Canadian Retailer - September/October 2010 - (Page 18)

| social media the Power of the Group BY ROBERT PRICE Retailers leveraging social media & meeting consumer demands As th use of social media passes from the hands the of early adopters to mainstream Canadians, retailers y pe can expect more customers to demand access to them through s social media applications. And the retailers that ure ensure that this demand is met will also ensure the posity growth and success of their brand. sibility of gr actually using social media to find their way to Ikea, which is very, very, very exciting for us.” Trend: Large scale Social media is now mainstream, and as more Canadians tap social media for reviews, retailers who use the platform face a big challenge: the increasing scale of the work associated with engaging customers online. Social media is huge—and growing. According to Leger Marketing, half of Canadian consumers use social media every day and more than 60 per cent of consumers use social media to research products. “Context before content” Ikea is one of the more recent retailers to jump into social media, launching its networking initiative on August 9, 2010. In its first month, Ikea gathered more than 4,000 “likes” on Facebook—“likes” are recommendations from customers—and has seen its likes grow by anywhere between 50 and 100 each day since. One of Ikea’s strategies with social media is to provide customers with context, not just content. Content exists in abundance online. Context—helping customers make sense of where they are in relation to all the content—is scarcer. And that may be due to the fact that context comes through conversation. “Our job in social media is to make sure we’re not just pushing out content about Ikea specifically,” says Hilary Lloyd, Advertising Manager at Ikea. “What we want to do is to find the right context so that it’s actually not just about us. It’s not just about talking about Ikea, it’s about providing customers with inspiration and information that lets them engage in the Ikea brand and experience us in a way that helps their everyday life at home.” Ikea’s strategy involves talking to customers about what they want and don’t want. Reaching out this way is a strategy other retailers have used to great effect. Starbucks’ “mystarbucksidea” forum lists tens of thousands of customer’s ideas concerning ways to improve Starbucks’ retail and food experience. The Home Depot deploys customer service agents into the social media space to engage customers in conversation. Creating a context for a product or service through Facebook, Twitter, and other social media conversations proves an effective way to grow a fan base online. “When we’ve executed communications campaigns that use social media, as a general rule of thumb, Facebook and other social media networking sites are often in the top three referring sites back to any Web property that we create,” says Lloyd. “It means that people are 18 | canadian retailer | september/october 2010 | Dealing with “badvocates” —bad advocates—may mean breaking a long-standing value of customer service: “The customer’s always right.” A year-and-a-half ago, one person could manage any store’s Twitter account. Now, success in social media means dealing with an avalanche of customer queries and customer complaints. “The ease of scale is going away,” says Kate Trgovac, a communications consultant with an expertise in social media. “As more people go online, organizations will need to add more people and tools to deal with the increasing numbers of customers who go online to complain about bad services. And retailers will face some hard choices about how they’re going to deal with every one of those complaints.” Dealing with “badvocates”—bad advocates—may mean breaking a long-standing value of customer service: “The customer’s always right.” In social media, a realm that demands straightforward communication, sometimes the customer is wrong. “We told organizations three years ago that you’ve got to be more transparent, more willing to take criticism,” says Trgovac. “You’ve got to be open to all this, we said, and they replied, ‘Great, we are.’ And now we’re starting

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Canadian Retailer - September/October 2010

Canadian Retailer - September/October 2010
Publisher's Desk
Shop Talk
Store Design
Mobile Retail
Social Media
Environmental Sustainability
Human Resources
Business Intelligence
Technology Trends
Online Retailing
Advertisers' Index
You Asked Us

Canadian Retailer - September/October 2010