They come and they go, those markers of social acceptance. For a time, retailers delighted in click-throughs. Then they eagerly drooled over engagement data.
But this holiday season, retailers seek one thing and one thing only: sales.
“Last holiday season, social marketers for major retail brands saw how many fans they could corral or how many likes they could amass,” says Mairead Ridge, Senior Manager of Marketing at Offerpop in New York City . “Those same marketers are now on a quest to deliver the strongest ROI for brands; not in “likes,” but in the form of social commerce success.”
Ridge, writing in a VentureBeat post, is warning retailers about the reach and impact of social media as they seek that ROI.
“In November and December, during an estimated $650 billion holiday spending spree, Facebook and Twitter will both debut ‘buy’ buttons that allow in-feed sales within the world’s two most prominent social networks,” Ridge explains. “These new commerce tools will address retailers’ growing focus on driving sales through social media.”
Forget the likes. “Who’s buying?” is the driving question.
“Not surprisingly, over half (62 percent to be exact) of those surveyed, both domestically and internationally, will focus on growing sales and extending brand reach this holiday season,” notes Ridge.
According to Ridge — and many other industry analysts — social media has matured into a critical centerpiece of any retailer’s holiday strategy.
“With 1.28 billion monthly active users on Facebook and 255 million active monthly users on Twitter, the holiday consumer is now more dependent than ever on social media for information and incentives that will prompt ecommerce sales or in-store purchasing decisions,” Ridge posits. “In fact, 72 percent of U.S. adults are active on Facebook at least once per month, giving digital marketers an opportunity to influence a majority of holiday shoppers on one platform alone. There is no doubting the potential for ROI here.”
The answer? A strategy — for saturating and satisfying the social media monster.
“Retailers can’t be successful this holiday season without a sophisticated social media strategy,” Ridge asserts. “This holiday season, we’ll see marketers testing Facebook and Twitter’s new commerce capabilities, while leveraging Instagram for holiday campaigns,” she writes. “Retailers simply cannot be successful during this critical sales time if they do not invest in targeted and effective social media programs.”