As the popularity of social media has increased, so too has the number of dissenting voices insisting it will not prove to be a viable marketing platform for businesses.
Even some of those who acknowledge the benefits for retailers of building up a strong audience continue to maintain this does not convert into sales.
However, marketing expert Seth Godin has noted: “You can use social media to turn strangers into friends, friends into customers and customers into salespeople.”
It is with this quote that Quick Sprout introduces its latest infographic, which demonstrates how retailers can subvert the traditional marketing funnel and build a strong social media strategy.
One of the key facts highlighted is that 92 per cent of consumers trust word-of-mouth over any other form of advertising, while 82 per cent of small businesses believe it is the most effective way of finding new customers.
So how can businesses get the most out of social media' According to Quick Sprout, the first step is to conduct some research and determine which are likely to be your most effective platforms.
There are interesting variations in the usage of each site, so try to consider them in relation to what you are offering. For example, 71 per cent of worldwide adult internet users are registered on Facebook and 63 per cent use it daily.
Twitter is also likely to be a key consideration for many businesses, but have you considered Pinterest' This can be a particularly useful platform for those whose target demographic is predominantly female – one third of all women on the internet globally use the site.
Once you have selected the social media outlets you will utilise, you should create accounts for your business and develop an editorial calendar of content that will help you to engage with your audience.
Finally, it is important to remember the ‘social’ nature of the platforms. Use them to start conversations with users, respond to customer queries and build relationships.