5 Social Media Tactics for Retail Brands in 2016

As the New Year draws nearer, your Feeds are likely blowing up with 2016 social media trends. However, brands need to be careful not to jump on the bandwagon, or try to implement too many initiatives at once. The key is to stay true to your brand strategy, promise, and voice that your current audience already loves.

The retail space poses challenges unique to itself, and with all the new features released on social media this past year, it can be a challenge to stay focused on the right path. The following is the list of 5 social media tactics for retail brands to consider while gearing up for 2016.

1. Empower Local/Regional Managers to Gather Content

Local content is making a comeback. This is partially due to the ease of content generation from lots of individuals within your organization, but also due to a consumer want for deals, discounts, and exclusive content delivered straight to their newsfeeds. Empower local and regional managers and directors to gather information about  upcoming local events, local customers/employees, content from within stores, etc. Provide them with a method to deliver that content to your brand content production team and you have quickly developed a local posting strategy that scales.

2. Think Beyond the Circular

Many retailers have struggled to translate their direct mailers or circulars into the social media space, but 2016 is the time to move around those marketing budgets. If you’re a retailer with several products (or thousands), consider using those same rev-share dollars to invest in an influencer campaign or a paid social media ad buy with targeting that delivers an actionable, digital coupon or product spotlight when it matters.

3. Bring Back the Blog

For some time, brands were moving all of their content into the social media stream. A blog became less important because users could digest smaller snippets of information where they already were. As the stream becomes more congested, algorithms push out brands, and brands become better at creating long-form, meaningful content. That said, brands should reconsider ownership of a long-form content hub. This is traditionally a blog, but could also show its face in the form of an employee-facing social content hub, an aggregator of social content and UGC, etc. Consider where you can post long-form content so that it appears when people are exploring your products/stores so they can get to know you better at the right moment.

4. Invest in a Social Media Program to Encourage Engagement

If you feel like you’re seeing fewer sweepstakes and “tweet with this hashtag to wins”, it’s not just you. Many brands are opting to invest in higher-production content instead of encouraging engagement with Fans and Followers in the form of social media programs. However, investing in an opportunity to engage with true customers in a more meaningful way is a valuable pillar of social media marketing. The rewards are also greater. Email opt-ins, targeted opportunities to showcase compelling content, and generating UGC and consumer feedback, just to name a few. 2016 is the year to invest in routine social media programs that offer those opportunities.

5. Socialize Your Physical Locations

Many retailers are missing key opportunities with their consumers during their in-store experience. A key pillar of social media marketing is still to activate your loyal consumers, relying on their recommendations and posts to spread your key messaging and brand. Adding social experiences in-store, such as photo booths, video tutorials at the point of purchase, “Influencer recommended” product placement/signage, UGC in-store, etc. are valuable opportunities to add validity to your brand and products.

Here’s to a Happy New Year, and good luck on your social media efforts in 2016!

Ignite Social Media