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Top 10 Retail Brands That Lead on Social Media Performance

Written by Joyce Shin 

Top brands online have a number of things in common; they post regularly, they are on-brand and they sell the sizzle whether it's using women that are beautiful (and men for that matter), or using the best lighting for each and every product shot.

In Australia, Facebook has 14 million users, many of whom use the platform on a regular basis. YouTube is not that far off the mark either — with its 13.8 million users. For retail, Instagram has caught up at a faster pace than any other social media platform, and that's good news. It allows retailers to showcase products, use celebrity endorsements and grow brands like never before. 

Half of Australian internet users log into the digital world first thing in the morning (45%) and the last thing before going to bed (41%) at night. Without question, consumers have become increasingly fragmented in engaging with social media because there are so many choices for places to go, and while many switch from one to another, time poor people tend to be loyal to just one medium. It's something I always do, without even realizing it. It has become part of my everyday life and it's just like breathing - but a little less necessary.

Retail has been the big winner with the rise and rise of social media. Instagram and endorsements have played a particularly high profile role in drawing people to brands that they may not necessarily have purchased online. 


1.Lorna Jane: Knowing the best of customers, knowing the best of social media

It is apparent that Aussie women love sports... and social media! Lorna Jane, women’s fashionable fitness-wear retail chain is boasting its exceptional social media talents. The results led the brand to win this social media competition to an untouchable extent — Ranked Number One on Facebook, Instagram and Google . What was their success factor? Simple. Lorna Jane’s approach is to take advantage of social media as an engagement tool, not a hard sell. Let’s have a quick look at the brand’s Instagram page. It's not difficult to pick up their initiative to effectively interact with social fans and encourage their passion for active life. Here are some great examples; an inspirational quote with a ‘Hit LIKE if you agree’ or a short question for instance, ‘What are you working (out) on?’ Such status updates are so straightforward that a customer doesn’t have to use brainpower, therefore reacting faster and easier. As a result, a number of people do leave comments, very often tagging a friend at the same time, naturally helping Lorna Jane’s brand as products go viral through word-of-mouth. Another smart thing to notice — these four hashtags follow every single Lorna Jane’s Instagram post; #thisisactiveliving #lornajane #activeliving #movenourishbelieve. Repeating these punchlines their brand message is sent across directly to customers. Needless to say that Lorna Jane can proudly call themselves the one and only king of social media in the retail industry.


2.Samsung Australia: Creating impressing YouTube videos and promoting product features

For lack of a better word, Samsung Australia’ social media presence is… extremely different — indeed impressive. With an active presence on the major video-oriented networks including Facebook and especially YouTube, Samsung continues to be on the cutting edge of social media marketing tactics. Samsung Australia is proudly ranked as an incomparable retail brand with 14,639 subscribers and 41,972,302 total uploaded video views on YouTube. As one of the tech giants, their ability to engage with the social community is meaningful and very dynamic. Video is the essential component of the brand’s e-commerce strategy — the perfect way for spreading out product launches and supporting existing campaigns and news. Samsung doesn’t simply update product shoots and promote the features in the technology language like other tech brands do — they make stories through short video clips and let the audience begin to imagine the products. This is how they hit 13,961,665 likes on the #LifeLIVE campaign video on YouTube for the Samsung Gear VR launch.


3.Domino's Pizza Australia: Offering solid social support from customer feedbacks

Very interesting that Domino’s Pizza has different approaches to each social platform. The retail brand is actively running their Facebook and Twitter pages by tailoring content to the different styles of social spaces. Thanks to the large Facebook fan base with 994,507 likes, they are able to collect customer feedback — what they call ‘Feedback Friday.’

Multiple choice questions help subscribers get involved and respond. This in fact led to 1,291 comments. On top of that, they relish in managing the gathered customer feedback, whether positive or negative. Understanding that social media is another channel for customers to reach out to the brand, Domino’s provides a responsive service to each customer’s complaints and questions. This does not only help the customer resolve the problem but also leaves him or her with a positive impression and helps build trust in the business. On the other hand, their Twitter account gives an instant, a lot simpler and friendlier feeling through frequent uses of hashtags and mentioning customers’ names for engaging communication — that’s what actually makes Twitter fun.


4.Coles: Providing a wealth of informative content in food

Coles’ success in social media marketing is derived from the strategy of updating not only interesting, visual and interactive but also informative content. For instance, simple food recipes lead each Facebook post to hundreds of likes, comments and shares. With 12,429,793 views from Coles’ total YouTube uploads, the most videos range from inspiring TV ads to little tips in cooking such as ‘how to cut an onion’ with the presence of the famous Australian celebrity chef, Curtis Stone. Coles uses Twitter occasionally in a unique way to gain some consumer insight. Surveys like followers’ preference between pies and hot dogs, or ‘finish the sentence: In my house, it’s a crime not to buy .’ This way Coles is directly engaging with their social fans and showing that they are curious and caring about customer preferences, which eventually enhances their brand reputation.


