A business needs to have a steady stream of buyers to find success. This requires seeking them out actively, but when you do, you need to make sure they’re likely to do business with you long-term. It all comes down to how you go about prospecting your leads. In this guide, we’ll discuss what B2B…Reblogged 1 week ago from www.benchmarkemail.com
Ideally, the stories you tell in your marketing accentuate the positive, because that’s what gets people to buy. But if people are going to care about your story in the first place, it needs conflict. Here’s how to make your storytelling more compelling. Read the full article at MarketingProfsReblogged 1 week ago from www.marketingprofs.com
Responsive search ads are very flexible ads that automatically adapt to show the right message to the right customer. You enter multiple headlines and descriptions when creating the ad. Google’s machine learning systems will mix headlines and descriptions and test different combinations of the ads to learn which performs best over time. The most relevant message will be shown to the customer.
Responsive search ads are the default ad type in Google Ads Pay Per Click (PPC) search campaigns as of February 18, 2021. This change isn’t surprising, considering Google’s increased focus on automation in Google Ads.
Since responsive search ads adapt their content to show the most relevant message to match customer search terms, they help you reach more customers and may help to increase conversion rates and campaign performance. According to Google, advertisers who use responsive search ads in their ad groups can achieve an increase of up to 10% more clicks and conversions as compared to standard text ads.
But responsive search ads have many more benefits:
Mobile-friendly: They are very flexible and can adapt to fit devices of different widths. Most online searches are made on mobile devices. These ads can adapt to show fewer headlines and descriptions on mobile devices.
Save time in testing: By setting up responsive search ads with multiple combinations of assets, they save time both in writing and testing multiple versions of ads.
Reach more customers: Having multiple ad combinations and keywords helps to improve search relevance since there are more headlines to match customer search terms. This helps you reach more customers and compete in more auctions.
Target specific geo locations: Some of the headlines used in the ads can target specific cities and customer locations. This can help to target local customers in specific geographic locations.
Available in all languages: Responsive search ads are available in all languages to all advertisers.
Here is an example of a responsive search ad from Google search results:
Sign into your Google Ads PPC account and select Responsive Search Ad from the Ad menu:
Select Ads and extensions in the left menu
Click on the blue plus button on the top
Select Responsive Search Ad in the menu
Now you can enter the headlines and descriptions and the landing page for the responsive search ad:
Select a Search Campaign
Select an Ad Group
Enter the Final URL ( this is the landing page URL).
Enter the display paths for the Display URL (this is optional).
Enter at least 5 unique headlines. The minimum is 3 and the maximum is 15. The tool will suggest keywords from the ad group to include in the headlines.
Enter at least 2 unique descriptions. The minimum is 2 and the maximum is 4.
As you create the ad, an ad strength indicator will indicate the ad strength.
As you type the ad, you will see a preview of the Ad in different combinations in the preview panel.
Save the ad
Follow the best practices below to optimize responsive search ads for better performance.
These tips will help you optimize your responsive search ads in your Google Ads search campaigns and increase clicks and conversions.
Google recommends adding at least one responsive search ad per ad group. Use the ad strength indicator to make sure the responsive search ad has a “good” or ”excellent” ad strength, as this improves the chances that the ad will show. Remember, the maximum number of enabled responsive search ads allowed per ad group is three.
It’s best to create very specific ad groups based on your products with at least three quality ads, as recommended by Google. This enables Google’s systems to optimize for performance and may result in more clicks.
The power of the flexible format of responsive search ads lies in having multiple ad combinations and keywords that can match customer search terms. This helps to increase search relevance and reach more customers.
When building your responsive search ads, add as many unique headlines as you can to increase possible ad combinations and improve campaign performance.
The headlines and descriptions in a responsive search ad can be shown in multiple combinations in any order. It’s therefore important to ensure that these assets are unique from each other and work well together when they are shown in different ad combinations.
When creating a responsive search ad, you can add up to fifteen headlines and four descriptions. The responsive search ad will show up to three headlines and two descriptions at a time. On smaller screens, like mobile devices, it may show with two headlines and one description.
