With more than 3.6 billion users of social media platforms worldwide, it’s hard to believe that marketers still don’t quite understand the power of social. You have to capitalize on these platforms if you want to ensure the success of your digital marketing strategy and use every opportunity to expand the reach of your brand.
One of the best ways to do so is through social media monitoring. You essentially use a tool to listen to online conversations about your brand and mentions of it on the internet.
Read ahead to see how retail brands can use social media monitoring to keep customers happy, avoid crises, and ultimately boost sales.
Benefits of Social Media Monitoring for Retail Brands
If you want to know what your customers are saying about you in their posts, videos, and blogs, it’s time to invest in a social media tool.
It is also a great way to recognize where you might lack in offerings and how you can match customer expectations. And that’s just the start. Here are a few good reasons why you should have a social media monitoring tool in your arsenal:
#1 Monitor Conversations
None of us can deny that social media is like a PR jungle these days. It is impossible to stop people from creating a narrative and expressing their opinions which can harm your brand.
You can, however, turn the narrative around to show your side of the story if you respond quickly and smartly by being aware of what’s happening in real-time.
If you own a large retail company with several locations, you cannot keep up with every one of them. It might be a good idea to assign unique keywords and hashtags to each location, making it easier for you to differentiate the rumors and mentions of specific locations.
For instance, when you open a store at a new location, use a monitoring tool to keep track of the conversations taking place before, during, and after the event. Join in and engage with the customers, responding to them and getting their feedback for improvements.
Employees are as essential for a retail brand to thrive as its customers, for which you need to make sure they feel valued. Engage with them and use media monitoring to keep your employees happy.
Best Buy used this method to show appreciation to their employees when someone posted about how they liked working there. Even though the employee didn’t use the @ tag to mention them, when Best buy got the message, they responded to him to show that they are valued at the company.
Isn’t it better to be aware of something related to your brand before the world sees it? Media monitoring plays a valuable role in handling fake news or campaigns about your brand.
You can take a page from John Lewis’ book on how to handle PR crises. They release a Christmas ad every year that garners millions of views on YouTube.
A fake teaser circulated on social media platforms, and many channels picked it up. Several fans started questioning it, creating a lot of buzz. But when Chris Moyle revealed it was a prank, John Lewis immediately confirmed that the teaser was not from them.
The brand was lucky enough not to get affected by this fake campaign, and they were quick to find out the source, narrowly escaping a huge scandal.
PR scandals can be inevitable, but you can avoid or minimize them by using monitoring tools.
#2 Control PR crises
Depending on your retail brand’s size, you must deal with several thousand and millions of customers daily, which gives plenty of chances for PR crises to occur.
Of course, these are avoidable if you take the proper measures, identify the source, and deal with it immediately. Media monitoring helps you recognize and steer clear of potential issues.
It is essential to pay attention to your customers’ complaints and respond to them to keep them satisfied.
Consider the Amazon pillowcase blunder of 2017 when several clients were complaining about a pillowcase which they purchased from Amazon but received something else.
Imagine the massive amount of returns and the costs they had to bear! However, it also shows that Amazon can’t control everything because of the number of retailers on their site.
Amazon quickly recognized this as a scam and dealt with this crisis as social media buzz got louder.
#3 Interaction with Customers and Brand Advocates
Every brand invests in promotion strategies to increase engagement in smaller sectors of their target market with brand advocates’ help. Retail brands can significantly benefit from social media monitoring to interact with brand advocates and influencers to drive engagement.
Remember to put in an active effort to monitor customers’ conversations and interactions. You can find innovative ways to use the resulting data for your marketing efforts.
#4 Product Development
A significant benefit of social media monitoring for retailers is it can let your audience direct product development. One of these agencies is Social Industries that enables you to follow consumer reviews and figure out the specific products well-received by online communities.
This is valuable information that retail brands should have before investing in inventory and the development of products they haven’t tested before.
#5 Monitor Trends for Content and Product Strategies
Social media trends quickly change as brands continuously experiment with new techniques of engaging their customers. Retail spaces are always filled with new products. All the while, competitors continue to promote their brand while also monitoring hashtags, keywords, and mentions to know what their customers are talking about.
