Commentary

Social Campaigns Brought Full Circle With In-Store Sales, In-Person Interactions

Social commerce was once thought of as a mechanism to exclusively drive online sales. But that paradigm has been shattered as brands use social campaigns to drive in-store transactions and interactions, cementing long-term customer relationships and driving revenue.

On the other end, brands are taking in-store consumers and incentivizing them to interact with them on social. This strategy amplifies that interaction and transmits authentic brand messages through social media.

By building campaigns that straddle social and in-store, brands are collecting richer, more complete insights about their customers through consumer data. And by strategically moving consumers from social to the store and back again, brands are powering the entire consumer journey. Here are the best practices.

• Draw social fans to your stores with exclusive perks:

Give social fans exclusive access to in-person events, like celebrity meet-and-greets, clearance sales, and more. Consistently get the word out about these events through social channels. Another tactic: run social campaigns that capture email addresses along with data about demographics and preferences. Send those social fans emails tailored to their interests, and get more fans to your events and sales.

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• Leverage Social Couponing:

Social coupons mix the power of discounts with the viral potential of social media — turning those social media fans into real-life customers. Offer social coupons as an incentive to become a fan or sign up for an email distribution list. Make sure the discounts are compelling enough to inspire your fans to visit your store.

Don’t forget to make it easy to redeem — mobile-ready coupons with scannable bar codes to make it a seamless redemption process from smartphone to register. Unique promo codes make it easy to track performance and optimize future couponing campaigns.

• Give in-store customers reasons to interact with you on social:

Go beyond putting your Twitter handle on in-store signage. Give consumers powerful incentives to engage with you on social media and spread the word about your brand to your friends. Tap into fun trends that help you build an audience through existing momentum.

Example: In the middle of 2013, with Daft Punk making headlines for their mask-wearing stage presence, American Apparel launched a campaign that encouraged customers to come into the store, try on American Apparel clothing while wearing a Daft Punk mask provided in-store, then publish those photos to their favorite social media channel to possibly win $500. The $500 reward was only one piece of the incentive to participate. The connection to one of the most culturally relevant and popular performers made the campaign unique, fun and viral on social media.

• Make it mobile and simple:

Gain the largest audience possible by making the barrier to entry nearly nonexistent — mobile ready campaigns that your customers can enter on the go. New tools allow social users to participate across multiple social platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Vine, with a simple and succinct hashtag.

If your audience can enter a contest by snapping a photo, entering a hashtag and uploading it to a feed on their network of choice — taking only seconds — they will engage with your brand in much higher numbers.

Make the calls to action clear when in store. For example, Saks Fifth Avenue prompted fans to snap pictures of their favorite shoes on Saks’ shelves by displaying photos from other shoppers. User-generated content is a powerful motivator to engage.
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