Here are tips for adding headlines and descriptions:
1. Create at least 8-10 headlines so that there are more ad combinations to show. More ad combinations helps to increase ad relevance and improve ad group performance.
To increase the chances that the ad will show, enter at least five headlines that are unique from each other. Do not repeat the same phrases as that will restrict the number of ad combinations that are generated by the system.
You can use some headlines to focus on important product or service descriptions.
Include your popular keywords in at least two headlines to increase ad relevance. As you create the responsive search ad, the tool will recommend popular keywords in the ad group to include in headlines to improve ad performance.
Make sure that you DO NOT include keywords in three headlines so that more ad combinations are generated. Instead you can highlight benefits, special services, special hours, calls to action, shipping and return policies, special promotions, taglines, or ratings.
Try adding headlines of different lengths. Do not max out the characters in every headline. Google’s systems will test both long and short headlines.
There are 30 characters for each headline.
2. Include two descriptions that are unique. The maximum is four descriptions.
Descriptions should focus on describing product or service features that are not listed in the headlines, along with a call to action.
There are 90 characters for each description.
An example of creating a responsive search ad with headlines and descriptions is shown in the figure below.
Use headlines and descriptions from your existing expanded text ads in the ad group when writing your headlines and descriptions for the responsive search ads. This helps you get more ad combinations with keywords that have already been proven to be successful in your marketing campaign.
Responsive search ads will show headlines and descriptions in any order by default. To control the positions of text in the ad, you can pin headlines and descriptions to certain positions in the ad. Pinning is a new concept introduced with responsive search ads.
According to Google, pinning is not recommended for most advertisers because it limits the number of ad combinations that can be matched to customer search terms and can impact ad performance.
Use the pinning feature sparingly. Pinning too many headlines and descriptions to fixed positions in the responsive search ad reduces the effectiveness of using this flexible ad format to serve multiple ad combinations.
1. If you have text that must appear in every ad, you should enter it in either Headline Position 1, Headline Position 2 or Description Position 1, and pin it there. This text will always show in the ad.
2. You can also pin headlines and descriptions that must always be included in the ad to specific positions in the ad. For example, disclaimers or special offers.
3. To pin an asset, hover to the right of any headline or description when setting up the Ad and click on the pin icon that appears. Then select the position where you want the headline or description to appear.
4. Pinning a headline or description to one position will show that asset in that position every time the ad is shown. For increased flexibility, it is recommended to pin 2 or 3 headlines or descriptions to each position. Any of the pinned headlines or descriptions can then be shown in the pinned position so that you still have different ad combinations available.
5. Click Save.
The image below shows a headline pinned in position 1 and a description pinned in position 2. The Ad will always show this headline and description in the pinned positions every time it runs.
As you create a responsive search ad, you will see an ad strength indicator on the right with a strength estimate. The ad strength indicator helps you improve the quality and effectiveness of your ads to improve ad performance.
Improving ad strength from “Poor” to ‘Excellent’ can result in up to 9% more clicks and conversions, according to Google.
1. Ad strength measures the relevance, diversity and quality of the Ad content.
2. Some of the ad strength suggestions include
3. Click on “View Ideas” to see suggestions provided by the tool to improve ad relevance and ad quality.
4. The ad strength ratings include “Excellent”, “Good”, “Average” , “Poor” and “No Ads”.
5. Try to get at least a “Good” rating by changing the content of headlines or descriptions or by adding popular keywords. If you have a lot of assets pinned to specific positions, try unpinning some of the assets to improve ad strength.
Expanded text ads are still supported but they are no longer the default ad format in Google Ads paid search campaigns.
You can still run expanded text ads in your ad groups along with the responsive search ads. Google recommends having one responsive search ad along with two expanded text ads in an ad group to improve performance.
However, Google has removed the option to add a text ad directly from the Ads and extensions menu. When you add a new ad, the menu now lists only options to add a Responsive Search Ad, Call Ad, Responsive Display Ad and Ad variations.
You can still add an expanded text ad although you cannot add it directly from the Ads and extensions menu. Follow these steps,
In the Ads and extensions menu, click to select Responsive search ads.
This opens up the editing menu to create a responsive search ad.
Then click on “switch back to text ads” on the top to create a text ad.
