Top tips for making brand friends - Business Works
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Top tips for making brand friends

Adam Stewart, Marketing Director, Rakutenís T he world is becoming increasingly digitalised and it is time to make the most of this opportunity. Adam Stewart, Marketing Director at Rakutenís provides tips on how to get the most from social platforms.

Social platforms can be an extremely powerful business tool and this year has shown that they are being used more frequently than ever. The question is: how do you make the most of social media? And does it really have such a positive return on investment?

We have first-hand experience of the value of social media. In 2012, followers on our social media channels, Twitter and Facebook increased by 300% and alongside this, we found that customers who engage with us on Facebook spend 24% more on the site than customers who do not.

This had a huge impact on our businessí bottom line, as our online relationships generated over £2,000,000 of direct sales. We have found that these social tools allow you to fully engage with your customers, creating an interactive relationship which can really cultivate brand loyalty.

How can you ensure this level of success in your own social media work? Rakutenís has come up with their top tips for making the most of social platforms:

1. Exclusives

People love nothing more than being made to feel special. Offering your Facebook fans and Twitter followers exclusive content, competition prizes and deals is a great way to reward their loyalty and draw them back to your page time and again. By building applications to promote this content and incentivising your fans to share it with their own social networks, you can benefit from the viral power of Facebook by reaching not just your existing fans, but their friends too.

2. Polling

Engaging your fans with your content is key to maximising the reach your posts achieve and therefore the sales you can drive from social media. Bearing this in mind, creating a conversation is often more important than pushing a product. Creating polls using Facebookís 'Ask a Question' functionality is an easy way to gauge your fansí opinions and engage them with your brand. You can also create much more visually appealing polls by uploading images and asking fans to engage with them via the 'Like' button to determine a preference.

3. Images

The highest levels of fan engagement to any social posts come from visuals. The use of images on your Facebook and Twitter page is really important. Combining short and snappy status updates with an appealing, relevant image increases the chances of your post grabbing the customerís attention. So, if you have interesting new products in stock, or spot a celebrity sporting one of your outfits, uploading good quality photos of this can be a great way to get people talking about your products and ultimately generate sales.

4. Keep your fans and followers up-to-date

One of the main reasons consumers 'Like' or follow brands on social media sites is to be kept up-to-date with that companyís news. For time-conscious consumers, it may be more efficient to follow your company Facebook or Twitter page for updates than to go directly to your website. By relating posts to events people are already discussing socially and providing real-time updates, for example live streaming or tweeting from a launch event, you can encourage users onto your fan page, especially if you keep the barriers to fans engaging with that content to a minimum. But remember not to overdo it Ė too many posts will lead to a decline in engagement as followers may feel they are being spammed.

5. Measurement

Tracking and analysing the traffic and engagement levels on your social media page is essential to evaluating which posts and updates have most impact on your business. In addition to using the analytics tools provided by the social networks themselves, there are a host of platforms out there that can help you analyse the effectiveness of your social activity. In order to measure the impact of social media on sales and to enhance your offering to customers, integrate your social measurement with your overall web analytics and CRM data. Rakutenís utilises the EngageSciences platform to drive all social media campaigns and activity.

A considered use of social media can have a huge impact on your business. Social platforms allow you to engage customers, encourage brand loyalty and awareness, while simultaneously providing you with a revealing insight into your audience. Tracking what is received well on social sites can allow you to tailor your media relations, and target specific customers. 2013 is set to be the most digital year yet, so social strategy is more important than ever. Itís time to invest in your social channels so your company can reap its manifold benefits.

You can check out Rakuten's social media pages for yourself at: Twitter and Facebook

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