Getting Social Right for Retailers

By Evelyn Hoover  |  May 4, 2015

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Looking for some social media inspiration? Check out BEARPAW. Whether it’s on TwitterFacebookInstagram or any other social site, the shoemaker tells its story with a consistent voice and tone. That’s one of the reasons Hugh Sinclair, vice president of logistics for Shopping Blitz, holds the retailer in high social esteem.

“The way they build their shoes is how they sell them … so that they are able to get their story out there without massive amounts of advertising by just telling their story,” Sinclair explains.

Sinclair helped found Shopping Blitz in June 2011 in an effort to “make a better wheel.” One of the ways the online retailer accomplishes this is through social media, which is something Sinclair says retailers aren’t getting right in many cases.

“We can find out from our other advertising channels what we need to push, what we need to look into; can we poke around and get some feedback from our customer base? Using social media pushes out and allows us to get more customers to tell more about products to find out what we need to start pushing to sell to our customers who happen to be on social media—so it’s a big circle,” he explains. “That’s what we’re trying to create here.”

Social is necessary because Shopping Blitz doesn’t follow a traditional retail model. It finds a customer base first and then moves products to them instead of purchasing a bunch of goods, putting them in a warehouse and then figuring out how to move the merchandise to the customer base.

Social media gives retailers a platform to tell a story. For Shopping Blitz that story is told on the company’s blog and via Twitter, Facebook, Polyvore, and Pinterest. “We like to look at it more as we are selling stories, not products, and people buy the products because of the stories,” he explains.

While the company’s message on each platform is different, Shopping Blitz strives to use a similar tone and voice across all social channels. Sinclair believes this is key not only for retailers, but also for companies in other industries.

Retailers who have been reluctant to adopt social media should start small and be sure to tie the channels together. “If you have a blog, no one is going to your blog unless you tell people about it on Facebook or Twitter or whatever,” he says. “You want to tweet about what you’re doing on your blog and have everything attach to each other.”

Don’t be afraid to converse with customers. Being social isn’t a one-way street. “The idea is you want to be engaging, so you have to find what engages your customer with the products that you have available and talk about that,” Sinclair says. “Keep engaging your customers.”

Read next: Why Always-On Organic Social Media Strategy Still Matters

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