The listening tool enables retailers to maintain positive engagement and growth by monitoring brand sentiments. Data garnered from your customers can be a golden key for product and content strategy social media intelligence if you actively listen to them.
#6 Monitor Competition
It is important to keep your eyes open to see what your competitors are up to. And if you are watching your rivals, expect them to do the same.
According to a survey, 77% of businesses focus on social media monitoring to watch out for their competitors in real-time.
You can learn a lot from your competition, and especially in this retail industry. Use the data you get to figure out their next step. Pay close attention to:
- Where they lack?
- What’s their strength?
- What is their interaction like with their target audience?
- What are they discussing?
- What trends are they following?
For example, you can use this information to predict locations where your competitors might be opening their stores next. They will be improving their discussion with influencers and local partners in those areas where they are currently not present.
#7 Enhance Your Brand’s Overall Experience
Providing an excellent overall experience to your customers should be one of the topmost priorities of any brand. It is essential to consider your prospects’ and clients’ feedback when making critical marketing decisions. When you listen to conversations about your services and products, you can find out:
- What you have to invest in because you’re good at it
- Where you have to improve due to functional lacking
- What doesn’t resonate with people, so you can drop it because they are upfront about any new offering. Since the end goal is to impress them, it is best to hold their opinions in high regard.
According to research, 28% of shoppers prefer to review some product or service after a positive experience. However, after a bad shopping experience, expect them to spread the bad reviews online as well.
While criticism is never easy to take, but as a brand, you must act upon it especially when it is constructive. For instance, you can execute A/B testing to cater to complaints regarding the checkout experience and improve your customers’ experience.
#8 Maintain Your Online Reputation
With global retail sales of over US$26.7 trillion projected for 2022, the competition in the e-commerce industry is growing more cutthroat. The only way to differentiate your business from the crowd is to ensure your customer’s satisfaction from the get-go.
Build a reputation for superior customer service, and more prospects and leads will come calling.
With the help of media monitoring, you have a better chance of knowing your customers properly than when they pass through your store.
Usually, people are more fearless and straightforward about what they think online, which you can use to your advantage. Bad reviews are part and parcel of any retail brand, but people want to see how you handle it.
You can address any issue promptly when you actively use social monitoring. Even a simple apology or discount offers to make up for a lousy service can calm down a customer. Do it all in public, right in front of other followers, and they’ll appreciate your timely responses.
Through social monitoring, you can study how well your in-store campaigns are doing. It’s possible to make the experience more relevant for the customers with the help of information related specifically to some stores.
Promote hyper-localized ads through store management and motivate consumers to engage online. Then measure the effectiveness of your ads through digital interactions and how the conversations carry on online.
Ready to Use Social Media Monitoring?
If you want to get ahead in the retail industry, you must play by the rules. Social media monitoring is one of the best ways to know how your brand performs among your target audience and what they think about your products and services.
Remember, it takes minutes for bad reviews to go around and for PR crises to strike. If you actively use these tools, you can be on top of things and respond to such issues immediately for instant damage control.
Looking for intelligent social media monitoring? Mentionlytics can help! Whether it is finding influencers or growing your brand’s reputation, you can benefit from our services regardless of your company’s size.
Are you gathering data about your brand from the Web and Social Media?
If not, you can do it instantly with Mentionlytics. Just head to https://www.mentionlytics.com/free-brand-monitoring/ and enter your brand's name to get started for free. You will be amazed by what you could find out about your brand that you never knew it existed.
Seeing this data is possible by performing simple search on Google or Social Media, but it's really hard to make sense of it, by looking it sparingly in this way. This is where Social Media Monitoring tools come into play. You can use a tool like this to automatically gather all this data for you everyday, analyze it, and give you useful insights that you can extremely helpful for your brand.
What's more, you can also get access to the same data for your competitors. Also, you can monitor keywords and phrases related to your industry, and this way you can get very useful consumer insights in real-time. These insights could cost hundreds of dollars to acquire from a research agency.