The removal of expanded text ads from the Ad and extensions menu certainly suggests that Google may be planning to phase out expanded text ads in the future. However, they continue to be supported at this time.
In summary, responsive search ads continue the progression towards automation and machine learning in Google Ads. We have used responsive search ads in PPC search campaigns at our digital marketing agency, and have seen an increase in clicks and CTR as compared to expanded text ads.
You can improve the performance of your Google Ads PPC search campaigns by following these five best practices for responsive search ads:
Add at least one responsive search ad per ad group.
Add several unique headlines and descriptions.
Use popular content from your expanded text ads.
Pin some of the assets to control where they appear in the ad.
Increase ad strength to at least a “good” rating to improve ad performance.
Other best practices recommended by Google include:
Using ad extensions to make ads more engaging to your customers. You can add up to four ad extensions to each ad group.
Responsive search ads support countdown customizers and location insertion to target your customer locations.
Using smart bidding and broad match keywords in campaigns with responsive search ads can increase conversions by as much as 20% for the same cost per action.
Have other optimization tips? Share them with #MozBlog on Twitter or LinkedIn.
Reblogged 1 week ago from feedproxy.google.com
Browser developer tools keep evolving, with new and improved features added all the time. It’s hard to keep track, especially when using more than one browser. With that much on offer, it is not surprising that we feel overwhelmed and use the features we already know instead of keeping up with what’s new.
It’s a shame though, as some of them can make us much more productive.
So, my goal with this article is to raise awareness on some of the newest features in Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Firefox and Safari. Hopefully, it will make you want to try them out, and maybe will help you get more comfortable next time you need to debug a browser-specific issue.
With that said, let’s jump right in.
The Chrome DevTools team has been hard at work modernizing their (now 13 years old) codebase. They have been busy improving the build system, migrating to TypeScript, introducing new WebComponents, re-building their theme infrastructure, and way more. As a result, the tools are now easier to extend and change.
But on top of this less user-facing work, the team did ship a lot of features too. Let me go over a few of them here, related to CSS debugging.
CSS scroll-snapping offers web developers a way to control the position at which a scrollable container stops scrolling. It’s a useful feature for, e.g., long lists of photos where you want the browser to position each photo neatly within its scrollable container automatically for you.
The key properties of scroll-snapping are:
scroll-snap-type, which tells the browser the direction in which snapping happens, and how it happens;
scroll-snap-align, which tells the browser where to snap.
Chrome DevTools introduced new features that help debug these key properties:
scroll-snap-type, the Elements panel shows a badge next to it.
This overlay makes it easy to understand if and how things snap into place after scrolling around. This can be very useful when, e.g., your items don’t have a background and boundaries between them are hard to see.
While scroll snapping isn’t a new CSS feature, adoption is rather low (less than 4% according to chromestatus.com), and since the specification changed, not every browser supports it the same way.
I hope that this DevTools feature will make people want to play more with it and ultimately adopt it for their sites.
If you have done any kind of web development in recent years, you have probably heard of container queries. It’s been one of the most requested CSS features for the longest time and has been a very complex problem for browser makers and spec writers to solve.
If you don’t know what container queries are, I would suggest going through Stephanie Eckles’ Primer On CSS Container Queries article first.
In a few words, they’re a way for developers to define the layout and style of elements depending on their container’s size. This ability is a huge advantage when creating reusable components since we can make them adapt to the place they are used in (rather than only adapt to the viewport size which media queries are good for).
Fortunately, things are moving in this space and Chromium now supports container queries and the Chrome DevTools team has started adding tooling that makes it easier to get started with them.
Container queries are not enabled by default in Chromium yet (to enable them, go to chrome://flags and search for “container queries”), and it may still take a little while for them to be. Furthermore, the DevTools work to debug them is still in its early days. But some early features have already landed.
@containerat-rule, then this rule appears in the Styles sidebar of the Elements panel. This is similar to how media queries styles are presented in DevTools and will make it straightforward to know where a certain style is coming from.
As the above screenshot shows, the Styles sidebar displays 2 rules that apply to the current element. The bottom one applies to the
.media element at all times and provides its default style. And the top one is nested in a
@container (max-width:300px) container query that only takes effect when the container is narrower than 300px.
