Social media is a must for any business working in the retail or hospitality industry. Social media gives businesses the chance to keep up to date with everything from their customers’ wants and needs, to current trends and topical events. That’s in addition to building a good rapport with customers.
Statistics show that social media is currently driving bigger increases in retail traffic than any other online channel, with a 200% increase in e-commerce referrals between the first quarters of 2014 and 2015. Social media is a very useful tool for retail and hospitality businesses who want to build their reputation and drive sales.
Customers are on Social Media
The key thing for retail and hospitality businesses to understand about social media is simply that their customers are out there on it, searching for businesses like theirs.
A report by Nielsen showed that 61% of people spend a considerable amount of time researching products online before deciding to purchase. Even more significantly, 43% of consumers specifically log on to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram to find products to buy.
Retail and hospitality customers are using social media to connect with their favorite brands and make purchase decisions. By meeting them there, organizations can make sure their message gets in front of the right people.
Social Media and Keeping Up to Date
Social media is the ideal channel for keeping up to date with customers. For example, businesses can use social media to:
- Follow the latest industry topics and trends
- Use social listening tools to find out what customers really want
- Offer frequent high quality content to capture interest
- Keep customers engaged with time limited and geographic-specific offers
Social media is a good fit for the increasingly mobile nature of customers. It’s estimated that nine in ten consumers now own a mobile phone, with up to a third of travelers looking for flight and hotel deals using mobile apps.
Many consumers keep up with social media on the go and use it to find what they want. By tapping into that, retail and hospitality brands can make sure their names stay fresh in their customers’ minds no matter where they are.
Building Strong Customer Relationships
Keeping up with customers on social media, both by offering great content and by listening to what they have to say, is a good strategy for building strong customer relations.
Social media helps build emotional relationships with customers via a wide range of content. For example, half of Facebook’s daily active users watch at least one video a day. Retail and hospitality businesses can use video to showcase their products and give customers a glimpse of the experiences and lifestyle that await them when they make a purchase or book a flight or hotel stay.
It’s not just video, of course. Regular content of all kinds and having conversations with customers on social media will all help to build stronger customer relationships and encourage future purchases.
A New Kind of Reputation Management
The popularity of social media has brought about a new kind of reputation management. Customers don’t just use it to find products to buy – they use it to find out what a brand’s reputation is like and whether they can trust them.
Adweek reports that 92% of global consumers trust the opinion of family and friends above other forms of advertising. Social media is part of that, giving consumers the chance to find out what other people are saying about a brand.
At first glance, this can seem daunting. Many customer interactions take place in the public eye, including complaints and negative reviews. In fact, this is a chance for businesses to show their transparency, honesty, and excellent customer service skills. By responding quickly and professionally, they can show customers that they understand them and are ready to resolve any problems or questions.
For businesses in the retail and hospitality industries, social media is a powerful tool they can use to stay up to date, keep in touch, and build strong and long lasting relationships with their customers.