Seamlessly integrated social media can help drive sales in-store – here’s how to get it right…
Integrated channel marketing means consistency and strategic use of all channels. It also means using all channels together as a unified force for your brand. So how do you unify your social media channels to drive sales in-store?
Let’s explore how and why seamlessly integrated social media can drive purchases in the physical shopping environment. This is a particularly fascinating topic as the world slowly recovers from COVID-19 lockdowns.
Research has highlighted the role of social media in driving footfall and increasing physical sales. The online, social world and the brick-and-mortar shop are now seen as complimentary parts of the entire customer experience, so your social media strategy and sales strategy should be one and the same. And, it can be argued that retailers have the most to gain from social media marketing.
84% visits the brand’s physical store closest to their home
84% chooses that brand over a competitor
75% increases their spending with that brand
So, how do you use social media to drive your sales strategy?
Your brand’s social strategy cannot work in isolation, it needs to align with what is happening in-store and across the rest of your marketing channels. Remember, consistency is key.
The first step in using social to drive in-store sales is to identify the role of each social media platform. The social platforms you choose to activate is dependent on your offering and target audience(s). Remember, whilst not all social platforms can directly drive in-store sales, all social platforms should help you reach this end goal.
For instance, Snapchat may be used to communicate your brand’s culture to a younger target audience, whilst Instagram can drive awareness of live in-store activity to your wider, existing audience. Social selling on Twitter is also achievable through hyperactive social listening and positioning yourself as a product/industry expert through your brand tweets.
To get your social mix right you will need to analyse each channel available, identify where your audiences are, their behaviour on the platform and how campaign messaging and call-to-actions (CTAs) should differ.
The beauty of social media for retail is that you can engage with shoppers at just about every point of the customer lifecycle, meaning that you can really use social to develop and progress your in-store sales strategy. So, once you have identified the correct social platforms for your brand and campaign, the next step is to understand how you can use each of them throughout your customer journey.
Use social to achieve word-of-mouth recommendations from friends, family, and influencers, or branded promotions.
The most vital objective here is to place your brand and/or promotion in front of a prospective target audience. You will want activity with a higher reach to build brand awareness amongst your target audience. Activity for this can include sponsored promotions (think big, eye-catching and possibly interactive formats here), influencer campaigns or promoted competitions.
Entice the shopper to pick your brand over competitors.
A robust content marketing strategy is key to remain relevant and front-of-mind for the consumer. You need to make a connection with your audience, positioning yourself as product/industry experts who are aligned with the audience’s values. Avoid filling your timeline with dull, third-party links and irregular content updates.
Use social media to drive people to your stores to make a purchase. Driving footfall in-store reduces potential shipping costs and may result in customers buying more items than intended.
Purchase decision tactics:
Think about both online and in-store tactics here.
Raising awareness of in-person incentives through social platforms is a great way of driving in-store sales. This can include:
Competition mechanics encouraging customers in-store for entry.
Sharing exclusive information about in-store offers/events making your social following feel more significant.
Check-in and tagging discounts to provide customers great offers only if they visit stores, check-in and tag friends.
Promotional codes on social media to be used exclusively in-store.
Share the in-store environment regularly through livestreaming and content, acquainting your audience with the in-store environment.
Once your customers are in-store or physically shopping on the high street, the experience doesn’t stop there! In-store environments should coincide with online experiences:
Geo-targeted ads that push social promotions to those within the local vicinity. Examples include Facebook beacons which allows you to attract those who are physically nearby.
Bring your social content and campaign to life in-store, using similar imagery and messaging within your in-store POS and displays.
Pop-up events inline with social campaigns.
Earmark your most popular items on social within your stores e.g. most shared/liked items.
Social media is a two-way communications platform with your audience. It is equally as important to use it as a promotional platform as it is to listen and engage with your customer. Ensure customers receive quick and informed responses to queries on social media.
Listen to the feedback from your various platforms and incorporate any changes into your social and in-store activity. Remember to remarket to current and potential audiences so you remain front-of-mind and relevant.
Here are a few examples of companies that use social media to increase sales:
Kellogg’s ran an Instagram competition, asking consumers to submit photos of them with Kellogg’s products in store.
IKEA used geotargeted Facebook ads to drive real-world footfall to their Cardiff store. Messaging raised awareness of in-store deals, whilst audience targeting geo-fenced an area around IKEA Cardiff removing staff and brief passers-by. This resulted in a 31% uplift to in-store traffic of 22-25 year olds and 11% increase of 26-35 age group.
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