Social Media Retailers by the Numbers

In the rush to leverage social media, thousands of retailers have staked their claims on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Motivated by the prospect of turning followers into customers, a handful of them have built significant social audiences.

With a new Facebook ‘Buy’ button shortening the gap between post and purchase, it’s easy to understand the rush to cultivate a social audience. Here’s who’s doing it well, why they’re succeeding and what to expect when social buying really takes off.

Top Three Retailers on Facebook

According to a Fierce Mobile Retail report, the top three firms on Facebook are Nordstrom, IKEA USA and West Elm. Despite a long list of devotees, these three have found that keeping things short is a key to success. Posts for Nordstrom and IKEA USA rarely exceed twelve words and West Elm seldom exceeds twenty.

Video and images also play a big role. In fact, nearly every Nordstrom Facebook post is accompanied by visual content. The takeaway here? A post can paint a thousand words in one single picture.

Top Three Retailers on Twitter

The same report shows that Target Style, Macy’s and Kohl’s rank highest among retailers using Twitter. While fan interaction fuels these social sellers, it’s a demanding medium requiring three to five tweets daily as well as responses to customer posts on a regular basis.

Target Style boasts the highest fan interaction, nearly doubling responses of brands such as Kohl’s, Macy’s and Sephora. While dialoguing with fans can be demanding, the payoff of an engaged, loyal customer more than justifies the effort.

Top Three Retailers on Instagram

Not surprisingly, Target, Kohl’s and IKEA are also the top retailers on Instagram. In this image-rich platform, quality is key, so if you’re considering Instagram, be ready with some fantastic images of your products, people or services. A professional photographer can help in this regard.

Just Click ‘Buy’

July 2015, Facebook began trialing a ‘buy’ button that allows members to directly purchase goods from the social media site. According to a Mintel study on social shopping,* this streamlined approach was developed specifically to help businesses shorten the pathway to sales and has already made an impact:

  • Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram have launched or trialed their own ‘Buy’ functions.
  • Google now allows users to buy directly from ads on its mobile platform.
  • YouTube, owned by Google, is currently testing its own ‘buy’ feature.

Impulse Buying Through Social

While most businesses primarily use social platforms to build brands and fan bases, developments like the ‘Buy’ button have many eyeing the bigger prize of impulse shoppers. Consumers visit social sites far more often than business sites, and savvy retailers see this traffic as a potentially easy source of added revenues.

If you’re a business engaged in social media, it pays to keep an eye on those that are doing it well, and the trends that are making an impact. For an up-front look, you might even consider becoming a fan or follower yourself.

*Social Shopping: Facebook Unveils Buy Button

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