5.Bonds: Building powerful social media movements across all social channels

Australian underwear and clothing brand, Bonds, has come up as the 5th best retailer on social media. One important thing to remember — if you want your audience to stay engaged, you need to be engaging. In order to achieve this, brands need to create social campaigns and run them across all their social platforms. With that said, Bonds recently announced their advertisement, the first part of ‘The Boys’ series not only through YouTube but also Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Thanks to the extremely hilarious, but somewhat disturbing content, this ad has already resulted in 123 Facebook shares, 424 Instagram likes and 119,770 views on YouTube. This in fact is ranked as the fifth most popular video over the other many-years-old videos on their YouTube channel.


6.City Beach: Converting visitors to fans

Fashion is a natural fit with social media. If you thought the social media giant, Facebook, drove the shopping sprees, you are wrong — it comes as a surprise that the newcomer Instagram takes a relatively enormous share for City Beach. With a huge number of 391,000 followers, their Instagram is intensively working well gaining close to 5,000 likes shortly after each update. There is an extensive focus of efforts on their Instagram account based on the understanding that City Beach’s target audience; the young generation is switching to more visually driven platforms. One important thing to highlight — City Beach features high-quality images yet keeps their Instagram page so interesting that their followers actively get involved in the social network communications. At the end this contribution brings a meaningful brand reputation. Doubtless to say City Beach has stepped beyond simply gathering likes and followers — they build an interactive social community.


7.Woolworths: Integrating Instagram with inspiring hashtags

Woolworths truly stands out as one of the Instagram winners, beating down other grocery retail giants including Coles and ALDI. We, food lovers, believe in the joy of Instagram for browsing mouthwatering food dishes. The exciting or rather concerning hashtag ‘#WhatsForDinner’, Woolworths attracts consumers’ eyes into their delicious-looking food images and allow them to follow the link to tasty recipes. Of course, when you open the recipe books online, it’s all made of Woolworths’ ingredients. This eventually maximises both online and in-store shopping opportunities and offers chances to promote special deals on site.


8.Subway Australia: Treating customers right

The largest sandwich franchise Subway, outperforms its peers in communicating with customers over social networks. So what does Subway do differently to impress customers? I would really like to praise Subway Australia for their authentic customer service over Facebook. They aren’t like an ‘automatic response machine’ that just copies and pastes the same passive response with a slight change of a customer’s name. Many retail businesses have adapted to the use of social media customer service, however not many seem to be moving in the right direction. Subway Australia genuinely communicates with their customers, taking responsibility as a business. They are doing this very well on Facebook, ensuring all customer concerns are answered in a timely manner with a friendly and personal response.


9.KFC Australia: Sharing visual contents and sales promotions

Who doesn’t love finger licking chicken? The first thing to notice on KFC Australia’s social media is that the content is fun and engaging. While scrolling down their Instagram and Twitter pages, it doesn’t take more than a few seconds to stop by comical posts and laugh along. Keeping a very casual tone of voice and smiley faces in every photo and video post, KFC Australia strongly gives a friendly and bright feeling through the social space. Another key to running social platforms is that they speak about what anyone would love to hear — new menu and special deals. By doing this well, their (socially) loyal customers who make a point to stop in on a regular basis are informed about what’s new in store. Recent examples include ‘$2 menu’ and ‘Happy Hour for $2 Krusher’ for a limited time. By repeatedly posting in different forms across multiple social channels KFC Australia is cleverly taking advantage of social media to promote the offer and catch the interest of customers who would have missed it otherwise.


10.Target Australia: Improving customer experience from retweets

One interesting discovery about Target Australia’s social media marketing is their Twitter page. Their posts consist of a number of retweets that are searched from general mentions of their business, being used to spread out what people are talking about the brand online. Being open to share other customers’ positive feedbacks and experiences with their Twitter followers does create curiosity and develop a genuine viral state of mind, in addition to improving customer experience as well as customer engagement. This is really an effective and authentic way of presenting products via buzz on social media.


10 1.EB Games Australia: Keeping the brand image with amusing tone of voice

Yes, I said top 10. But here comes a surprising fact — despite being the 18th from the list, EB Games Australia tops the chart on Twitter. They manage 84,594 Twitter followers, which is almost double the size of fan base than H&M Australia. It seems like their digital marketing crew does have a great sense of humour, constantly updating witty joke post like ‘Excuse me whilst I never sleep again.’ As you might have already noticed, the company takes on a playful tone and uses emoji, as if they are speaking to their friends. This way they sound silly, weird but fun. It seems as if they do not have any corporate planning involved — which is likely to be their strategy approach to target the young game lovers.



There are endless ways to learn from the retail companies who are truly killing the digital space. Social media is inevitable and it’s time for retailers to wake up. Social media is indeed a perfect form with opportunities to impress your customers with engaging social media content and to communicate with them on a personal level. However, bear in mind that you must have a clever social media strategy that matches your brand concept and send the right brand message across to the right audience through the right social media platform.
The infographic below will provide you with more comprehensive statistical figures that indicate the basis of selection.



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