Social Media is Driving Customer Engagement

Jul 30, 2014 10:11 AM  By

Pinterest is growing, Twitter’s popularity rose and Facebook continues to be the most popular social media platform for retailers in 2014.

According to MCM Outlook 2014 results,  91.9% of respondents said Facebook is where they keep an active presence, followed by Twitter at 74.1% and Pinterest at 50.3%.  In 2013, respondents said Facebook was where they keep an active presence (90.5%), followed by Twitter at 72.0% and Pinterest at 49.6%.

Retailers are chiming in about why these social channels are important (or not) for their brand and what they are using to engage with the customer.

Ryan Gripp, ecommerce and digital marketing manager for skin care merchant H2O Plus, said it’s important to remember that unlike Facebook, Twitter is a communication platform.

“With Twitter, users can follow your brand and you do not need to follow them back,” said Gripp. He said Twitter allows the brand to broadcast messages in bite-sized chunks without having the fear of not appearing in your user’s feed.

“Facebook is a very important social network, and we have found amazing results using remarketing aligned with targeted Facebook ads,” said Gripp. “But Facebook isn’t cool anymore for young adults; rather Facebook has shown a much higher demographic toward our older customers.”

Ian MacDonald, ecommerce manager for Silver Star Brands, said Facebook and Twitter have no financial value to their business.

“It is really another customer service channel – some customers prefer the phone,” said MacDonald. “Some prefer Facebook.”

MacDonald said his company had tried to make Facebook and Twitter work. Last year, Silver Star Brands hired an ad agency to manage and grow these channels for two of its five brands.

“Up to that point, like many retailers, we were just dabbling in social, he said. “We were not dedicated to it,  we didn’t have a big strategy or ground plan.”

Silver Star Brands invested serious money to make this work,  but it didn’t. The company increased fan counts but that still didn’t drive additional sales.

MacDonald said Pinterest has potential for a few its brands though. The company has seen traffic referred from Pinterest that converts to sales.

“So we are spending time internally to manage our Pinterest presence, rather than just relying on customers pinning,” said MacDonald.

Victor Castro, director of ecommerce with Zachy’s Fine Wine & Liquor, said Facebook is a key social media channel due to its size and the consistent level of engagement it generates.

“It also helps that the nature of Facebook provides a longer-lasting footprint of the engagement, leaving a residual value for future visitors,” said Castro.

He said Pinterest has been a fast-growing channel, mostly due to its willingness to provide marketers tools to measure and improve performance.

“Pinterest tends to prove faster or easier than Facebook does,” said Castro.

Reid Greenberg, director of ecommerce and consumer engagement with Seventh Generation, said with over 1.2 million Facebook fans, the company feels it has reached scale on the platform.

“Now our job is to continue to reach and engage our fans with the right content and context at the right time,” said Greenberg. “While Facebook may be the larger player for Seventh Generation and other brands, each platform – including Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest – is important and requires marketers to alter the message to fit each one natively.”

Greenberg added it’s equally important to know the age and demographic makeup of each platform in order to use it effectively.