Social Networks: How to Implement a Successful Multichannel Strategy
Adopting a multi-channel strategy
Social networks have changed the way we build relationships with peers, businesses, and communities around the world. The digital world is constantly evolving, and retailers have now integrated social networks into their branding.
In addition to communicating with customers and showcasing products, social networks now offer a click-to-buy function that allows users to be redirected to sites, enabling them to buy faster. This "buyable" content presents a great opportunity for retailers to increase their revenue. Social is becoming more and more in tune with commercial channels. As a result, brands need not only to increase consumer engagement on social networks, but also to offer experiences and interactions with internet users to accelerate the purchase path in order to increase conversion rates, average order values, etc.
This is why more and more companies, even outside the Retail sector, are deciding to implement multichannel strategies.
What is a multichannel strategy?
We know that recent technological developments have contributed to an increase in the number of points of contact and channels between consumers and brands during the purchasing process. A multichannel strategy ensures that all these points of contact and sales are mobilized, meaning the consumer has access to all products and services he or she wishes, no matter where he she is. Be it on a smartphone, tablet, e-mail, social networks, website, or in-store.
Retailers must therefore adapt to these advancements and adopt tools enabling them to collect all the information generated before, during, and after the purchase process. This complete knowledge of the customer allows brands to improve their offer, their products, services and prices in front of their competitors.
1. Know and segment your target according to your needs
First, it is imperative to identify the audience you want to target. All consumers are equal and want to be treated equally. Therefore, it is important to segment consumers against socio-demographic variables, but also according to the purchasing profile and the social profile of each.
If you take into account the purchasing path according to the different channels used, it is possible to define a typology according to the consumers.
By listening to conversations on social networks via Social Intelligence software, it is possible to identify these different types of consumers, as well as potential influencers and micro-influencers of your brand (now key players in the purchase path).
Targeting and segmenting your audience specifically allows you to optimize communication strategies for various channels.
Here are some strategies to know your audience and their behavior:
- Conduct a demographic analysis of the communities involved in the conversations on a brand or product to determine their age, gender, occupation and interests.
- Launch a geographic analysis to identify where most of the brand's audience is concentrated.
- Identify influencers and key players in the consumer buying process.
- Measure the audience growth ratios of the various social channels (number of subscribers, fans ...) in order to detect the most popular social media of your targeted audience.
Thus, depending on their social profile, and their purchasing profile, it is possible to develop communication strategies and models adapted to each audience.
2. Create an multichannel marketing strategy
The goal of this step is to create personalized content according to the different channels used in order to offer an experience in total immersion with the brand. It is important to establish a different plan on each social media channel, including promotion, advertising, and shared information. The goal is that consumers have all the keys and all the information in mind during their shopping journey so that it is as fast and optimal as possible.
So it’s extremely important to always know the performance of your brand's interactions with consumers, in order to turn that knowledge into action. To achieve this, it is necessary to:
- Create a concept cloud to find out the weight or relevance of brand names, issues, products, or services to evaluate consumer-generated messages versus brand-generated messages. The goal is to align these two messages.
- Establish a classification and labeling system to detect any keywords or topics that were searched during the purchase process.
- Monitor the trend of mentions (including different times), and peaks of interactions in order to determine the most appropriate moments for consumers to receive messages from the brand.
- Make a map of the customer's journey—compare this social analytics data with the data of your site or of your blog to understand the platforms which generate the most conversations with respect to the buying behavior.
- Detect business opportunities with the most sought-after concepts by users (the most sought-after expressions associated with your brand).
- Integrate CRM data from physical and social purchasing to better understand customers and their behavior.
- Create an alert system to internally communicate with the various departments of the company about complaints and possible negative comments. It is especially important that the two customer relationship channels (online and offline) are aligned and transmit the same message.
Digimind's monitoring tools allow you to connect these different systems. Not only will you be able to enhance your marketing plan, but these tools facilitate the integration and optimization of all the channels and departments involved in customer relationship management.
3. Bring the offer online and in-store
Phones are changing buying behaviors. However, if your brand’s online channel conversion rates are not as high as you would like, rethink their e-commerce strategies, optimize their website, and develop mobile applications from a multichannel perspective.
Some examples of strategies and functionalities used by brands in this way:
Starbucks is regarded as a company that offers one of the best multichannel experiences, thanks to its My Starbucks Rewards application. This application is a loyalty program that allows to scan, pay, and accumulate benefits very easily. Your phone displays a barcode that you can use to make your purchases. Any changes you make to your profile are automatically updated on all Starbucks channels.
Zara is another example. Zara.com affords users the ability to order a garment and to receive it in a physical store. With an integrated store locator, users can see the availability of the product within the physical store closest to him or her, as well as the size and color.
Remember that social and visual listening in the Retail sector also helps improve the in store customer experience.
4. Measuring the impact of social networks in multichannel strategies
It is necessary to measure the impact of your actions put in place on behalf of any marketing strategy. The tools of social listening are strategic allies for your brand because they allow you to preview, in real time, your audience, commitment, and your performance.
As mentioned above, to create valuable content that generates commitment to the brand, companies must listen, not only what consumers are saying about their products or services but also their needs, cravings, aspirations which can become major points of reflection.
The main action is to keep track of "hard measures" such as increased sales, traffic, or decreased customer calls. However, so-called "soft" measures such as engagement, mentions, conversations, keywords in search engines, feelings towards the brand are also important notions. For example, if one of your goals is to improve the customer experience both through call centers and social networks, social listening tools will allow you to provide consistent responses between those brought by the team in charge of social networks and those of the team that manages the customer experience.
We’d love to hear your own multichannel marketing experiences - share them with us on Twitter.
Written by Christine Carzo
Christine is the US Marketing Director at Digimind. She interested in writing and talking about all things related to Marketing and business strategy, especially finding ways to help businesses grow faster and become more intelligent.