Social Selling: Can Retail Compete By Using Social Media?

You hear it all the time, all businesses should be using social media or they can’t compete. But does social selling work for retail? Yes and no. Some forms of social media are great for retail, others, not so much.

So what doesn’t work? Retailer blogs. A survey done by Compete Inc. showed that less than 8% of shoppers read retailer blogs or forums. They may be a great way to reach others, but if you are relying on a retail Social Selling: Can Retail Compete By Using Social Media?blog to attract customers, don’t. A better idea may be to use the shorter blog functions on social networks like Pinterest or Tumblr.

There are a few things that work well. Facebook and Twitter pages do get traffic. Using it to post sales and promotions will get you noticed. Compete found that 55% of people visit Facebook pages ad 52.1% visit Twitter pages to keep up on offers, sales and the like. About half also visit and enter sweepstakes or giveaway contests on both sites. What works too is when other customers “like” or follow (for Twitter) your page. What happens is their friends see the “like” and come to see what is there that got their friend’s interest. Call it a virtual “word of mouth” that is very effective in getting you a broader range of potential new customers.

The key to which social media to use also depends on your target audience. The survey also made that very apparent. Here’s why. More men use Twitter for retail information, but people over 55 tend not to have a Twitter account and those who do don’t follow retailers. Twitter is good for getting information out quickly on daily sales and offers. More women use Facebook and Pinterest for shopping. Pinterest is a great creative outlet for retailers in food, lifestyle and fashion.

Social media is effective for retail, just know what works best for you and don’t spread yourself too thin using media that doesn’t work.

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