We asked Leslie Carothers, CEO of The Kaleidoscope Partnership, speaker and expert on strategic planning and social media, for insight on how retailers and designers can balance their website and email marketing efforts with their social media initiatives. Read on for her advice.
Lighting & Decor: Why is it important not to put all your digital marketing eggs into the social media basket?
Leslie Carothers: First of all, social media is not an asset that you own. Somebody else owns that asset — namely Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn or Pinterest — so you don’t want to set up your business on an asset that somebody else owns, and you don’t want to be dependent upon that asset for your income or even to drive traffic to your website. You need to have your own methods for driving traffic to your website that do not depend on social media tools because the algorithms do change.
L&D: What features does a website need in order to function as a strong marketing tool?
LC: The no. 1 investment I would ask any retailer to make would be in excellent photography on white backgrounds. In addition to the single image, I would ask them to invest in 360 photography so that a consumer, a designer or an editor can actually see the piece on their website in a 360 view: the side, the front and the close-up details. In addition to that, the website needs to be extremely easy to navigate — not tricky, not cute. Those fun things do not add up to having a website that makes you a lot of money.
L&D: If you have a strong social media following, how can you encourage those followers to sign up for e-newsletters?
LC: If you have a Facebook page right now, one of the ways that you can ask people to sign up for your email list is through a Facebook Live video. Either on a Facebook Live video, or just a regular video that you record, you can ask people to sign up for your e-newsletter and tell them what they’re going to get in return for doing that. In this video, the key is to really ask the consumer in a fun and engaging way and to let them know the ‘gift’ if you will, or the content upgrade that they’re going to get in return for giving you their email information.
L&D: How should retailers prioritize their time between their websites, e-newsletters and social media accounts?
LC: You must actually really start tracking your data and your analytics carefully in order to determine where to be spending your time, so that’s number one. People just decide, okay we’re going to spend “X” amount of time on our website or “X” amount of time per week on Instagram without really understanding, based on hard data, what tools are returning the investment. Defining what result you want is key. If you want customer acquisition or if you want traffic over to your website, or maybe you just want brand awareness in your market, those are three different kinds of valid business results you might want from your social media usage. Once you understand what you’re after, then you have to determine how much time you can invest on each tool. Overall, it’s important to invest your time in the assets you own, and use social media to drive the business outcome you want to achieve.
Leslie Carothers is a marketing and social media expert, speaker and CEO of The Kaleidoscope Partnership, a social media marketing agency for the interior design and furniture industry. She is also the co-owner of Savour Partnership. Visit her at www.about.me/tkpleslie.
Don’t miss Carothers in person at Lightovation, presenting “Social Media Tools Proven to Drive Store Traffic” at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, June 20 in the new SMART Center. Register for this free session at here.