Social media, in all its various forms, is playing an increasingly larger role for many consumers when it comes to their shopping experience.

Businesses are taking note of this trend as well, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) finding that almost one in five currently have a social media presence.

There are many benefits of having a social media page, but retailers in Australia should approach this area of their retail strategycarefully in order to ensure the best chance of success.

The benefits of having social media pages

Having a social media presence can present many advantages for a business. It allows you to reach out directly to customers and get feedback in real time about products, promotions and in-store events.

It can also be a useful tool in enhancing customer care, as it gives brands a direct and immediate avenue for responding to any issues or complaints. This has the potential to lead to a faster resolution and a more favourable brand perception amongst consumers.

Recently, the UK online fashion retailer ASOS saw some success with social media when it previewed a new summer sale through an application on Facebook. Consumers could play games to win points and get them ahead in the “virtual queue” for the sale. The application received over 1 million views and 174,000 people joined the queue, according to an article published on The Guardian.

Things to think about

However, as with any component of your online retailing strategy, setting up a social media page for your company needs to be approached with caution and preparation.

Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr or any other social networking site, businesses need to plan what kind of content they want to deliver through the page and whether this will be interesting and useful for their customers.

Too much irrelevant content can be just as harmful to your brand as not having enough. In July, an American survey from Janrain found that 74 per cent of online consumers became frustrated with websites when presented with content outside of their personal interests.

“These results align perfectly with additional market research indicating that consumers have reached the tipping point when it comes to being shown content that isn’t relevant to them,” Janrain Chief Executive Larry Drebes said in a July 31 statement.