@containerat-rule, the Styles pane displays a link to the element that the rule resolves to, and hovering over it displays extra information about its size. This way you know exactly why the container query matched.
The Chrome DevTools team is actively working on this feature and you can expect much more in the future.
Before going into features that other browsers have, let’s talk about Chromium for a little bit. Chromium is an open-source project that Chrome, Edge, Brave, and other browsers are built upon. It means all these browsers have access to the features of Chromium.
Two of the most active contributors to this project are Google and Microsoft and, when it comes to DevTools, they collaborated on a few interesting features that I’d like to go over now.
A few years ago, Firefox innovated in this space and shipped the first-ever grid and flexbox inspectors. Chromium-based browsers now also make it possible for web developers to debug grid and flexbox easily.
This collaborative project involved engineers, product managers and designers from Microsoft and Google, working towards a shared goal (learn more about the project itself in my BlinkOn talk).
Among other things, DevTools now has the following layout debugging features:
Play with the various flex alignment properties visually. (Large preview)
Highlight various CSS properties independently to understand how they affect the layout. (Large preview)
You can read more information about this on Microsoft’s and Google’s documentation sites.
This was another collaborative project involving Microsoft and Google which, now, makes it possible for all Chromium-based DevTools to be translated in languages other than English.
Originally, there was never a plan to localize DevTools, which means that this was a huge effort. It involved going over the entire codebase and making UI strings localizable.
The result was worth it though. If English isn’t your first language and you’d feel more comfortable using DevTools in a different one, head over to the Settings (
F1) and find the language drop-down.
Here is a screenshot of what it looks like in Chrome DevTools:
And here is how Edge looks in Japanese:
Microsoft switched to Chromium to develop Edge more than 2 years ago now. While, at the time, it caused a lot of discussions in the web community, not much has been written or said about it since then. The people working on Edge (including its DevTools) have been busy though, and the browser has a lot of unique features now.
Being based on the Chromium open source project does mean that Edge benefits from all of its features and bug fixes. Practically speaking, the Edge team ingests the changes made in the Chromium repository in their own repository.
But over the past year or so, the team started to create Edge-specific functionality based on the needs of Edge users and feedback. Edge DevTools now has a series of unique features that I will go over.
With almost 30 different panels, DevTools is a really complicated piece of software in any browser. But, you never really need access to all the tools at the same time. In fact, when starting DevTools for the first time, only a few panels are visible and you can add more later.
On the other hand though, it’s hard to discover the panels that aren’t shown by default, even if they could be really useful to you.
Edge added 3 small, yet powerful, features to address this:
+(plus) button at the end of the tab bar to open any tool,
The following GIF shows how closing and opening tools in both the main and drawer areas can be done in Edge.
Easily open the tools you need and close the ones you don’t. (Large preview)
You can also move tools between the main area and drawer area:
Move tools between the main top area and the bottom drawer area. (Large preview)
It is hard for beginners and seasoned developers alike to know all about DevTools. As I mentioned before, there are so many panels that it’s unlikely you know them all.
To address this, Edge added a way to go directly from the tools to their documentation on Microsoft’s website.
This new Tooltips feature works as a toggleable overlay that covers the tools. When enabled, panels are highlighted and contextual help is provided for each of them, with links to documentation.
You can start the Tooltips in 3 different ways:
...) menu, then going into Help, and selecting “Toggle the DevTools Tooltips”;
Display contextual help on the tools. (Large preview)
In code editing environments, developers love customizing their color themes to make the code easier to read and more pleasant to look at. Because web developers spend considerable amounts of time in DevTools too, it makes sense for it to also have customizable colors.
Edge just added a number of new themes to DevTools, on top of the already available dark and light themes. A total of 9 new themes were added. These come from VS Code and will therefore be familiar to people using this editor.
You can select the theme you want to use by going into the settings (using
F1 or the gear icon in the top-right corner), or by using the command menu and typing
Customize DevTools with one of 9 VS Code themes. (Large preview)
Similar to the Chrome DevTools team, the folks working on Firefox DevTools have been busy with a big architecture refresh aimed at modernizing their codebase. Additionally, their team is quite a bit smaller these days as Mozilla had to refocus over recent times. But, even though this means they had less time for adding new features, they still managed to release a few really interesting ones that I’ll go over now.
