Top five social media mistakes retailers make

The positive impact social media can have on revenue is well documented. Back in June, I even wrote a post about why retailers should take Pinterest seriously as a way to increase revenue. However, in order to tell your social media success story, you first need to be doing it the right way. From best practice bloopers to strategy fails, here are the top five social media mistakes retailers make – and what they can do to rectify them.

Not adding a call to action to their Facebook Page


Earlier this year, Facebook rolled out call to action buttons on Pages. These sit in line with the ‘Like’ button and are designed to put a business’s main objective right in front of its Facebook audience.

There are a variety of calls to action currently available, including “Shop Now”, “Contact Us” and “Sign Up”. However, many retailers haven’t taken advantage of this handy little feature. As a simple and effective add-on, it’s good practice to ensure your call to action button is set-up.

To add a call to action button, visit your Page and click the “Create Call-to-Action” button. From there, select the most appropriate statement and enter the URL of the webpage you want to send people to. Facebook also gives you the option to personalise the experience for mobile users by sending them to a mobile-friendly website or an app.

Not compensating for Facebook’s algorithm change

Another common Facebook mistake relates to not adapting to changes on the platform. Two years ago, Facebook announced some pretty big changes to the way it determined what content was served to users’ News Feeds. You can read about these algorithm updates here. To summarise here, Facebook suppressed the organic reach of Pages, making it much harder for businesses to be visible on the platform.

Posting unique content and uploading links with a large preview image can help compensate for this loss of visibility. However, to see the same kind of reach as three years ago, retailers need to embrace paid advertising on the platform.

Of course, any investment in getting your content placed in more News Feeds is wasted if users don’t engage with it. Therefore, alongside a budget for adverts, retailers need to invest in a content strategy underpinned by customer insight.

Sticking with tried and tested platforms

A 2014 study by Hubspot revealed that on average, consumers expected brands to be present on 3.4 different social platforms on average.

Data showing how many platforms consumers expect brands to have a presence on

The survey also revealed that 84% of consumers asked expected brands to be on Facebook and 64% expected them to be on Twitter.

Data showing what platforms consumers expect brands to have a presence on

If you’re unsure where to build your social following, it makes sense to start with the two biggest social media platforms. However, many retailers focus solely on these platforms without considering where else their audience might be. For example, consumers buying homeware might use Houzz to find inspiration. Likewise, customers shopping for clothing might check out the latest trends on Polyvore.

The simplest way to find out which social media platforms your customers are active on is to ask them. Send out a survey asking which platforms they like to use then use the data to inform your strategy.

Focusing on last click conversions

In Google Analytics, it is possible to see the impact social media has on important metrics like conversions.

Impact of social media

Naturally, an ecommerce business will want to see a positive return on investment when embarking on any social media activity. However, a mistake retailers often make is becoming too transfixed on last click transactions.

Most consumers aren’t in buying mode when active on social media platforms. Therefore, it is unlikely they will click straight from your content to your website and purchase something right away. This is even truer for luxury retailers or sellers of big ticket items like furniture. These are considered purchases, where a consumer will take their time before deciding to buy, as opposed to purchasing on impulse. Therefore, last click transactions are less likely to take place.

To truly understand the impact social media has on revenue, you first must understand your customers and the buying journey. Are they impulse buyers? If they are, social media advertising directing targeted users to hero products could be a good strategy. However, if your customers like to research an item before purchasing, use social media as a channel to publish informative content about your products.

Working in a silo

Although many retailers have embraced social media as part of their marketing strategy, an issue we frequently come across here at Leapfrogg is teams working in silos. PR, marketing, social media and editorial teams all have an important part to play in a retail business. However, they don’t always work closely enough together.

When working on natural search strategies for clients, we first find out who the customers are and what they are interested in. We then create a content plan filled with ideas inspired by this consumer insight and tied in with the brand’s commercial objectives. This plan cascades down through the different marketing channels so everyone is working towards the same goal.

Breaking down silos within a business doesn’t happen overnight. However, the simplest thing like working from one centralised plan will enhance any marketing activity and make it much more impactful.


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