Social media is now an essential resource to build sales in B2C. This will become more ‘true’ as younger segments, who are particularly active on social media, mature into high spend consumers.
If your market is retail consumers and you do not already have a strategy to build your online ‘community’ it is time to do so.
- You must take the time to research and get the product and service ‘right’ for your target market segments.
- You need a great website, which has strong and immediate appeal with a clearly communicated delivery strategy.
- Have a plan to offer interesting and relevant free content for potential customers from the outset and on an ongoing basis.
- Organise events to build early momentum. For this you will need to identify and involve opinion leaders, and be clear as to who early adopters are likely to be.
- Have a clear online strategy – which social media apps will be your most effective route to market?
While you do not have to figure it all out from the beginning you will need to test assumptions as you go along and change course quickly if necessary. Decisions you will face include whether your market will be local, national or international, and whether to offer a physical or online shopfront or both.
In order to survive and thrive in the early years you will also need to get the balance right between building sufficient scale to meet demand and not being financially stretched. A measured investment programme will be appropriate in most cases.
If you have a successful online strategy you will be able to minimise advertising spend, as members of your online community become a powerful source of referral and endorsement.
While all of this this can seem daunting the prize for getting it right is potentially exponential levels of growth, which would not have been possible in retail in the past.