Have you ever asked yourself: “where is this scrollbar coming from?” I know I have, and now Firefox has a tool to debug this very problem.
In the Inspector panel, all elements that scroll have a
scroll badge next to them, which is already useful when dealing with deeply nested DOM trees. On top of this, you can click this badge to reveal the element (or elements) that caused the scrollbar to appear.
You can find more documentation about it here.
Navigating a web page with the keyboard requires using the
tab key to move through focusable elements one by one. The order in which focusable elements get focused while using
tab is an important aspect of the accessibility of your site and an incorrect order may be confusing to users. It’s especially important to pay attention to this as modern layout CSS techniques allow web developers to rearrange elements on a page very easily.
Firefox has a useful Accessibility Inspector panel that provides information about the accessibility tree, finds and reports various accessibility problems automatically, and lets you simulate different color vision deficiencies.
On top of these features, the panel now provides a new page overlay that displays the tabbing order for focusable elements.
To enable it, use the “Show Tabbing Order” checkbox in the toolbar.
You can find more documentation about it here.
Not many web development areas depend on tooling as much as performance optimization does. In this domain, Chrome DevTools’ Performance panel is best in class.
Today, this new performance tool replaces the old Firefox DevTools performance panel in pre-release versions (Nightly and Developer Edition). Take it for a spin when you get the chance.
Among other things, the new Firefox profiler supports sharing profiles with others so they can help you improve the performance of your recorded use case.
Safari Web Inspector
Last but not least, let’s go over a few of the recent Safari features.
The small team at Apple has been keeping itself very busy with a wide range of improvements and fixes around the tools. Learning more about the Safari Web Inspector can help you be more productive when debugging your sites on iOS or tvOS devices. Furthermore, it has a bunch of features that other DevTools don’t, and that not a lot of people know about.
With Firefox, Chrome, and Edge (and all Chromium-based browsers) having dedicated tools for visualizing and debugging CSS grids, Safari was the last major browser not to have this. Well, now it does!
Fundamentally, Safari now has the same features just like other browsers’ DevTools in this area. This is great as it means it’s easy to go from one browser to the next and still be productive.
What’s interesting about Safari’s implementation though is that they’ve really nailed the performance aspect of the tool. You can enable many different overlays at once, and scroll around the page without it causing any performance problems at all.
The other interesting thing is Safari introduced a 3-pane Elements panel, just like Firefox, which allows you to see the DOM, the CSS rules for the selected element, and the Layout panel all at once.
Find out more about the CSS Grid Inspector on this WebKit blog post.
Safari used to have a separate Resources and Debugger panel. They have merged them into a single Sources panel that makes it easier to find everything you need when debugging your code. Additionally, this makes the tool more consistent with Chromium which a lot of people are used to.
Consistency for common tasks is important in a cross-browser world. Web developers already need to test across multiple browsers, so if they need to learn a whole new paradigm when using another browser’s DevTools, it can make things more difficult than they need to be.
But Safari also recently focused on adding innovative features to its debugger that other DevTools don’t have.
debugger statements or logging for example.
New breakpoint configurations:
All browsers support multiple types of breakpoints like conditional breakpoints, DOM breakpoints, event breakpoints, and more.
Safari recently improved their entire suite of breakpoint types by giving them all a way to configure them extensively. With this new breakpoint feature, you can decide:
queryHolders console functions:
Safari does have a Memory tool that can help resolve these issues by letting you explore memory heap snapshots. But sometimes you already know which class or object is causing the problem and you want to find what instances exist or what refers to it.
queryInstances(Animal) will return an array of all of its instances.
foo is an object in your application, then
queryHolders(foo) will return an array of all the other objects that have references to
I hope these features will be useful to you. I can only recommend using multiple browsers and getting familiar with their DevTools. Being more familiar with other DevTools can prove useful when you have to debug an issue in a browser you don’t use on a regular basis.
