Building customer relationships is important for any business but in the retail industry it’s absolutely vital, and social media is the perfect tool. Customers are voicing their opinions across the social media channels – from Facebook to Twitter – and ignoring what they are saying means missing rich learnings and the opportunity to build closer relationships. It also risks brand damage given that customer complaints that were once made behind closed doors are now broadcast to the widest audience possible.
As one of the UK’s biggest retailers, owned by US giant Wal-Mart, supermarket giant Asda is today an active and effective social media communicator, yet only three years ago it didn’t even have its own Facebook page.
Speaking recently at the SMWF Asda’s head of social media Dominic Burch revealed that the company’s approach to social media had its roots in a no-nonsense approach and a limited budget that had forced it to be creative in the early days. So what can other businesses learn from Asda’s approach?
Tip 1 – Understand that social media is the new PR and you have to be reactive
Burch headed up Asda’s corporate communications team before moving to his role as head of social media earlier this year and previous to that was in the PR team at Asda for over a decade. In that time things have changed dramatically. Neither customer nor journalists now use businesses themselves as their first point of contact and instead often take to social media airwaves before verifying facts. Burch said businesses and brands had to accept and be aware of this fact and react accordingly.