Top retail social media trends that will dominate 2017

You will already know that customers can be pretty unpredictable. Desires, needs and behaviours change so quickly it can be hard to stay in touch. By using the top retail social media trends, alongside some planning and clear strategic thinking, it is possible to drive strong eCommerce sales on social media – but for retail brands especially, the return on campaigns can be particularly significant.

Fluffy social media metrics simply aren’t good enough anymore. You need to show clear business impact to ensure that your brand leverages the potential value in social media, either in the form of additional sales or a cost saving for your customer service team. In order to increase social sales, it’s important to continuously identify trends and get your brand involved in them, helping you stay relevant and interesting to your following.

From maximising your marketing for mobile users, joining the influencer marketing trend, to identifying live-streaming opportunities, retailers have a multitude of opportunities that they can embrace to drive engagement and sales. From working alongside brands like Hamleys of London, Sweaty Betty and Hillarys Blinds, I’ve identified three of the top trends that every retail brand needs to explore this year, making it simple for you to see where your brand can improve.

Think “mobile” first

It was predicted that mobile would overtake fixed Internet access by 2014, and three years later, 51.2% of internet activity now comes from mobile devices. It’s become the go-to method of accessing everything online. It’s been essential to have a mobile friendly website since mobilegeddon shook up google rankings mid last year, but brands are still not realising that all of their content needs to be mobile friendly too. Optimising blog content for mobile users with little free time and making content that works best for people with limited attention spans and time can improve engagement and in turn increase sales.

For example, if you are creating videos for social media, make sure they can be viewed without the need for sound, 85% of Facebook viewers won’t watch a video with the sound on. By observing your customers and thinking about your own behaviour, you’ll know that if they are scrolling through their feeds during their commute home, they will quickly move on from your video if sound is necessary as they don’t want to disturb their fellow travellers. Make it easy for your on-the-move audience by using subtitles, as any barriers will soon push them away from your content.

top retail social media trends

Live-streaming isn’t just for events

Several large retailers have recently mentioned to me that they didn’t think they were ready to live-stream. There is a common misconception that live-streaming only works for events like fashion shows or festivals. So retailers have been missing out on the latest techniques for building their brand and creating excitement on social media. Live-streaming can make your following feel special and more driven to purchase by being shown exclusive previews or behind-the-scenes footage from your brand.

Giving sneak-peeks of your newest stock or brand advocates talking about why they love your brand can help to drive sales – reminding your followers why your brand is cool and highlighting new offers. Live-streaming does have it’s risks though so do be wary. If you cannot guarantee the outcomes you want, think twice. By prepping your team, reminding them of what is acceptable, working from loose scripts and rehearsing can help to remove the risk. When live-streaming you do face new challenges and there are no second chances, but the rewards can outweigh the risks.

top retail social media trends

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing has been steadily growing in popularity over the past few years and it’s predeicted to become even more widespread throughout 2017. Big brands have been using celebrities like the Kardashians and other A/B-listers for quite a while. This activity has made some organisations, with smaller marketing budgets, feel that this isn’t an area that they can utilise without a serious amount of disposable cash. But retail brands have a wealth of popular vloggers and bloggers who would happily review and promote products for a small cost or even just free goods.

One of our clients, Iceland Foods, has shifted to a micro-influencers strategy, which is enabling their best customers to promote their brand for them. This approach gives a more authentic effect at a lower cost and it also helps Iceland to promote themselves directly to their selected demographic. If you do your research and make sure you find the best bloggers for you then the potential is huge.

retail social media trends

Social media can have the potential to drive business, build brand awareness and strengthen relationships, but having stale social channels that are regularly producing dull self-promoting content isn’t enough to generate the reaction you want. You have to think outside the box and embrace the latest customer trends.

Discover how Hillarys Blinds has significantly imrpoved engagement with their social media activity, increasing their socially driven website traffic by 500% in just 12 months.

Komol Ahsan About the Writer:
Komol Ahsan is a Business Development Consultant at SocialSignIn, he specialises in providing social media advice and solutions to common industry pain points within the Retail & FMCG sector. He is passionate about giving companies the best platform and knowledge to achieve their social goals. He is also an unbeaten white collar boxing champion!

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