During the 2012 London Olympics, Nike conducted a massive social campaign. It substituted celebrity endorsements with everyday athletes, and hosted billboards featuring the ‘#findgreatness’ hashtag across the city. Clearly the brand made social media channels the focal point of its timely campaign and opted to go all out with a well-integrated campaign.
The point I wish to make here is, seamless execution and pushing the ‘social media envelope’ cannot happen in isolation or work on its own. The process can only be hastened if you are able to craft a long term social media strategy. So what are its ingredients? Which are the elements integral to your broader social plan to make it successful? What is the apt social media strategy for the Retail Industry? Let’s take a quick glance at them:
Carry focused research, albeit with an open mind
It’s always a good idea to carry out elaborate research. Closely monitor what your immediate competition is currently doing. Get basic presumptions and insights from your research data but do not over-theorize. Apply the findings in a practical manner with a touch of innovation to stand apart from the clutter. Retail brands have such a vast spectrum to engage so they need to put in extra efforts but the rewards will be equally handsome.
Plan, Plan & Plan!
Plan well in advance. In other words, don’t ever keep strategy part or logistical aspects in limbo until last minute. Be it weekend promotions, holidays or simply your day-to-day activity, have a precise action plan ready beforehand. Ensure that people at all levels of your organization – within and outside – will stick to it. Collaborate and streamline marketing efforts using tools like Google docs. Often, a young, inexperienced employee or already over-occupied marketer is assigned these crucial tasks in an effort to cut costs, which is not advisable. The planning stage demands expertise, vision and ample experience to foresee things.
Get creative and be ready to experiment
It always helps to be flexible, creative and willing to experiment. This is where a touch of experimentation will come into play. Do not try and emulate others though the target audience that you want to address will broadly be the same. Adopt a bold and offbeat approach or else you may end up merely looking like a poor clone of other brands. Learning from your own failures instead of blindly replicating other’s success formula is a better way of fine tuning your social media strategy.
Chart Out, Define & Manage Workflow
Effectively manage communication as well as workflow between different teams and individuals – those dealing with customer support or product development etc. Form a proper chain of both formal and informal interactions at every level to better manage overall workflow. Social media engagement is inherently dynamic and spontaneous in nature. So you might not really be able to preset or pre-define one of those crucial tweets and rest easy. Even while you schedule them, constantly monitor feedback.
Keep social interaction sincere and genuine
Last but not the least, bear in mind that social media strategy is not just about hard-selling your brand, but also about understanding the mindset and behavior pattern of your core community. Intently listen to as well as sincerely engage in every individual social conversation revolving around your brand. Make it tuned to needs of prospective customers so that you appear genuine in your efforts to understand prospects.
Turn to social media specialists
A recent survey of small businesses about their social media usage shows that a large majority of them fail to track results. Their social media strategy tends to lack clear focus and direction sans a long-term plan. They tend to function in a sort of vacuum. Merely jumping onto the social bandwagon won’t help if you constantly research, analyze and reinvent. This is where specialists come into play. Their inputs and insights are important for a worthwhile and lasting social foray that will provide tangible returns over time.
You sure will have own your thoughts, ideas and experiences. Why not share them with your fellow retailers? That would indeed be great! All the best to you all!!Flickr.com