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Social media – social luxury or commercial necessity?

by Keri Link August 30, 2011

We keep hearing this buzz phrase, ‘social media’. To the non-digital generation, it conjures up ideas of teenagers strapped to their computers on facebook and celebrities publishing their every move on twitter. However, it seems the phrase is gaining increasing importance within the business world, particularly for online retailers. Although budgets have been slashed and marketing spend reduced throughout the economic downturn, social media now seems to be providing a way for retailers to increase their marketing ROI without increasing their overall marketing spend. According to the online competitive intelligence service , Experian Hitwise, online retailers are increasingly relying on traffic from social media to drive sales and interest in their products .

Social networks are sending nearly 13% more traffic to online retailers this year than last year, according to Experian Hitwise, the online competitive intelligence service. Jimmy Choo provides an excellent example. FreshMinds sister company, FreshNetworks (a social media agency) worked closely with Jimmy Choo to help them increase sales for a particular product category by using social media to generate ROI. FreshNetworks created an online community ‘Jimmy Choo 72’ inviting members to submit a photo to win a competition which resulted in huge community engagement and brand awareness. According to their results the campaign generated 20x the ROI of other advertising.
Social media is still a scary word for many retailers, particularly given the perceived cost and expertise required. No sooner have they come to terms with the need to jump on the online bandwagon than they have to become social media experts! But it seems, if done well, social media could be a way for retailers to overcome marketing budgets and engage with a much larger community than ever before.

Keri Link works on the Retail Team in Interim Consultancy for FreshMinds Talent

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