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Published January 29th 2015

Brandwatch Report: Social Listening in the Retail Industry

Brandwatch Report on Social Listening in the Retail Industry.

Retail. An industry driven by the tastes and preferences of the general public, where celebrities, magazines, hashtags or any other social movement can have a resounding effect on business.

In this industry, retailers invest tremendous amounts of money, time and effort toward maintaining a positive public image or brand identity. Specifically, these businesses are increasingly focused on understanding the social media landscape and on nurturing strong online communities.

Our latest report on Social Listening in the Retail Industry examines the performance of retail brands on social, the behaviors of their audiences, and some of the unique ways leading retailers are applying social listening.

The Bottom Line: Retailers Ignite Conversation

Leading retailers naturally attract considerable attention from their audience. For the brands examined, an average day on Facebook consists of 21.54 content likes, 155 shares and 234.50 comments. For Twitter, they generate 821.42 @mentions, 114.3 audience replies and 63.32 audience retweets per day.

While a high level of engagement is great news for businesses, it also presents an important challenge: how can retail brands effectively manage and respond to all of these conversations?

The figure below outlines the discrepancy between brand activity and consumer activity on Facebook:

Brandwatch Retailer Analysis

Consumers are posting over 15 times more than brands do and have 9 times as many comments. Undoubtedly, brands are missing out on opportunities to engage with consumers reaching out to them.

The outlook on Twitter paints a similar picture: 821.42 @mentions and only 40.26 brand replies on an average day.

Clearly, retail brands have an opportunity to improve their engagement and online customer service on social media.

What makes a post successful? 

While nearly all of these retail brands garner substantial conversation, the analysis also revealed some aspects that led certain content and brands to perform better than others.

Specifically, visual posts generated significantly more conversation than text or status posts on Facebook.

Brandwatch Retail Facebook Analysis

Specifically, image links (photos that link directly to webpages) performed the best with over 900 more likes and over four times as many shares as posts with embedded photos did. Interestingly, image links only comprised 18% of the content, while photos were the most common post at 71%.

Also, videos seemed to spike the greatest amount of conversation, with an average of 319 comments per video.

While status updates only comprised 3% of the brand posts, their exceptionally weak performance suggests they should be eliminated entirely from retailers’ Facebook content strategy.

Brands, identifying the specific types of content that resonate with their audience, can promote their online presence by tailoring their content based on its performance.

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