casper, and Staples have taken note of social trends, and have all found ways to make their mark in today’s social stratosphere. They may sell differently, brand differently, and employ different tactics to tell their stories, but they all have one thing in common: a winning social media marketing strategy.
Here are some insights into the methods behind their social-savvy madness.
ASOS is a fashion-forward retailer with a secret weapon: ASOS-affiliated stylists. These “insiders” each have their own Instagram accounts that showcase a lifestyle associated with the ASOS brand. Better yet, there’s an insider for every style and shape: androgynous, 90s, plus-size, vintage, streetwear, and many more.
While ASOS makes personal style icons widely accessible on Instagram, they take it a step further on their retail site: they make insiders’ unique looks shoppable — meaning consumers can buy more than clothes; they can buy a look that’s already been vetted by a style icon they admire.
This lookbook approach works for today’s consumers because it provides a comfortable, curated (and limited) set of options. It simplifies an otherwise complex decision: whether to buy.
Office Space is still so funny after all these years because it parodies a corporate culture many of us know all too well. Staples stays current on social media by poking fun at much of the same — by finding the humor in everyday office life. Whereas Staples was once a one-stop shop for all things essential in the back to school and office supply realms, it’s now a mecca for smart messaging.
Over a decade ago, Staples gave us the unassuming “Easy Button,” and now they’re giving us…a menorah made from pencils? A vampire made from a staple remover? A burger made from stickies? Every creative impulse you’ve ever had within the confines of a cubicle has come to life on Staples’s Instagram — perfect for scrolling through at the water cooler.
But their social prowess doesn’t end with Instagram. Office supplies aside, Staples is also tackling everyday technology woes like a cracked phone screen. With their #MobileMishaps sweepstakes, users are invited to share the story behind their damaged phone on Twitter and Facebook for the chance to win a $50 Staples e-gift card. Users can see each other, connect with Staples, and see themselves featured on the Staples’s site.
Considering $50 isn’t much, it’s an easy way to increase user engagement on social media and brand themselves as fun and relatable.
Casper, famous for their comfortable mattresses sold at an equally comfortable price point, has made sleep trendy again (or perhaps for the first time). They won gold at the 8th annual Shorty Awards (an annual awards show that recognizes the best in social media) for “bringing bedtime back.”
Not only is Casper’s Twitter account fraught with bedtime puns and I’d-rather-be-sleeping one-liners, but they also run their own editorial site, Van Winkle’s, which provides a journalistic approach to the science and culture of sleep. Their topics run the gamut — from political dream interpretation to the correlation between burnout and insomnia and beyond.
As Casper said, “Everybody sleeps, but not everyone is in the market for a new mattress. We care as much about making sure everyone gets their best rest possible (no matter what mattress they’re sleeping on) as much as we care about our own products.”
Selling a product is no longer enough; consumers want information. Millennials in particular want to be kept in the know with today’s brands. Casper wins over millennials every day with their clever use of social media. Recently, they even offered to write “the best late note [your] boss has ever gotten” for Twitter users.
They go the extra mile to show consumers that they’re edgy, human, and funny — three things that don’t automatically spring to mind when you think of a mattress company.
It’s not always easy to tell a future viral sensation from a flop. And in some sense, according to Forrester analyst Jessica Liu, there are no “right” social KPIs. But there are a few ways to measure the quantitative impact of social media initiatives — namely, by focusing on key areas of impact: business, marketing, and content.
Map the customer life cycle, examine the ways in which customers are moving from one phase to another via social, and invest time on social analytics. If you monitor the relevance of your content, you’ll see what resonates with consumers.
Ultimately, successful retailers all use social listening to pay attention to everything that’s being said about their brand, not just the good stuff. That way, they can pinpoint problem areas, better understand the perception of their business, and win consumers over with their own unique brand of social media.