Know that the companies which make browsers all have teams working on DevTools actively. They’re invested in making them better, less buggy, and more powerful. These teams depend on your feedback to build the right things. Without hearing about what problems you are facing, or what features you lack, it’s harder for them to make the right decisions about what to build.
Reporting bugs to a DevTools team won’t just help you when the fix comes, but may also be helping many others who have been facing the same issue.
It’s worth knowing that the DevTools teams at Microsoft, Mozilla, Apple and Google are usually fairly small and receive a lot of feedback, so reporting an issue does not mean it will be fixed quickly, but it does help, and those teams are listening.
Here are a few ways you can report bugs, ask questions or request features:
With that, thank you for reading!Reblogged 1 week ago from smashingmagazine.com
Plus, Q&A about ETAs and RSAs
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
Reblogged 1 week ago from feeds.searchengineland.com
Disclaimers in ads, third-party integrations with Universal Event Tracking, flexible insertion orders and inline appeals for rejected product offers were also among Microsoft Advertising’s September announcements.
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
Reblogged 1 week ago from feeds.searchengineland.com
Since we first embarked on our journey with Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), our efforts have led to a team who not only understands the importance of DEI, but who see it as an essential aspect of who we are as a company.
Fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace environment is only possible when every team member is on board. And over the past year, we took a deeper look at the way our team experiences DEI at Sprout. What we found was a need to accelerate our efforts and refine our strategy so it can scale alongside us as we continue to grow. In this year’s DEI report, we share the current state of our demographic makeup along with key learnings and our goals for the future.
Our mission is to build upon our foundation and scale our efforts so that everyone at Sprout is empowered to make DEI a part of their daily lives. By sharing our data, reflections and future plans, we recommit ourselves to championing this important work while driving further accountability and ownership of DEI across the entire organization.
We look forward to what’s ahead and want to thank our team for their unwavering dedication. To learn more, read the report and our goals for evolving DEI at Sprout in the years ahead.
The post Sprout Social’s 2021 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Report appeared first on Sprout Social.
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In the world of retail, brands fall into one of two camps: those that embrace social media marketing as a critical component of their customer experience, and those that view it as a nice-to-have.
But social media usage is on the rise, with 76% of consumers reporting they used social media more in the last year and 63% purchased on it. Recent data like this from the Sprout Social Index 2021™, UK & Ireland report should serve as a wake-up call for retailers sceptical about what social media is worth.
Whether it’s a digital or in-person purchase, social followers signal potential business for brands of all shapes and sizes.
For retailers, social media is more than an accessory, it’s a through-line for the customer experience.
Maybe someone’s learning about your brand for the first time. Perhaps you’re looking to reach former or current customers. Either way, retailers need to create a social customer journey that encompasses all of the actions above versus only acquisition or attention.
The beauty of social media for retail is that you can engage with people at just about any point of the customer lifecycle.
But therein lies the challenge of social media marketing for retailers, too.
To make the most of your campaigns, it’s crucial to understand the tactics and strategies that are proven to work among today’s top retailers. In this guide, we break down social media for retail and what brands need to do to map out that ever-so-important customer journey.
Retailers can’t afford to stick to a single social platform.
While putting all of your efforts into one channel might keep you from spreading your resources thin, doing so also means leaving money on the table. Literally.
And yes, recent stats point to just how important Instagram is for retailers today in terms of social selling. That said, there’s more to social media for retail than the ‘gram. In fact, the Sprout Social Index 2021™ found titans like Facebook (55%), Instagram (54%) and YouTube (49%) rule British and Irish consumers’ social media habits. There’s also significant consumer activity on emerging platforms like TikTok (32%) and Snapchat (29%).
Let’s take a quick dive into how retailers can spread their social presence across multiple platforms while taking advantage of each channel’s strengths and best practices.
Sweaty Betty has the ultimate recipe for drawing people in. Its fitness inspo vibe and engaging exercise tutorials capture Instagrammers’ attention and keep them coming back. This timeless brand also combines eye-catching aesthetics, and a polished influencer marketing strategy to turn their posts into traffic-generating machines.
Sweaty Betty reinforces its Instagram strategy with empowering and motivational content on channels like Pinterest to capture even more of its audience online. The result? Sweaty Betty turns their social media footfall into site visitors and then cold, hard, cash.
