Blog and they will buy: how social media is driving our customers to buy
Retailers were slower to discover the benefits of using bloggers and affiliate sites to reach their target audience, but those who have taken seriously the trend that has absorbed the world in the past five years of social media engagement are seeing a lower cost marketing platform that is complemented by a more loyal and trusted customer base.
In Los Angeles, blogger, Sandie Ward, writes on a restaurant that she has visited on The Food Stalker, and within hours, people are searching for the restaurant that she has written about online eager to make a booking.
Fashion Designer, Sophie Moran, who has worked for Cotton On and other various high profile fashion labels opened her own label last year with enormous success on Facebook. The designer sweaters are high quality cashmere, with fun designs, that have customers waiting online for the next release of her bespoke designs. Demand is higher than supply - all because of social media. I bought 5 sweaters and a kaftan from her in less than an hour and have savoured the quality of the fabric that is enhanced by her designs and ability to ensure that they fit a real woman.
Fashion blogger Bip Ling, knows that she can make or break a retailers business by her review. At just 21 years old, retailer Forever21 made sure that the right guests were at the recent launch, with a host of young bloggers such as Ling and others from sites including myfashionlife.com, Iamvintagelovercom, 5inchand up.blogspot.com, culturejunkie.co.uk and gluttonforgrandeur.com - all of whom talk to their target audience.
Retailers of every size need to get involved with social media - especially smaller chains. The US was in the forefront of influential bloggers with Australia and the UK falling behind and now playing catchup. Brands in Australia and the UK still don't understand the power of social media.
While a favourable review means sales, an unfavourable write-up can "go viral" and be uncontrollable from a brand damage point of view. So beware.
From a business to business perspective, it is no different. I know that when I blog on a topic, my blog will come up on the first page of google. Given that I write about good and bad experiences, that can directly influence someone's opinion of the product or service that I have written about. Conversely, if I write favourably about a product or service, companies find that hits and ultimately sales are increased through their websites simultaneously.
Connecting with bloggers to promote your product or service is paramount to any marketing strategy. Investing in social media and using it as a complementary form of marketing with your traditional marketing spend, will enhance your ability to cement loyal followers and ultimately sales.