Social media – a must for the retail trade

Even a cursory glance at the social media landscape can be quite intimidating: TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube – there are just so many different platforms and competitors. Do small or medium-sized companies have the capacity to be present everywhere? Or can they pick and choose? And what goals can they achieve with social media?

Conzoom Solutions has gathered answers from industry experts to all these questions. It offers guidance and examples of best practices as well as taking a look into the future. Make sure you’re well informed, up-to-date and ready to meet your customers where they spend an average of 1 hour and 19 minutes every day On social networks.

men with a mobile phone

Entering the world of social media

Having a presence on social media appears to be more important than ever. During lockdown, retail companies with a social media presence had a distinct advantage as they were able to maintain that all-important contact with customers.

Unlike the big players, most of which have realised that social media are an indispensable part of business communications, SMEs still seem to be more hesitant about presenting themselves on Instagram, Facebook and other platforms.

But there really is no reason to be wary of entering this world of social media. As is the case with many other things, it makes sense to start small and simple. However, according to digital content creative Daniel Zoll in his Conzoom Solutions podcast (podcast is only available in german):, there must be a conscious decision at the outset as to the specific business goal you want to pursue via this new social media presence. Do you want to reach a young audience? If so, you are better off investing your resources in TikTok than in Facebook content. Do you have lots of high-quality product photos? If this is the case, an Instagram account would be more suitable than a platform such as Twitter.

Be selective in terms of content – you don’t have to be able to do everything, e.g. photos, videos and blog articles. What is important, though, is that the content you publish is good quality.

What is good content?

What actually constitutes good content? According to social media expert Frederik Gottschling from the State of Hesse Trade Association, there are three requirements and a good social media post should meet at least one of them: It should solve a certain problem, tell readers something new or simply be entertaining. If a post does none of these things, you should rethink it.

Furthermore, Gottschling argues in his lecture that you must not lose sight of the bigger picture, nor of the characteristics and preferences of your target group. Finally, it is very important to regularly check which content receives a positive response and which does not.

Influencer marketing

If your company already has a presence on social media but lacks followers, it might be worthwhile to invest in, for instance, a collaboration with an influencer in order to increase brand awareness. Influencers not only have high numbers of followers – they are also experts when it comes to marketing on social media.

However, Daniel Zoll’s message on influencer marketing is “think broad”. In his lecture he reminds us that an Instagram post doesn’t always have to consist of holding a product up to the camera. Collaborations with influencers can take many forms. Whether you engage them as external content creators or appoint them as brand ambassadors for the purpose of rejuvenating the brand image – you can often learn important lessons for your own social media practice simply by discussing your situation with them.

And if influencer marketing is completely new territory for you, we recommend that you allocate an affordable amount of money to your initial trial. Use a tool such as infludata to find a partner with the right metrics in the right niche – preferably someone who thinks outside the box – to present your product in an authentic and accessible way. Important: Set a measurable target so that you can subsequently check whether the investment has paid off.

Advertising on social media

The question of targeting should also come before placing any ads on social media. Social media advertising, i.e. paid content, gives you the opportunity to budget your content and target it to specific groups. By contrast, organically placed content is generally seen only by those users who have already subscribed to your company profile.

Since, in terms of advertising, social media platforms are constantly evolving, rolling out new features or phasing out old ones, it pays to stay up-to-date. If you update your profiles regularly, though, you will keep up with the latest developments.

We recommend our guide to anyone thinking of investing in social media advertising. It explores the goals and opportunities, the most important platforms and takes you step by step through the process of creating an ad.

Selling through social media

Advertising, influencer marketing and community management are all ultimately tools to increase your sales. Another useful development is that some social media platforms now offer integrated shops: Social commerce is the new buzzword and offers a low-threshold entry into online commerce. For example, you can easily set up your own Instagram shop free of charge.

On Pinterest and Facebook, too, selling can be profitably combined with community management. It comes as no surprise that more and more platforms are adding social commerce functions to their offering: The shortened customer journey makes the shopping experience more immediate – orders are easier to handle and are placed more quickly. And this trend continues to grow: In the Asian market, live-streamed sales events are on the rise, while in the USA, Amazon is working with content creators to further merge the spheres of social media and e-commerce.

Management consultant Kaja Heinemann examines the stumbling blocks for retailers in the future concept of social commerce and how they can be avoided in her lecture.

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Social media provide a space where your customers spend a considerable amount of time during the day. Although creating and maintaining a profile takes time that you can probably ill afford to spare, it is actually worth the effort.

Social media are indispensable for the retail sector today – no other marketing tool provides you with comparable data to specifically target the output of your content around the clock or gives you the opportunity to become part of your customers’ everyday lives.

If you’re still in the early stages of building a social media presence, don’t be put off by the complexity of the available platforms. You can start small, set realistic, verifiable business goals and see which platform is best suited to showcase your products or services.

Do you already have a presence on the relevant channels? If so, be visible and interact with your followers. Community management pays off! Ensure the quality of your content and consider using social ads and influencer collaborations.

Whatever stage you are at, Conzoom Solutions is the right place to go for expert interviews, guides and updates on social media for the retail sector.

Author biography

svaerm is an online marketing agency with core competences in web applications, SEO, social media and multimedia content creation for B2B and B2C. As a strategic, editorial and creative partner based in Frankfurt am Main, svaerm helps businesses grow.