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Retail brands using multiple social media channels

Multi-channel social media usage is now commonplace among retail’s household brand names – but how intelligently brands are segmenting and targeting their social media activity to resonate with their customers’ online habits and needs is still up for debate.

A recent study carried out by Yesmail analysed the social media usage of 50 major brands in five different retail categories (apparel, beauty, big box stores, home goods, and electronics) and has thrown up some interesting stats. Key findings include:

  • Over 91% of retail brands have a presence on two or more social channels.

  • Facebook was the most popular channel for brands (average adoption rate of 98%) but community growth appeared to slow down in 2014 for many companies.

  • Instagram is the least engaged-with channel, despite mass adoption of the photo-based social network among young adults (adoption rates ranged from 26% to 32%).

  • Apparel brands are the most socially connected, with 86% of brands in this category having a presence in four or more social channels (an impressive 60% were on all five channels studied).

So, what is the significance for brands, and what can be learned for the future? Here are a few of the standout recommendations for retail marketers that emerged from the report:

Scale efforts with cross-promotion: On a fundamental level, this means including social icons prominently in all digital content, including email marketing templates and product galleries. More strategically, it means getting maximum value from campaigns by cross-promoting across multiple channels. For example, if you're hosting a competition on Instagram, take a holistic approach: leverage your presence on Facebook and Twitter to drive users to Instagram and create additional buzz.

Encourage interaction: Social media is all about two-way communication. Encouraging customers to share their experiences, and acknowledging both praise and negative feedback, are simple community management practices, but can help to improve brand perception and reputation, as well as boosting engagement.

Know your target audience: Each social media channel has its own unique demographics, and your target audience may not necessarily be interacting across all channels – for example, you're unlikely to get much engagement from Baby Boomers on Snapchat, where 50% of users are aged between 13 and 17. Understanding those audience preferences and habits in relation to the values and goals of your company can lead to more sophisticated, targeted campaigns.

Understand channel usage frequency: Marketers now have access to a vast wealth of user data, including when, where (and how often) users are interacting across which social channels. This information is particularly pertinent when it comes to planning content promotion or paid ad campaigns. Taking the time to consider geographical, contextual and behavioural factors before launching a campaign can help to ensure that your ads are served to your audience at the right time and place, when they're most likely to engage.

With censhare, you can integrate all of your social channels into our Social Media Management solution, enabling you to manage content publishing, tweets and updates from one simple, centralised place. Find out more about how censhare can help you to scale and streamline your communications.