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Social Media Marketing is a must-have marketing technique for 2011

Social media marketing must be seen as a central marketing technique in 2011. And, that’s not just if you sell online. By Bryony Thomas

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Social Media Marketing is a must-have marketing technique for 2011

Social media marketing must be seen as a central marketing technique in 2011. And, that’s not just if you sell online. By Bryony Thomas

Today’s Internet can be found in pockets and handbags in shopping centres and high streets all over the country. Which makes it an ideal medium for retailers operating in both clicks and mortar. You can reach people doing a bit of pre-shopping research, and those who are within reach of your stores.
 
11 social media marketing ideas to try in 2011…
 
1.    Facebook page: Facebook users expect interaction and fun. Adding ‘behind-the-scenes’ photos, asking questions about favourite products, etc. can work well.
 
2.    Twitter feed: Twitter is becoming ubiquitous for 2-way communication. In 2010 Giraffe Restaurant was awarded the Golden Twit Award for its use of Twitter, and you certainly can’t buy their food online.
 
3.    Geo-located offers: Combining social media and location-based technology enables retailers to deliver highly targeted offers. Vouchercloud claims 30% higher redemption on their geo-located mobile vouchers than paper alternatives.
 
4.    QR code promotions: QR codes can be added to receipts, point of sale, product tags, emails, etc. With the use of a SmartPhone people can ‘collect’ codes to unlock a discount.
 
5.    Flickr photo competition: A photo competition can be easily run via Flickr. Best photos or photos of your products extreme settings can be great for stimulating creativity and loyalty.
 
6.    YouTube Channel: YouTube overtook Yahoo as a search engine this year, putting it just behind Google and Facebook as the top global websites. Zappos reported in 2009 that they achieved up to 30% higher sales from video-generated traffic. Do you have a YouTube channel, like this one from TopShop: http://www.youtube.com/user/TopshopPodcasts
 
7.    Customer reviews / forum: Online retailers like Amazon and Ebay have trained buyers to look for reviews. Even if you sell in-store, an online customer review system can greatly enhance your credibility. You can install a web-based community like Get Satisfaction in minutes.
 
8.    Social media competitions: Using Twitter hashtags, Facebook comments or geo-located check-ins can add an extra dimension to your competitions. A technique successfully used by the likes of Jimmy Choo.
 
9.    Make sharing easy: You need to ensure your website makes social sharing easy, e.g. meta data is specifically written for sharing, and social media share buttons are on every page.
 
10.  Blogging: Blogs add personality to your brand, especially if written by a real person. TopShop use theirs to comment on fashion trends: http://insideout.topshop.com/
 
11.  Research / listening: Last, but by no means least – listening to what is being said about you in social settings can give you valuable insights.
 
The speed of social media marketing is particularly valuable for retailers. If you find yourself with left over seasonal stock, for example, you can quickly get the word out. Nurturing a social media following can extend your reach, increase your loyalty, increase basket values, and help you manage stock control.
Bryony Thomas is founder of Clear Thought Consulting

The Retail Bulletin, in association with Business Consort, has organised a short, one-day course entitled ‘Advanced Social Media Marketing for Business Profits'. This will take place in London on March 24th 2011. This six-hour course will provide you with an approach to developing an integrated social media marketing strategy. You will learn strategy development and advanced tactics for reaching influencers and building customer engagement using best practices in social media. We will enable you to take social media beyond marketing and will be introduced to techniques to develop customer service, reputation management and best practice.
For more information, click here.

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