How to Optimize Social Media for Retailers

Amanda Raines, retail consultant at Cole Systems in Manhattan, addressed what leading retailers are doing to optimize their social media efforts on a podcast posted this morning to retail thought leadership site What’s Next Retail. What’s Next Retail is a destination web site for retail executives looking for best practices, new ideas and standards related to business solutions for their operations. Raines, one of the retail industry’s emerging experts on customer loyalty, joined What’s Next Retail as a thought leader earlier this month.

“One of the big things I’m seeing right now is that many retailers are really trying to put their dollars towards the right social media platforms. For example, more consumers are following retailers on Pinterest instead of Facebook, which is probably shocking to many because Facebook is constantly in the news and is more established,” she said. “But Pinterest is really picking up a following now because customers have an interest in really getting to know more about where they shop. Pinterest is visually impressive, but it also features products, and the consumers can just link back to retailer’s website to purchase a product that they’re interested in.”

On the podcast, Raines said that while she’s seen many retailers try new things in social media as they try to find the best approach, many have struggled with the rapid customer adoption of social media. “In the past, communications was one way, but the conversation is a two-way street now, and customers finally have a voice. So if they have an issue with the products, or they really love the products, they’re connecting with the retailers in a whole new way that they weren’t able to before.”

Raines said on the podcast and related blog entry that what will be happening in the near future with social media and retail will be focused around smartphones. Retailers are developing even more ways to reach consumers whether it be a check-in in a store and then automatically receive a discount on things you purchase the most, or if they see on your social media site that you have a serious interest in a particular product, you’re going to get that discount or coupon sent to you at the store.

Amanda Raines is a retail consultant at Cole Systems and a contributor to, a thought leadership site led by members of the Retail Industry Partner Community, a network of Microsoft Dynamics partners.