The words social media will either raise your hackles or bring you much joy but no matter what, it is not going anywhere.

I truly believe that social media has made the biggest impact on the way modern societies function. Not all these changes are positive but that’s another story. As the internet opened up information pathways, it is social media that turned the road into a speed-unlimited information highway.

Information, whether it be news, views, funny or serious flows through social media. Have you ever heard a breaking news story and then jumped on to social media to see what is going on? I know I do. This is the impact of social media on our lives and the retailing community is not immune. Social media never sleeps.

When you take away all the froth and bubble around social media it can actually be one of your best marketing channels.

Think about it. Messages can spread without restraint, each posts performance can be tracked, you can identify interested shoppers, offer various range of information and all this for very minimal cost.

Retailers are using Social media in a wide variety of ways. Some as a promotional tool and some as a customer service tool. For example, some businesses are using twitter as a customer support tool similar to an online chat.

Promotional activity can reach across multiple social forums including Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest further enhancing your message reach.

One of the greatest abilities of social media is that it enables you to build a more in depth attachment to your brand. This is done through sharing a broad range of information about your products but also your business. Social media posts can include insights to the back end, human side of your business. Whether it be photos of staff working, shelves being packed with new products and more, such posts can build a greater customer attachment to your business.

Without a doubt one of the greatest advantages of social media for retailers is the ability to quickly communicate with an audience whilst also gaining an insight as to what their preferences are.

You might decide to offer a special, limited time promotion and need to spread the word quickly. Enter social media. You may have received stock of a top selling product and want to notify customers so you can get it moving out the door. Enter social media. You might want to get the opinion of your followers on a product that you are considering stocking. Enter social media.

When it comes to spreading the word, the ability that social media has to convey a message is like no other.

Email marketing was the domain of the early 2000’s and we thought it was great. If you had an email database of a thousand people and sent an email out you experienced on average a 35% open rate, engaging with 350 people in total. Within 24 hours that email promotion is forgotten. In comparison, a social media post to a group of one thousand followers will be visible to 1,000 followers and can then expand as followers share the post. This viral nature of posts allows social media posts to have a longer effective life than email campaigns.

Social media is a very large topic, one that could keep you reading for days so your next chapter can be reading the CitiXsys article titled “Are you listening to your social shoppers” found here ( to start understanding how you can get value out of social media.

Getting closer to your customers is enabled by social media so make sure it is a big part of your thinking.

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