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What’s the best way to be conversational on social media?
What’s the best way to be conversational on social media?

How social media can help retail businesses

Successful social media requires careful consideration. Digital marketing consultant SIMON DELL lists the questions that firms should ask before launching online content strategies.

Organisations often go headlong at social media strategy like a bull at a gate. Sometimes it’s because a CEO has seen sales flagging and has decided that the solution to better growth is a social presence.

Other times competitors spur businesses into action and sometimes it’s just because social media has been in the pipeline for a while and has finally received the go ahead.

Before embarking upon any social-media activity, managers should stop and consider these six core questions.

Only we…?

A good social presence arises when a company or individual communicates to an audience a unique perspective on an issue related to their field of skills or a product or service that only they deliver.

Think hard. What is it about your business that makes you stand out? What is it that makes your current customers buy from you? Why do they keep coming back? Is it because they love you or is it because they have no other choice?

How does the company fit into the general marketplace? Is it a trusted legacy business or a fast-moving start-up?

Are you prepared to publish?
"Pick three or four out of the list and smash them. Don’t try and do ten of them and end-up with a half-assed job"

All the meetings and money in the world can’t sustain a strong social presence if the company isn’t prepared to provide the necessary engagement. For example, how does your company deal with negative comments on a public post? Do you panic and delete them? Do you fire off defensive or snappy responses? Do you offer a restrained reply?

In short, do you have the processes in place to take those negative comments and use them to your benefit, growing and developing your business at the same time?

Content through social channels needs to be entertaining, informative or both. Do you have the capacity to do that? Many brands attempt to be entertaining but lack the skills to execute this properly. Poor delivery isn’t going to convince and convert anyone.

Can you be conversational?

Social media is a two-way street and businesses sometimes forget this. People want to ask you questions, whether it’s about the location and time of their next delivery or something more esoteric. Not all people are on social media to waste time; some are seeking information!

Importantly, you want those users who ask questions to get the answers they need. To achieve this, your social-media presence needs to be able to successfully converse with potential customers.

What are competitors doing?

This is a basic question but one that can get overlooked. Businesses set out to do the best they can on social media but it’s not necessary to have the greatest page in the world, just to have a better page than your nearest competitor.

A little market research goes a long way – study your competition to understand how you can do things better. Incorporate your findings into your strategy for a much easier pathway to social-media success.

What is the source of our content?

This is the biggie. Content is more than just the odd tweet; it needs to be rich and engaging. Where are you going to get that?

Content is everywhere; there are innumerable sources and content types. Now, businesses don’t need to try to feature them all but they do need to choose a few and do them well.

Pick three or four out of the list and smash them. Don’t try and do ten of them and end-up with a half-assed job. That’s almost worse than doing nothing at all.

When you do create content, focus on making it searchable, in-depth, quotable and evergreen – it should still be relevant in a year’s time. If you can do that, you’ll find people will share it and you’ll start to position your business as an authority.

What is successful social-media?

There’s no point in any of this unless you have some sort of metric with which to measure your success. How would your company define success in the social-media space? Claiming ‘engagement’ as a metric is pointless. Engagement doesn’t sell things, no matter what other social media gurus out there might claim.

Don’t be afraid to tie your activity to real sales metrics. How many new business enquiries do you get? How many times are current clients referring new clients to you? How many widgets have you sold?

Don’t be afraid to use social media to deliver a call to action. Don’t do it all the time, of course, but don’t be scared off either.

Simon Dell

Contributor • CEO of Cemoh

Simon Dell is co-founder and CEO of Cemoh, a Brisbane-based firm that provides marketing staff on demand. He specialises in digital marketing and brand management. Visit:

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