Christian Retailing

Social media marketing offers significant benefits for stores Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Tuesday, 21 January 2014 11:54 AM America/New_York

TaraHuntRetailers who are looking to social media as the solution that will boost their sales may be missing the point, according to Lime Foundry’s Tara Hunt, a marketing researcher and strategist based in Toronto. In a recent blog at, she considers the real value of social media for retailers.

Retailers who find themselves complaining that social media “doesn’t work” may want to reconsider its purpose. It’s not to drive sales, said Hunt, and results are never guaranteed with online or any kind of marketing.

First, good marketing through social media makes your store “findable” and, if done right, it increases your credibility.

“It’s better to be findable than not,” Hunt writes.

Overall, three elements of social media marketing make it better than traditional one-way channels: analytics, feedback and relationships. Analytics tells you who is viewing your posts, while “raw” feedback lets you hear directly from your current and potential customers and doesn’t cost a thing. Relationships that come about through the built-in conversation model of social media encourage bonding with your customers.

Additionally Hunt emphasizes to retailers that social media engagement requires a well-thought-out strategy, so, she advises, don’t get your kid to do it.

Since retailers want to make good use of their time, Hunt indicates that the return-on-investment for using social media is first, the ability to listen; second, serendipity, those moments where you can lead the conversation and make a great impression; and third, the opportunity to build community rather than simply a customer database. Community builds a word-of-mouth network that is “real and authentic and it spreads,” she writes.

Hunt ends her blog by encouraging users to “stop thinking of social media as a direct marketing tool or some sort of silver bullet that will drive sales through the roof. Stop reading those case studies where Facebook … drove millions of dollars in sales from a viral campaign. That’s not the point.”