As of 2017, the internet user was reported to spend an average of 135 minutes per day on social media platforms, and of these platforms, Facebook was the most popular. Facebook now has 2.13 billion monthly average users, more than any other social network, and more users than ever before. Facebook, along with other social networks, has become a powerful marketing tool for small businesses for this very reason.
For retailers specifically, now, more than ever, is the time to invest in Facebook and other social media marketing. With the extreme rise of ecommerce and omnichannel retail, it is important for retailers not only to have an online presence, but to drive traffic and conversion revenue through social media. According to an online survey recently conducted by Square, 52% of consumers discovered new businesses on Facebook within the last year, putting Facebook ahead of both Google Reviews and Yelp.
More and more consumers are turning to mobile devices to research businesses and products, and to make their purchases. It was reported by Facebook in 2016 that 37% of all purchases took place on mobile devices, and that 60% of omnichannel shoppers said they'll make more purchases on mobile in 2017. What's more, it has been reported that 71% of shoppers who use smartphones for in-store research say that it has become an important part of the experience.
Knowing that more consumers are now looking to Facebook for reviews and recommendations on businesses, and that the number of online purchases being made on mobile devices is higher than ever, here are a few things that retailers can do to optimize their Facebook marketing.
Be consistent with content. Facebook recently changed their newsfeed algorithm to prioritize content from friends, family, and groups. This means that while the new algorithm is now forcing retailers to rely more on paid advertising and boosted posts to reach their audiences, it also means that retailers need to get a bit more 'real' on social media. Instead of focusing all your attention towards paid advertisements and boosted posts, remember to also consistently post original content that provides value to your audience. This could vary from a how-to listicle to a short video that shows off your newest product offerings.
Engage with your audience. Speaking of the new algorithm, it is also important to make sure your retail business is interacting on Facebook the way that "friends, family, and groups" would. If your business receives a good review, say 'thank you'; or if it receives a bad review, let your customer know that you care and want to fix the problem. Like, share, and comment on posts of similar topics to yours and respond when users comment on your posts. Engagement not only helps you humanize your brand and build relationships with your customers, but it helps retailers gain visibility on Facebook without paying for it.
Run targeted ads. Most retail businesses have a pretty specific target demographic that they are trying to sell to. Luckily, Facebook allows businesses to run paid advertisements that can be narrowed down to target your specific audience directly in their newsfeed. If you have the budget for it, consider running a few paid advertisements during peak periods or when a high-demand, new item is in-stock. Facebook has a variety of ad types for retailers to run depending on the goal of the ad, and now, retailers can use the image carousel to advertise multiple items at once. This is great for a simple, one-click shopping experience for the consumer.
Create user-generated campaigns (UGC) to spread word about your business. User-generated campaigns are an incredible way to organically expand your visibility on social media while simultaneously creating the opportunity to engage with your audience. It's sometimes tough to ask people to post about your business on Facebook without it seeming "gimmicky". User-generated campaigns, such as photo contests or asking customers to share or comment on your post to be entered into a prize drawing, help to increase engagement with loyal customers while also promoting your business to a new set of consumers who may not have even heard of your business otherwise.
In order to make sure your retail business is being searched and discovered online, it is important to make sure your social media pages are up to date and have valuable information for your consumers. There are now over 70 million businesses using Facebook for marketing purposes, with 95.8% of social media marketers saying that Facebook delivers the best ROI among social networks.
The bottom line: if you are a retailer and are not currently using Facebook for social media marketing, now is the time to start!