Influencing Social Shoppers Requires a Content Management Plan

BY Courtney Huckabay

"Like us on Facebook." "Follow us on Twitter." Those phrases and the associated icons are prevalent on websites, magazines and church bulletins. There are good reasons for that proliferation — social media is relatively inexpensive and an expedient way to share information, Kathryn Harris King explains.

According to the Pew Research Center, 65 percent of American adults use social networking sites. Of those users, 72 percent are on Facebook, which is more than double the percentage on Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

AudienceSCAN found 48.5% of U.S. adults usually trust positive reviews of a business and it influences shoppers' decisions in favor of that business. You need to pay attention to the reviews of your business!

"Because of its market penetration and ability to accept multiple content types (e.g., videos, photos, collages), Facebook is the medium of choice for those interested in going social with their business. To effectively manage a Facebook page takes some planning and preparation," Harris King writes.

AudienceSCAN also found that 44.2% of U.S. adults usually trust negative reviews of a business and it influences shoppers' decisions against those businesses. This could be your business if you don’t take action.

Let's review those key considerations:

Develop a Content Management Plan:
"Content is king. If you want a presence on social media, you must have content and a plan to develop more. This requires developing a calendar. Look at the yearly flow of your business. If you have end-​of-​season sales, then plan to post content before and during those sales. If you're planning to offer seasonal specials, plug that in your calendar, too."

"You might consider connections to holidays, cultural events and charitable activities. For sporting goods stores, a connection to the Super Bowl might work. A candle company might develop a campaign around the winter solstice. A firm that supports Relay for Life might plan posts about their participation," Harris King writes.

In fact, AudienceSCAN reported 38% of Social Shoppers plan to attend concerts for popular singers or bands in the next 12 months. That could be a tie-​in for you. Or try tying in with the Rio Olympics: 26.2% enjoy watching Olympic sports in person or on TV.

Don't Forget Visuals:
"According to Buzzsumo, Facebook posts with visuals receive more than twice the engagement of posts without visuals. If you sell products, show what's new in stock. If you provide a service, show your employees or pertinent infographics."

"Finally, do you have special events? Are you an accounting firm that stays open longer from January through April? Are you a fitness company that hosts weekly runs? Make sure you include those activities in your content calendar."

Establish an Audience:
"The first step may be to invite friends to like your page. You will want to include the Facebook icon on your website and any collateral materials, such as catalogs and fliers that you develop. Reference your social media presence on outgoing emails. Other options include providing discounts to those who show they have liked the page," Harris King says.

Social Shoppers could be motivated by discounts, so try out some promos like Harris King mentioned above, or a daily deal. AudienceSCAN revealed that during the past 6 months, 9.4% have used the Internet via browsers, tablets or mobile phones to purchase at least four daily deals (like Groupon or Living Social).

Plan Interactions:
"You may want to respond to reviews, including encouraging those who had a bad experience to give you another chance. You may want to poll users about which products they'd like to see. Museums might want to post questions about current exhibits and reveal the answer later. Ask them to post photos with your product or logo."

12.9% of Social Shoppers have posted a review about a local business online in the past 6 months, according to AudienceSCAN. And 22.5% went to the web to resolve a customer service issue or problem in the past 6 months.

Evaluate Efforts:
"Facebook has some helpful built-​in analytics they call Insights. Here, you can evaluate the reach and engagement by post and over time. Look at well-​performing posts and see if there were any corresponding spikes in sales or increases in inquiries. Over time, you should be able to refine your content, boost your engagement and, most importantly, increase your bottom line."

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies, or with the SalesFuel API. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.