In order for social media to be ‘social’ it needs be driven by ‘engagement’. It should drive conversation, customer feedback and thereby develop customer loyalty. However a recent study by US-based ForeSee Results suggests that all customers really want is information about sales and new products.
The research paper, which focuses on the top e-retail sites in the UK surveyed over 10,000 retailer visitors to measure their purchase intent, loyalty and recommendations.
ForeSee’s VP of Retail Strategy, Kevin Ertell, reveals, “what surprised us most was how many customers say they really wanted to hear about sales and products.”
Victoria’s balancing secret
So what is the answer? Victoria’s Secret seems to have struck the right balance between promotion and engagement. The ForeSee study found that 40% of those who follow their favorite retail brands through social media want to hear about deals, and 54% want to see products. Customer support was only a prominent issue for 6% of users.
Victoria’s Secret has close to three million Facebook followers and a quick look on its fan page shows that it’s largely driven by new product launches and events, as well as playing host to an active discussion forum.
Ertell suggests that “the most satisfied and loyal customers are seeking out their favorite stores’ pages, and then if those experiences are rewarding, they become even more loyal.” It’s quite clear then that a mixture of new products and special offers, supported by a sense of engagement is crucial for the social shopper.
Is Facebook the key for retailers?
The ForeSee study tells us the most important social media tool is by far and away Facebook. A staggering 81% of online shoppers who use social media regularly use Facebook compared to Twitter’s 12%. Ironically, our recent soCommerce study found that more brands are using Twitter as their online presence (26%) rather than Facebook (24%).
What’s also interesting with the ForeSee research is that the 74% of those who friend, follow or subscribe to a store will follow less than five brands, suggesting that social media users are highly selective of the brands that they do follow. Take it with a pinch of salt, but it suggests that if a person is following you then they are likely to be a big fan and an influential customer.