By now, the impact of social media on brand loyalty and recognition is clear. What’s more, social interactions are an expected and integral part of the overall customer experience.
While many brands are answering the call by interacting with customers via designated company accounts on various social media platforms, new research shows that’s just not enough.
The focus can’t fall on measuring direct tags or mentions alone because social engagement is actually thriving elsewhere. In Digimind’s 2018 Retail Industry Report, a clear trend emerged from analyzing thousands of social conversations in the U.S. and global retail fashion industry: Conversations are shifting from handles (@) to hashtags (#).
Of the total mentions including either brand handles or hashtags of U.S. fashion retail brands, 96% included brand hashtags. And the same pattern was clear for global fashion brands; 91% of posts included brand hashtags, compared with just 9% of posts that directly tagged brand handles. This means brands can’t assume people will directly tag them when they have something to share, whether it’s good or bad. Instead, they must look for the hashtags.
The implications don’t just apply to the fashion industry. It’s crucial for all brands to understand what customers have to say about them, good or bad. These insights can lead to better customer experiences, improved service, and more meaningful communication. Lest we forget, one complaint or negative experience can quickly become magnified, and brand repercussions can be severe. But without a complete view into the full conversation about your brand on social, you might miss out on an opportunity to get ahead of an issue.
In addition, social insights can also help deliver a more strategic understanding of your competitors and reveal the types of key findings that drive product development and marketing campaigns. This is why brands must not only be monitoring their own hashtags, but those their competitors are using as well.
Socially Conscious Brands
As part of Digimind’s analysis, corporate social responsibility rose up as an important issue for consumers on social today. Sustainable fashion brands including Patagonia and Everlane emerged as shining examples in the eyes of socially conscious shoppers: Patagonia is fighting to change the overall health of the planet and sustain its resources for generations to come by using organic and recycled products. Similarly, Everlane reduces waste by using a water recycling system to create a sustainable denim.
Retail giant Gap is also making strides to prioritize sustainability. Earlier this year, the company announced an initiative to reduce wasteful production and cut back its water use by 10 billion liters by 2020. The sustainable manufacturing goal is expected to conserve the equivalent of daily drinking water for 5 billion people. And it’s clear that consumers are responding well to the brand’s efforts.
Social listening is key to such endeavors. By understanding not only what consumers are saying about your brands (and competitors) on social media, but also how they’re saying it, you can do more than just track direct mentions and tags. You’ll be equipped to navigate the types of social discussions surrounding your brand and industry that can spark significant change to your business and the experience you provide. You’ll also be able to make your brand’s voice heard in an increasingly crowded social space.
And that’s truly what all brands want, right?