To ensure that you’re hitting up every segment of your potentially fragmented audience, it’s important that you have a strategy for promoting content between platforms. Sprout can help with that through social scheduling that not only lets you cross-promote content, but time your promotions based on optimal engagement.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but so much of social media for retail means finding ways to mesh your social presence with existing paid campaigns. Especially, since business’ top three social media goals (brand awareness, upping community engagement, and increasing web traffic) match all the social media platforms’ makeup.
So, whether you’re running a promotion, launching a product or pushing time-sensitive offers, you can’t afford for your followers to be in the dark or assume they’re going to learn about your promos elsewhere.
Some brands might be wary of pushing products too hard on social media. That said, nearly two-thirds of consumers say social posts by brands influence their purchasing decisions.
Also, consistently publishing coupon codes, offers, and discounts is fair game for encouraging impulse buys. If nothing else, striking product photos are prime Instagram content that doesn’t come off as “salesy” if they’re presented with some creative flair.
Speaking of cross-promotion, consider that any given retailer’s email list is their bread and butter for encouraging repeat business. With an engaged and social following, brands have more opportunities to nurture customers and keep them in the loop about their latest promotions.
Even coffee brands are in on the action. Nespresso also uses a multi-pronged marketing approach. Its team implements email marketing while putting its Instagram feed at the forefront with customer-centric and inspirational content.
Of course, social media for retail isn’t just as simple as blasting offers and deals. Although customers are more than happy to follow retailers in pursuit of a sale, your long game should be to sell your brand beyond your products.
This means figuring out your brand identity and making connections with customers. Perhaps one of the easiest and most effective ways to do so is through asking questions.
What sort of products do people want? What sort of content do they want to see? Whether through Instagram Stories or question-based posts, picking people’s brains is easier than ever. Additionally, question-based content encourages replies and interactions which are like candy to modern social algorithms.
The feedback gathered from customers can not only inform your content and product strategies but also serve as a break from purely promotional content. Retailers like Wilko do an awesome job of asking playful questions while subtly featuring their products at the same time.
— wilko (@LoveWilko) March 1, 2020
— wilko (@LoveWilko) February 29, 2020
Food for thought: in a day and age of online shopping and fast-paced transactions, there’s one thing that can set your brand apart from the rest—unbeatable customer service.
Customer support has become so crucial to social media success that the Sprout Social Index 2021™, UK & Ireland report found that being known for putting customers first is the number one trait consumers say makes brands the best on social.
Effective social media for retail means listening and responding to customer concerns with care. This means both personalising your replies while also responding in a timely manner (another top customer expectation). These factors make a huge difference in customer satisfaction.
As noted in our guide to Twitter customer service, 60% of people expect a response within an hour.
Don’t think of responding to such concerns as customers being needy, though. The ability to respond with grace spells good news for your brand as you strive to keep customers around for the long haul. Check out how John Lewis manages to address a reasonable concern while still scoring a “Like” and a potential sale on Facebook.
In fact, John Lewis’ stellar customer service on social media is an extension of its consumer-focused reputation. Social customer service isn’t just about addressing questions and complaints.
Customer care also means giving customers shout-outs to highlight their positive experiences. As noted by our data, that’s the top reason why customers reach out: capitalise on those moments and let them serve as social proof for your brand.
The more you’re able to highlight your satisfied customers, the better. Why? Because poor customer service was cited as one of the top reasons consumers unfollow businesses on social.
The takeaway here is that customer service can’t be an afterthought for retailers. Through consistent monitoring and social listening, you can make sure those precious mentions don’t fall by the wayside.
Speaking of listening, social media retail trends are constantly changing.
Brands are constantly experimenting with new ways to engage with followers. At the same time, competitors and new products are constantly flooding any given retail space which speaks to the need for brands to have a strong pulse on their industries.
Sprout’s social listening suite includes a query builderwhere brands can easily monitor mentions, hashtags, and industry-related keywords to better track what customers are buzzing about.
