5 Things Retail Social Media Gurus Say That You Need to Ignore

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Someone with an Instagram account and hipster glasses does not an expert make.

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Yet it seems social media experts (myopic and otherwise) crowd the retail marketing scene.  Divas and gurus are everywhere, and they all seem to know exactly what should be done to turn a shopper into a buyer, and a buyer into a brand loyalist.

I’m not saying that these guys are purposely misleading anyone.   I am stating, with great certainty, that those who say they know it all know far less than they realize.

Social media marketing and its place in the omnichannel mix continue to evolve; new technology, shopper attitudes, and connections between online and in-store are rediscovered every day.  It would be extremely difficult to be a true retail social media expert.

What one can be, however, is a smart retail marketer: curious, current, creative, respectful of the proven basics and knowledgeable about what makes shoppers tick (and buy).

Which leads me to the five things you should raise your eyebrows at should they be spoken by your retail social media marketing ‘expert.’

1. We can make this thing go viral.

A bit of video or a game that achieves major pass-along status is the result of the online community saying, “Yea, we like that!”  Chipotle’s “The Scarecrow” and PepsiMAX/Jeff Gordon’s “Test Drive” are cases in point.  Viral status is earned, not created.  A retail marketer can have technology so cutting edge it bleeds, but if people don’t “get it” and embrace the concept, all you really have is a nice internal video.

2. Traditional marketing is dead.

No, it’s not; it’s not even sick.  What marketers are enjoying now is an influx of exciting tools that allow us to connect brands with shoppers more quickly and more personally.  Social media does not replace traditional retail marketing.  It does, however, challenge and expand the idea of how we relate and connect.

3. We guarantee success.

A marketer can guarantee top talent and Herculean effort.  But there are too many variables in the omnichannel space – the largest being people and human nature – to guarantee anything.  Which leads me to…

4. All you need is buzz!

Let’s be very clear.  “Buzz” is not a result. It can lead to results, but don’t fall into the trap of measuring your success by buzz, instead of concrete things like sales and signups.

5. The idea isn’t important; it’s the technology that matters.

Nothing – not a barrage of Tweets, a nice Pinterest presence, or a load of link-love – replaces the elegance and power of an insightful, brand-forwarding, shopper-engaging idea.  Shoppers connect with concepts that resonate, not the mechanism they’re delivered by.

What things do retail social media gurus say that make you raise your eyebrows?

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About the Author


Bradley Daves

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Bradley, an idea wrangler, shopper marketing provocateur and pop culture rubbernecker, works with Medallion Retail to build and execute resonant retail experiences. He has been creating consumer-engaging programs on behalf of major brands and retailers for more than 15 years.



Very interesting points here! I guess it’s important to understand what’s truly innovations you need to take and what are exaggerations. Thanks for this list!

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