SOCIAL MEDIA: Retailers Get Social, for Many Reasons

Social media has taken hold in CPG retailing, according to the latest exclusive Retail Leader survey. Almost 87 percent of our retailer respondents have at least a Facebook page, and 71.5 percent have at least one employee working full-time on social media.

Facebook is the most popular social medium, followed by Twitter (43.3 percent), Pinterest (20 percent), Instagram (16.7 percent), a YouTube channel (13.3 percent) and Foursquare (13.3 percent). Of the ones who maintain a Twitter account, most of them (57.1 percent) tweet no more than twice a day; only 14.3 percent tweet between six and 10 times, and only 7.1 percent tweet more than 10.

The most common use for social media, at 80 percent, was announcing promotions, specials or discounts. This was followed by general company news (56.7 percent), direct communication with customers (53.3 percent), recipes or other suggested product uses (50 percent) and product recalls (23.3 percent). Some of the responses were quite specific: "Bakery cakes and wedding cake pictures" and "deli tray pictures."

The overwhelming majority, 88 percent, said they evaluate feedback from social media on an informal basis. Only 4 percent use software for this, and 8 percent said they do something else, such as "read and respond to every e-mail we receive."

Do you ever use social media for exclusive coupons/discounts?

How many employees work on social media full-time?
None 28.5%
10-19 3.6%
20 or more21.4%
How often do you add products or make other changes due at least in part to social media feedback?
Hardly ever16.0%
How would you describe current business conditions?
Where do you expect to see business conditions for the next six months?