Online retail was always set to witness growth in the digital world we currently live in. However, the pandemic accelerated the shift putting pressure on retail brands to pay attention to their online presence by creating an effective social media strategy. It has proven to increase brand awareness, build trust, and improve reputation. Those elements help to increase your sales and develop an online community for your business.
Social media is not killing retail, but it is forcing it to evolve into a different space with a different set of goals. Prior to social media, retail businesses were focused on the path to purchase; in current times, the end goal for every business is for customers to become brand advocates. Using the crowd analyzer tool, we looked at a total of 25K social media activity from 19th of May to 25th of May, to identify the key metrics every retail business should be aware of to create a positive customer journey that will encourage brand loyalty and advocacy.
Below are the key steps for advocating brand loyalty using social media:
1. Identify who is dominating the online conversation
The first step in creating an effective social media strategy for retail businesses is identifying your target audience. Prior to the internet, retail businesses depended on consumers in a specific location. However, in recent times social media gives you the opportunity to reach a wider audience. To ensure you are targeting the right people, it is important to identify who is dominating conversations.
Based on the data monitored, Saudi Arabia is the top country in the region with retail brand mentions at 40%, followed by Egypt, Bahrain, Morocco, and UAE. Another key factor to consider is that during the monitored period more females were engaged with retail brands, in comparison to males. Such information would be useful in social media content to better understand the target audience and communicate the relevant message.
2. Invest more in boosting the online shopping experience
In the MENA region, it is worth noting that the most popular category in retail is fashion by a striking 74%. In 2020, retail giants like H&M and Zara, which are among the most popular clothing brands in the MENA region, were forced to conduct major shifts in their marketing strategy by focusing on their online platform, rather than their physical stores. It is predicted that online shopping will continue to grow for those retail brands in the future. People are spending more time on social media, hence, online shopping is more convenient.
3. Pay attention to what customers are saying online
In social media, customers are the ones with the active role. It is the ultimate goal for retail brands to turn customers to loyal brand advocates. By taking the time to understand what keeps them interested in retail, you will be capable of enforcing a two way communication platform that promotes conversation. Customer service is the center point of social media that directly impacts the customer’s decision making process.
A positive customer journey is what will keep customers coming back to your brand, not only to purchase, but to share their positive experience on social media. 60% of social media conversations were actually positive, which indicates that consumers are motivated to leave reviews and engage with content.
4. Utilize user generated content from satisfied customers
One of the biggest advantages for the retail industry in social media is user generated content. People tend to trust reviews from customers more than any type of content coming from the brand itself. Consumers are looking for content from people they can relate to; 58% of social media users engage with average users more than influencers or celebrities.
Another key benefit of social media is how it is more likely for brands to be involved in every stage of their customer cycle. Those channels give you access to build a relationship with customers. If a brand has a strong social media presence, customers will keep on coming back to socialize and engage, not only to purchase. As indicated below, intention is the highlight of the user purchase cycle at 45%. This is the stage where they either win or lose a customer, based on their online brand reputation.
In conclusion, these are the key points that will help every retail business convert a social media follower to a loyal customer.
- Gain valuable insights on customer preferences
- Use content from the general audience, more than influencers
- Establish genuine relationships with your customers
Our State of Social Media 2021 Report provides more details and insights on understanding customer preferences and general audience behavior in the MENA region. We are here to support you with an effective social media listening tool that will help your retail brand establish a strong social media presence by providing real time data that will keep you informed with valuable insights on audience expectations.