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Retailers Hit the Mark With Social Media This Holiday Season

This holiday season, traditional media has been swept aside in favor of tweets and friends. Shoppers will go after deals, online and off.

This holiday season, traditional media has been swept aside in favor of
tweets and friends. Shoppers will go after deals, online and off. It’s no
surprise to see how businesses have taken advantage of social media channels to
promote specials.

With the economy weighing down consumers this holiday season, retailers have
prepared for a decline in sales in the coming month. Even though households may
not be bursting with expensive gadgets and large packages this year, gifts will
still be purchased and exchanged.

Marketers have been experimenting using social media; however, it has been
difficult to quantify the results. Depending on who you speak with, the profit
generated by social media is either hidden because the consumer doesn’t
generally make a purchase through the social media channels directly or because
the brand loyalty or brand recognition effect is often strongest but not
necessarily translated into immediate purchases.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday starts the busiest shopping days of the year
and a big social media experiment of sorts is going on and retailers will have
an affair to remember. Several major retailers made significant Black
Friday/Cyber Monday investments on a number of social media channels, including Twitter and Facebook, in anticipation of a whirlwind of activity.

Retailers Taking Advantage of Social Media

Businesses with active Twitter or Facebook profiles should make use of both
when luring shoppers to their online carts or traditional stores. At the same
time, other social networks also prove useful. The key to successfully using
social media to stimulate sales is to maintain a high level of activity and
sociability. As people ask questions on your Facebook wall or send messages via
Twitter, respond promptly and provide links to your sites whenever possible. It
may not be necessary to provide sales information via social networks, but it is
important to make sure that the messages stay visible.

Consumers Taking Advantage of Social Media

If you are a savvy online shopper, you are most likely following all of the
retailers that you patronize the most and have subscribed to all of the right
mailing lists and forums. However, social media can still optimize your shopping
experience.

If you are aware of a particular store in your area and are considering
shopping there for a gift card or other item, social media can prove useful in
helping you to make up your mind.

Digg.com allows Internet users to find links to bargains as discovered and
promoted by Digg users. Searching for an item that you wish to purchase for a
friend or relative can yield information helpful in your search for the best
deal.

Smart phones have the extra boost this year of specialized apps available to
assist in hunting the best sales. Coupon Sherpa, a website known for providing
sales codes for online carts, allows smart phone users to download coupons that
are accepted simply by showing the cashier the phone screen.

Another way to have the deals sent directly to you is by following the
Twitter feeds dedicated to finding Cyber Monday’s best deals. CyberMonday.com
and Dealighted.com both provide nice feeds with frequently updated information
and links to coupons.

Many retailers are using their Facebook pages to announce Cyber Monday deals
early, so it might be worthwhile to join some new fan pages to get a head
start.

Website aggregators let you search through deals from various stores by
product category and price range.

In Summary

Social media works very well as a marketing tool when you truly have
something worth marketing. Regular prices don’t work people into a fury as they
did in the past and the value of social media as a contact point should never be
taken for granted by retailers.

Social media influences consumers in short bursts with incredibly high
density or volume. Social media, when used strategically, has profound value.
Merely having a fan page or a twitter account isn’t necessarily going to drive
people to your store but some of the creative uses of social media that have
been discussed here are good examples that work effectively in the business
cycle. Large companies are finding ways to use social media to quantify their
return on investment (ROI), which silences a lot of critics in the process.

This holiday season, pay close attention to your social feeds for the best
shopping deals and see how social media can save you money.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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