What are some of the up-and-coming trends you see in social media?
I think you are going to see social channels continue to expand as business development tools. Of course Facebook is an example with ads and analytics, but newer platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and others are being used by our clients as a way to keep in touch with their customers. They are sharing information, tips, videos, photos and sale notices. While it is not a typical ‘social media’ tool, YouTube is an extraordinarily powerful media outlet. It is the second largest search engine.
In your opinion, what is the leading social network and why?
Facebook is the undisputed leader and is still growing at a rate of 20 million users per month. While they have been losing ground among teens to Instagram and Snapchat, they are still the preeminent way to reach most consumers.In my opinion it continues to dominate as it connects more and more people each day. The value proposition of that connectivity just compounds upon itself.
Here is a link to a recent article on the top social media sites and apps with helpful infographics: (https://www.dreamgrow.com/top-15-most-popular-social-networking-sites/).
What types of social media efforts do you see driving the most engagement?
Video. Whether it is on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat, video is getting more attention than static messages by a factor of around 10 to 1. An example on the smallest scale is a CT retailer named Natureworks. They have around 6100 Facebook followers and 1032 Instagram followers. (anecdotally) their videos on Instagram outperform their Facebook posts by over 50%. They will typically average around 15-20% likes on their videos. Their videos on Facebook outperform their images by a factor of ten and completely dominate static posts.
Can you offer a few words of advice for a small business with limited resources that is trying to establish a presence on social media?
Social media marketing requires a commitment of time, effort and money. While there are many channels, you should really pick a lane and assign time and resources towards developing a loyal following. In some cases you can repurpose content for the various channels, but people enjoy fresh content and not re-hashed ‘info-ads’. Frequency is also important. I would recommend a single post every day or so rather than multiple posts in one day.
Why should this be an integral part of a retailer’s marketing plan?
If so, why? It is where people turn for news and information. Whether that is world events and what’s happening at their local garden center these sites provide the foundation for a community to form. All of sales are relationships so the more a company can invest in that, the better off they will be. It is more cost effective (from a straight dollar investment basis) than other media, but does require a greater commitment of time and energy. But if marketing dollars are tight, this is a place you can still have an impact on a budget.
What advice would you provide to best manage and respond to negative feedback that may receive on social media?
Feedback is important to any business and often times you can learn more from a negative review than a slew of popular ones (though they feel better). The key is to respond quickly and to own responsibility and look to satisfy any disgruntled customer. It’s tough, but it’s worth it to keep an ear to the ground to get feedback.