However, when completing initial research and identifying influencers, most retailers miss the mark and overlook one of the most significant groups from right under their nose: their own employees.
Employee Integration and Audience Relevancy
If you’re a retailer, stop and ask yourself: are my employees well integrated in my social media program? If the answer is no, then ask “Do I feel like I’m building a highly relevant audience of advocates for my brand?”. In most cases, these two go hand in hand.
I hope it’s understood at this point that although the size of your audience matters, it doesn’t mean much unless you’re building a network of:
- Existing customers who (as a result of your social media efforts) will spend more, buy more often, or spread the word about your business.
- Prospective customers who are being influenced by you and others to move closer to making a purchase from your business, wherever they may be in the sales cycle.
In retail, having your employees “on board” – whether they’re participating directly or spreading the word about what’s going on with your social media program – is crucial in building a relevant network of advocates. If your employees are involved, the word is likely to spread to the influencer that’s probably more top-of-mind for you: your customers.
It also provides a starting point for “bridging the gap” between online actions and offline behavior – one of the greatest challenges we have as marketers.
Simple enough? Let’s look at a brief example.
Employee Impact on Reach and Relevancy
Five months ago, I met with a client who was looking to take their social media program to the next level – a retailer with 30 locations. Their current performance was already very strong in terms of analytics, with Facebook page activity exponentially higher than the average brand and an extensive reach compared to their budget.
The problem? Their program lacked real relevancy within their organization. That’s a deeper problem than analytics can paint.
After doing some digging, we concluded that a few presentations were in order to get their employees on board, receive feedback and assistance with strategic decision-making, increase their understanding about how the social web works, and what they could do to help.
The support was outstanding, and the results spoke for themselves.
In the month following this integration, activity across the client’s social networks nearly doubled, despite already being very active. What’s more, they also felt that their campaign had reached a new level of relevancy and their confidence in the social web’s capabilities increased dramatically.
The lesson here is clear for retailers. When your employees are recognized as influencers and included in your social media program, it opens the doors to new possibilities like no other group can – both in terms of reach and relevancy of your audience. Middle to upper management calling every shot on their own won’t get it done for retailers.
If you’ve been involved in a retail social media program, what was your greatest success driver?