Have you seen or even put together a Facebook or Instagram 'story' yet?
This is the function that allows you to knit a number of different messages together along with a few great overlay tools like 'vote' or 'yes/no' to a series of questions, and many have CTA's (call to action) links included to entice people to 'Buy Now'.
The idea being that unlike a single post that you would either 'like', engage with, or just scroll past. 'Stories' are designed to draw you in, and when they are done by someone you trust and know in your circle they can be quite entertaining, immersive, engaging, and of done right commercially lucrative.
It seems that brands (advertisers really) have woken up to this as an opportunity to generate engagement and dwell time by putting together the 'brand story'.
"Ever seen something lovely on Instagram, clicked through to buy it, only to find it sold out? This all-too-common error demonstrates that retailers are still not making the most of one of their most important routes to market.
Getting social media right is not as simple as just posting stylish lifestyle shots or getting big Instagram influencers to share images of your products".
There's a significant issue for those retail brands that assume they have 'social all sown up' and are constantly leaving a lot of money on the social commerce table.
The heart of this problem goes back to something that holds many businesses back from transformational growth and that issue comes down to age old silo based enterprises and top down command and control leadership.
One of my relatives works for 'Red Bull' events which as we all know have over the years created some really great 'stories' of their own.
She recently went to a Skiing event in New Zealand courtesy of her employer which of course is 'Red Bull', she took her Sister and friend and the only thing Red Bull wanted in return was for them to produce a few picture stories for social media that just happened to showcase that Red Bull are a key sponsor of the event, that was it, nothing too polished, nothing edited by the brand police, just trust in her to showcase the event and the brand in a way she felt comfortable with.
Now this isn't anything new, after all brands have been utilising influencers for sometime, and guess what?, yes we have all become cynical of that 'promoted' approach because we know it's not authentic.
But creating all this buzz and excitement to help reach a transaction is potentially nothing other than a vanity project because it lacks a social strategy with an integrated planning process.
It may sound simple but ensuring there is adequate online stock of the products promoted on social media is crucial.
However, in reality, marketing teams often work in isolation to merchandising and have little or no access to key data such as product volumes and restock dates.
So when you look at adopting an 'employee advocacy' strategy it not only requires the company to have a framework for helping employees utilise their own social media voice and network, it will require some degree of additional training for all connected internal parties in order that brand, product, and marketing are aligned on the operating capabilities.
“Merchandisers and buyers can start planning their seasonal ranges a year before you see it in stores. They are often forecasting the volumes required long before customers are showing their hands with seasonal trends," she says. “Marketing, on the other hand, can work to much tighter timelines as reserved media space doesn’t need creative delivered until weeks or even days prior to go live, especially anything digital." These two very different functions often do not share key information such as product volume data, which means simple errors such as promoting products that are not in stock are all-too-common.