According to Social Media Examiner’s 2016 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 90% of marketers surveyed cited “figuring out how to best connect with people” a key concern, with 86% of the same group considering “locating ideal customers and prospects on social networks” another challenge.
With a pool of empowered customers and an increasing number of industry players, online retailers are facing a growing challenge of being heard by the right customers. From producing relevant and engaging content, to disseminating it, how can brands stay on top of the competition, while making sure that they are reaching the right customers on the right channels?
To identify key trends in customer behaviour on social media, Digimind studied 15 local and regional online retailers in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia from 9 May to 9 June 2017 in English, Mandarin and Malay.
Instagram: A Gold Mine for User Generated Content (UGC)
Looking at public mentions collected, Instagram was the most active platform across all 3 countries studied. Thanks to the visually centric nature of the platform, posts consisted mostly of carefully styled outfit or makeup photos.
For online retailers, Instagram is a treasure trove of UGC as customers take to the platform to share curated moments to earn likes from their followers. Bloggers and influencers are another group that tag or mention the brands from which they bought their purchases to show they are keeping up with the trends, as well as earn attention from the said brands.
Marketers can then engage with or repost content from their customers, to help increase customer engagement and retention, a key goal of online retailers in the region.
Facebook (Still) Reigns Supreme as the King of Brand Communications
While Facebook ranked third and fourth by volume of mentions in Singapore/Malaysia and Indonesia respectively, it ranked first and second by volume of audience in the same countries.
This suggests that while people in the above mentioned countries are on Facebook, they are not posting publicly.
This makes Facebook an ideal channel for online retailers to share branded messages, promotions and campaigns to a larger and audience, as brands would be earning the most impressions – and therefore conversions – possible. Instagram on the other hand, would serve as a platform for brands to interact and engage with their customers.
Should E-Retailers Still Invest in Twitter?
Although recent debates have arisen around Twitter’s long-term viability in the region, it still remains a valuable platform for online retailers, especially in Indonesia, where it was the second most used platform by volume of mentions, and the top platform by audience distribution.
Like Facebook, Twitter did not contribute significantly in terms of UGC. Posts focusing on outfits and makeup tended to include links to the same post on blogs or Instagram, which indicates users are leveraging it mainly for content promotion purposes.
Overall, customers tended to use Twitter to complain about issues regarding delivery, or direct enquiries at the brand, thanks to its anonymous nature. This means the micro-blogging site can be leveraged for two potential purposes: customer care, where complaints can be responded to, and market research, where customer insights and sentiments can be gathered and delivered to back-end teams to improve customer experience.
Insights gleaned from social media can help marketers develop objectives and strategies for online communication and community management. Understanding what customers are using each platform for, and tailoring one’s strategies to match user behaviour and conversational trends is key in ensuring success on social media.