More advanced listening features in Sprout can also help retailers monitor their brand sentiment and mentions to ensure healthy, positive growth in engagement over time.
goldmine of business intelligence on social media. It’s all a matter of making sure you’re listening, though.
Easily one of the biggest needs when it comes to social media for retail, brands need to be on the hunt for user-generated content (UGC).
Even big retailers like H&M use UGC to show off their products and create a strong community around them. Customer photos are noted to increase conversions and engagement among social followers. Your customers want to talk about their latest purchases, granted you give them a chance to do so.
Whether it’s for an influencer marketing campaign or simply encouraging UGC, retailers these days are expected to create their own hashtag to encourage organic promotion on behalf of their followers. Doing so provides yet another avenue for customers to engage with your brand and vice-versa.
Encouraging purchases directly from social media is more than possible. However, it’s not as simple as dropping product links and walking away.
If you want to increase your social media conversion rate<, you’re going to need to make shopping a seamless experience
For example, let’s look at how easy In the Style makes shopping their Instagram feed. When you click “View Shop” you’re greeted with a sleek catalogue. Each item also comes with a product description and essential terms breakdown along with their social-specific landing page which makes it a cinch to browse products.
Ideally, you want to keep your customers moving from Point A to Point B rather than bouncing between a bunch of links and redirects. Even if you don’t use a third-party tool for social shopping, making your social landing pages scrollable and mobile-friendly is a must-do.
Additionally, note that social platforms are constantly rolling out new shopping and advertising features tailored for social media for retail. For example, the roll-out of Instagram Checkout signals how networks are trying to make it easier for brands to encourage purchases.
Of course, we can’t talk about social media for retail without discussing paid ads.
With social algorithms seemingly cracking down on purely promotional organic posts, running ads allows retailers to appeal to customers without running the risk of spamming them.
The good news is that retailers can personalise and target their advertising like never before. Brands can run campaigns to prospect for new customers or reach out to returning customers simultaneously.
For example, brands like PrettyLittleThing and Look Fantastic use Facebook and Instagram’s dynamic ads to reach former customers or they’re looking to reactivate. Such ads serve as a cost-effective way to reintroduce your brand to customers and are likewise noted for their high ROI.
If you’re a retailer, you have a distinct opportunity to make a lasting impression on your customers in person.
This can be done by combining your social presence with your physical packaging if possible. From stickers and business cards to quite literally wrapping up your products with your social handles, there are tons of creative ways to couple social media with in-person promotion.
Even something as simple as a branded business card snuck into your shipped orders is a smart move. Retailers can’t be shy about promoting their social presence and in-person creatives are one of the most meaningful ways to do it.
What’s better than a Sticker with your logo on it? 🤔
A Sticker with your logo AND a QR code driving to your menu. Or site. Or Instagram. Wherever you want, really.
— MOO (@MOO) June 16, 2021
The end-game of social media for retail is to nurture customers and encourage them to become long-term shoppers.
In other words, you can’t afford to solely focus on acquisition. Growing your follower count is nice, but ask yourself: is your social presence resulting in long-term engagement and purchases?
If someone is willing to follow your brand, they’ve already signalled their interest to make a purchase. This highlights the need to promote offers while also connecting with a diverse content calendar. As noted by the examples above, retailers have a ton of creative options available for regularly engaging their target audiences.
At the same time, think about how you can increase what your social following is worth over time. Ramp up your efforts during the holidays where consumer spending is at an all-time high. Run influencer marketing and UGC campaigns.
Try your hand at social ads. And along the way, make sure you’re keeping a close eye on engagement via social analytics. By tracking your growth and engagement by the numbers, you can better understand what’s encouraging purchases from your followers over time.
There’s no denying that retailers have their hands full in terms of their social presence. But as we said, retailers have the most to gain from social media at large.
From uncovering new customers to increasing the value of the ones you already have, the amount of creative business opportunities available to retail brands on social media is seemingly endless. And with the help of tools such as Sprout Social, brands can run and monitor their campaigns by the numbers to win more customers along the way.
There’s never been a better time to go all-in on your social media to drive more traffic, build a solid community and secure more sales.
Interested in more tips for creating a social-first customer experience? Download this checklist for providing exceptional customer service on Instagram today.
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