Adapting to constant change is a necessary part of growing a business. This means taking advantage of new resources, such as social media. In the furniture industry, social networks, like Twitter and Pinterest, are impacting the industry in the following ways:
Pinning for Inspiration
Nearly 40 percent of consumers relied on social media sites, like Pinterest to find new products to outfit their homes in 2014. In fact, one of the most popular board names on Pinterest is “For the Home.” The trend of pinning before buying continues to grow because customers enjoy the ease with which Pinterest allows them to search for a product based on a particular style or genre.
Rather than traditional print ads and commercials, retailers, manufacturers, and designers are tapping into social media to promote their products. For example, a San Diego-based furniture retailer highlights its products on social media platforms by periodically sharing decorating ideas alongside images of coordinated furnishings available at the store.
Although the goal is still to sell products, posting strategically crafted content takes a less aggressive approach than traditional advertising. A good rule of thumb is that for every piece of promotional content a company posts, it should also share three non-promotional items.
Engaging with Customers
Businesses often find it difficult to build rapport with consumers. Fortunately, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms offer insight on consumers’ needs, frustrations, wants, and interests.
To take advantage of this information, companies should track conversations regarding their business on social media and promptly answer questions and provide feedback. These actions influence how consumers view a brand and help businesses establish a loyal consumer base.
Most importantly, all social media communication needs to be immediate. Unlike e-mail and general online contact forms, which can take several days to process, timely social media exchanges show customers that a company cares about responding quickly to all inquiries.
Crafting Educational and Interesting Content
Managing one or more social media accounts involves generating a constant supply of publishing-ready content. People are hungry for new information that is informative and peaks their interest. Therefore, companies should build a reserve of useful content to share on their blog and post on social media sites.
Content can consist of “how to” articles, frequently asked questions (FAQs), and lists detailing ideas, such as decorating a living room. Additionally, businesses should post images and videos because customers appreciate their visual appeal and entertainment value.
Boosting Search Engine Results
Google’s algorithms determine the value of a website. This value is based on many factors, including the number of links that redirect people back to a specific website. More links lead to a higher search-engine ranking. As such, publishing content on a regular basis not only allows businesses to provide valuable and relevant information to consumers, it also enables them to include a URL to their website, thus contributing to a higher placement in a Google search.
Companies should try to share content through as many social media platforms as possible to maximize their online presence. Likewise, businesses should develop a strategy to ensure that the content is appropriate to each social media platform.
Expanding Audience Reach
Social media makes it possible for retailers, manufacturers, and other home-furniture-industry organizations to reach a larger audience. However, it may be difficult to target the right demographic and communicate with a large number of people if a company has not established a social following. For this reason, many businesses employ influencers—popular online personalities who help brands boost their social media reach by utilizing their robust personal channels to disburse information.
Influencers have a large and active online following that responds well to shared content. An ideal strategy for using an influencer is to create a mutually beneficial partnership. One example of this kind of collaboration is High Point Market’s Style Spotter initiative, which invites bloggers who specialize in interior decor and fashion to the event as VIPs. Participation requires photographing and sharing favorite pieces discovered at the market on the participant’s various social networks.
The Style Spotter campaign also asks that VIPs survey their followers on which pieces they like best. Ultimately, the campaign serves three purposes. It provides influencers with new content, it spreads awareness about the market and trends, and it helps identify popular items among consumers.