trends

Consumer Foreplay

Keith Flynn
It is no secret that retailers are feeling the pinch of this deep recession. Everywhere you look retailers are doing all they can to keep consumers informed about new products and offering steep discounts. With social media being the big buzz word these days, big box retailers are starting to take notice.

Using platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, retailers are starting to jump on the bandwagon. They realize that social media not only allows retailers to engage customers in conversation, but helps to drive traffic to their e-commerce sites and eventually increases revenue.

comScore, a marketing research firm, reports that the social networking site Facebook has 49 million active users in North America. That's a whole lot of people. The opportunity to connect with customers and share information on Facebook or similar social media sites — even collaborate with shoppers who are passionate about your brand — is powerful.

Communicating Your Brand
Castle Megastore's mission is to lead the adult entertainment industry through exceptional service, revolutionary promotions and great product selections all while redefining romance, intimacy and sex. Social media now provides Castle Megastore with the opportunity to convey its mission to the ever-growing online community.

The same goes for any adult business. You can actively grow your Facebook fan page, share industry news, announce upcoming events and share promotions on featured products. You can also use Facebook as a way to share photos, surveys and additional information about your company.

What's all the Tweeting About?
Social media can allow for targeted messaging, even geographically. One way is through the use of the popular microblog Twitter. Retailers can establish Twitter accounts representing each of the states you serve.

While Castle Megastore is a national retailer, we believe that by having separate Twitter accounts provides us with a more targeted interaction with customers and it allows for easier implementation of announcements specific to each state.

YouTube Nation
In addition to Twitter and Facebook, YouTube has been another platform that many retailers have adopted. YouTube provides retailers an opportunity to post videos of events, past commercials, and clips from customers with in-store experiences. It is still very early for Castle Megastore to say there has been a significant return on investment for using social media. But you can consider the following when measuring your social media strategy:

Qualitative

  • Are you building better relationships with your key customers?
  • Have you moved from running a monologue to a meaningful dialogue?
  • How do your customers compare us to your competitors?
  • Are you participating in conversations about your products/events?

Quantitative

  • Increase your SEO ranking
  • How many people have joined your social network (Twitter followers, Facebook fans)
  • Measure traffic to your website
  • What is your click-through rate to your promotions from these platforms? Are they resulting in direct sales?

The majority of retailers are still weighing what it all means to them, while looking to other retailers who are blazing a trail by tapping customer reviews, building a Twitter and Facebook presence, and actively engaging in conversation with consumers. The adult retail industry and the Internet have been a natural fit over the years, so it's time to take advantage of an existing relationship.

Keith Flynn is the e-communications and social media specialist for Castle Megastore Group. Flynn has been a social media junky for more than five years.

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