There are many retailers and brands who have embraced using social media to communicate and provide customer service to their fans. Here are 5 retailers who have effectively and successfully incorporated social media into their marketing strategy:
Next was named the top retailer for social customer service in 2013. By promoting products and hosting competitions, the company has also achieved increased brand awareness. With over 1.4 million fans on Facebook, Next succeeds in its continued efforts towards customer service in 2015. Their Facebook page engages their fans by, not only providing customer service, but by also allowing fans to post questions or complaints on their wall. They do not delete or try to hide any negative comments to show that they are being as transparent as possible on social media. Next also utilizes the ‘Notes’ section to post the terms and condition of any of its competitions and offers along with any critical recall notices.
Next also supports two Twitter accounts – @NextOfficial and @NextHelp. @ NextOfficial is used to feature store products while @NextHelp is utilized for customer service inquiries. This help account allows for customer service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Response time is important for customer service and, since it has a dedicated account, the promotional account is not tied up with inquiries or comments.
The retailer uses its Instagram account as a tool for advertising and promoting products and clothing in style photos. Next creates Pinterest boards using products from its own website and re-pins from other Pinterest accounts. This allows users to create a wish list of products they like as they pin them their own boards.
IKEA is one of first retailers to implement a digital mode of marketing. They have maximized their use of social media by showcasing a digital catalogue which it the core of its marketing strategy.
The retailer maintains a strong presence on social media. IKEA’s Facebook page links to photo albums and YouTube clips to engage its infinite worldwide fans. They maintain separate twitter feeds for all of their country-specific twitter pages. IKEA engages their followers on Twitter in such campaigns as celebrating the ‘Bring your Own Friends Day’ (BYOF). The retailer also visually represents its products on Pinterest.
Tesco has over 1.6 million fans on Facebook and uses this platform to interact with customers. This retailer is a shining example of how to use social media as a means to provide customer service and engage with fans. Their social media strategy is so important to the company, Tesco’s social media guidelines are published online.
Tesco uses social media to educate and entertain followers as well. They are careful to post one or two updates daily about their brand to provide information, not just promotions. With multiple Twitter accounts, Tesco has been able to direct and focus messages tailored to specific customer segments, freeing up its main account to provide customer service.
Tesco explains its Pinterest profile as “inspiring home ideas, delicious recipes and tips for healthy living”. Some of the retailer’s success on Pinterest is due to the fact that it includes content from outside sources, not just self-promoting content. Tesco also maintains a Google+ page and regularly posts promotional content and news about its brand.
Walgreen’s allocates its resources to structuring services in mobile, social, and the web. Their goal is to offer rich content to develop loyal customers. Using Facebook’s Timeline, Walgreens wants to make the past is seen as important and interesting as the present. By featuring brands with a strong heritage, the retailer wants to create dialogue which is more meaningful and emotionally connecting to fans.
Walgreen’s utilizes “sponsored conversations” promoted by paid bloggers and Tweets to sway customers over to its pharmacy benefits plan. They have employed Social Spark which matches bloggers and advertisers and have even contracted mommy bloggers to influence others. Walgreen’s has also paid Twitter to feature “#ILoveWalgreens” as a promoted trend.
The retailer, Marks & Spencer, has attributed much of their sales to social media. Recently they updated their website to include options for customer feedback. They have utilize Facebook to build a community within their 2 million plus followers. Facebook also gives them a platform to promote their brand and engage with customers through rich media such as photos, video, articles from their website. Marks & Spencer uses Twitter to give helpful tips and to inform followers on products and offers. Unlike many other brands, they to do offer much customer service on Twitter.
Walmart wanted to improve and grow their relationship with their customers and stakeholders through social media. As the world’s largest retailer, they needed to manage, promote, and improve their reputation. Walmart’s strategy was to use the power of social media to give the company a direct voice to the people. They developed a structure on Twitter which mirrored their corporate initiatives and set up handles like @walmartgreen, @walmarthealthy, and @walmarthub to provide collective information. With access to real-time data, they were able to identify, research, and quickly respond to customers with unique critical situations.