Retail CMOs, you already know how important it is to navigate social media effectively to take your company to the next level but getting there is not always a straightforward path. As a graduate student in Northwestern Medill’s Integrated Marketing Communications program (and a lover of fashion and retail given my background as a merchandise planner at Neiman Marcus), I have found two articles, which illustrate the challenge retail marketers face in today’s socially driven digital landscape.
- Track the social footprint of your customers: Where are they comfortable interacting socially? Are they active on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine? And where do they fall in the social pyramid?
- Incorporate consumer insights into your own network: Build your social network around your customers rather than your product by determining your current and future customers' wants and needs as they relate to social networks, by incorporating key aspects of the sites your customers frequent the most, and by making the transition from sharing to liking to purchasing a seamless and natural one.
- Actively monitor and listen to your customers: Just when you think you have created the ultimate social network, something else comes along, so stay ahead by continuing to monitor your customers' social activity across all platforms. Are there any new sites they have joined and why? And carefully listen to what they are telling you via your own social network.
As more and more retailers compete for attention via social media, it becomes imperative that you, as CMO, monitor the social activities of your customers and understand their wants and needs as they relate not only to your product or service but also to your social media platform. By putting social networks in place now, where customers can interact and collaborate with your brand and each other when and how they want to, you will make huge strides towards winning the social media war and enjoy such rewards as brand engagement, customer loyalty and ultimately market share.
Karen Lonsdale-Hands is a strategic analyst who has worked in a variety of industries—including retail, consulting, banking, and telecom. She is now looking to creatively combine her love of numbers with her love of marketing. She is a candidate for a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University. Follow her at @KarinaLonsdale