By Michael Patrick McSweeney (@mpmcsweeney)
As consumers move more of their social activity onto social networks, retailers have taken full advantage of the opportunity to make their brands visible on these new platforms. Combined, Walmart, Macy’s and Amazon have more than 1 million Facebook users following their promotional content, sharing posts with friends and family and engaging through “likes” and comments.
But, despite emerging social platforms like Pinterest, new data from Shareablee shows that Facebook and Twitter are at the forefront of retailers’ efforts to bring more attention to their brand and available products.
The Shareablee study illustrates how strongly retailers are trying to leverage their social media properties in order to generate greater brand awareness and keep consumers focused on their offerings. The data breaks down the numbers platform-by-platform, revealing which retailers are the most invested in cross-channel social media engagement.
Both etailers and brick-and-mortar businesses are competing for a share of social users’ attention in order to deliver sales. For retailers, social word-of-mouth success is measured based on how many actions - retweets, shares, posts, likes - consumers are making in the name of their brand.
For example, Walmart’s share of social word of mouth was the highest, at 19.65 percent for the first three-and-a-half weeks of November. Amazon and Nordstrom’s share of social word of mouth was 8 percent and 7.96 percent, respectively, during this time.
To learn more about which retailers stand to gain the most from social channels this holiday season, we break down Shareablee’s latest report to learn more.
Top Follower Activation Rates
The follower activation rate (FAR) refers to the influence of a Twitter account on its followers. This number is calculated by looking at how frequently a Twitter account’s followers are clicking the links it posts.
In the days prior to Black Friday, the Shareablee data revealed that Lord & Taylor’s messages had the highest influence on their followers with a 3.5 percent FAR. Zappos’ Twitter account posted a 2.5 percent FAR, while Bed Bath & Beyond’s FAR was 2.2 percent.
Top Facebook Engagers
Walmart saw the lion’s share of retail social activity in terms of volume, with 615,454 unique users interacting with its content. In the first three-and-a-half weeks of November, Walmart followers liked, shared and posted Walmart content 819,944 times.
Amazon had a strong pre-Black Friday showing, with an audience of 361,649. Its content was engaged with 417,940 times. Macy’s, which sports an audience of 357,188, received 464,052 actions from its followers.
While these retailers posted significantly larger social engagement totals than some of their smaller competitors, other retailers achieved higher engagement rates per post. TJ Maxx, which has an audience of 99,841 users, saw an average per-post engagement rate of 0.13 percent from 139,876 user actions, higher than Walmart’s 0.01 percent and Amazon’s 0.02 percent.
Top Twitter Engagers
Best Buy’s Twitter followers were found to be the most engaged. With a total follower base of 467,550, Best Buy has a unique Twitter user population of more than 7,000 users. In the first 24 days of November, this audience performed 16,880 branded actions.
Nordstrom was found to have a strong Twitter presence, with 352,480 followers and 2,960 active retweeters. Within the same period, this group retweeted, shared and mentioned the retailer 7,721 times.
Direct Sales Generation
Despite the strong performance by many top retailers in the social channel, the path between social media engagement and direct sales generation remains murky.
New data from IBM suggests that this channel may not have had a significant impact on direct sales generation for major retailers. The company found that just 1 percent of sales traffic on this past Black Friday came directly from a social media platform.
For more on this report, read the full version here.