Monday, January 2, 2012

Social Media Effective For Driving Retail Sales When The Message Is Right

A recent story in USA Today shows just how effective social media can be for retailers with a decent sized following.

Cheryl and Karen Daskas, owners of the upscale Tender boutique in Birmingham, Mich., were trying to find a way to draw their social-media friends into the store this year.

So they created an offer. They would sell their private-label Tender tights for $15 a pair — a bargain at a store that sells $1,500 messenger bags and $300 designer dresses.

"We sold out thousands of pairs in a few days," Cheryl Daskas said. "Blasting it on Twitter really drove it home. It was a lot of fun."
(Click here to read this entire story.)

This is great news for retailers looking to take full advantage of social media to market directly to their customers. Social media is proving to be a most effective tool for communicating directly with your potential clients and customers. However, the article fails to talk about the importance having a relevant and meaningful message to deliver. Social media will also fail to help you if the promotion you are doing is not attractive.

In other words, if your restaurant makes a special offer via social media that is good for a 10% discount, you are likely to receive a much lower level of response than if you offer them a free entree. This is just common sense, especially when it comes to traditional marketing techniques such as coupon flyers. The better the coupon the higher the response rate.

Because most forms of traditional marketing are much more expensive than a similar social media advertising campaign, business owners are more likely to make the offer good enough to get the highest possible response rate. With social media, being free or mostly free, they tend to make the offers small and less substantive, meaning they are less effective.

Social media is arguably the most effective communication tool in the world, but its effectiveness is directly linked to the message it imparts. It doesn't do you much good to broadcast a message that nobody cares about. In fact, the eventual impact could be just the opposite of what you hope to achieve by actually driving people away from your network.

The fact is, there are only so many times you can beg people to visit your store, or your website, without offering them an incentive for doing so, before they finally just stop listening. Even then, once social media delivers the potential customers you have been looking for, it is now incumbent upon you to keep them coming back.

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