2010 Retail Social Media Study

Retailers of all sizes have been investing significant time and energy bringing their operations to life on Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels. RIS News recently polled 95 retail executives to gauge their adoption and use of social media tools. Of the executives polled, 39% represented companies with annual sales volumes of $1 billion or more; approximately 65% were from companies with annual revenues of $250 million or higher.

Social Media Channels Carrying Relevant Business Information

Retail executives rated the importance of social media channels for sharing/receiving relevant business information on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being "not important" and 5 being "critical." The survey shows that 59% of respondents ranked LinkedIn as an important tool (giving it a rating of 3 or higher) for sharing relevant business data with their professional network. Additionally, 42.2% of respondents said Facebook was useful for sharing business information, while 22.2% identified Twitter.

When it came to receiving business information from outside of a professional network, LinkedIn also led the rankings, with 53.7% of respondents rating LinkedIn at 3 or higher. In this category, Facebook achieved a 34.7% rate and Twitter received 18.9%.

Blogs also showed strong results: 34.8% of respondents share relevant business information through blogs, while 41% receive relevant business information through blogs.

Facebook, Twitter Lead Retailers' Social Media Choices

Retailers are placing a heavy emphasis on Facebook as a tool for their companies' social media efforts. In fact, 85.9% of respondents said they have an official Facebook page for their company, and 50.7% have an official Twitter account. Retailers clearly are focusing on interacting with consumers through their corporate social media efforts, and Facebook and Twitter are two of the most popular tools for consumers today. While some large retailers such as Target have developed strong presences on YouTube, only 26.8% of respondents said that their company has an official YouTube channel.

Measuring the ROI from Social Media

One of the challenges faced by both retailers and technology solution providers is how to judge the success of their social media efforts. RIS News' survey shows that nearly 75% of retail organizations are leveraging social networking efforts to increase traffic to their websites. More than one-third of respondents, 37.3%, are using these tools to increase sales leads, while 32.8% are using these tools to increase revenue for their organization.



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