Social networks and their strengths
Facebook: of the Top500 retailers, 488 have a Facebook page. Our research shows that Facebook posts with photographs received on average twice as many ‘likes’, three times more ‘comments’ and nearly twice as many ‘shares’. See our Shop Talk feature for more on retailers’ use of social in the run-up to Christmas.
Twitter: its growth has slowed in recent years but the ‘information network’ boasts a formidable 284 million active
users globally. Due to its public nature retailers would be wise to monitor customer feedback on Twitter and respond promptly. In the Brand and Engagement Dimension we measured, among other things, average time to respond and median time to respond for the 489 Top500 retailers with Twitter handles.
Google+: retailers need a Google+ page, if only to improve SEO. A verified account with an image is a simple matter to set up, and worth the effort. The Google+ community is also growing, so retailers should consider posting content. Retailers with a blog should set up Google+ accounts, once again to improve SEO – search results will display the author’s photo, making people more likely to click.
Instagram: the picture site now has more than 70 million daily users and is particularly popular amongst 14-24-year-olds. It is almost exclusively accessed on mobile devices and should be viewed separately from its big brother Facebook, with a separate strategy.
Pinterest: technology company Piqora reported a 64% increase in revenue-per-pin in the first six months of 2014. Pinterest’s user base is increasing rapidly and, as revealed by IRUK 500, 2015 research, having a Pinterest account is as common as having a YouTube account amongst leading UK retailers. The Pinterest audience is design-conscious. Individuals and brands with large followings curate content carefully; exclusion is just as important as inclusion. Retailers can make the most of Pinterest in two ways: firstly, by incorporating a ‘Pin This’ button for product images, and secondly, by creating boards. Good boards sometimes pin products from other retailers, or lifestyle articles from magazines.
Tumblr: the photo-focused community, boasts the second highest revenue-per-view (after Facebook) of any large social network, according to a recent report by Adobe. A year ago, Tumblr scored lowest on this same measure. This growth, and the recent addition of a ‘buy’ button to some posts, is making the network increasingly retail-friendly. To capitalise, retailers should customise Tumblr blogs (brands have much more freedom here than they do on other networks) and post photo and video-heavy posts. The network is particularly accessible to clothing and interiors retailers, with a young and relatively wealthy user demographic.