3 tricks for upping your digital media game in 2024 | Bill McLoughlin

At the recent Furniture Today Leadership Conference, there was a good bit of discussion across sessions about the decline in retail foot traffic and the importance of reaching the consumer where they are, which is to say via digital platforms.

At this point, most if not all furniture retailers recognize the importance of a meaningful transactional website and some form of social media presence. And while many talk about creating a “seamless” experience between the store and website, there remain significant disconnects between the expressed belief in what needs to happen and the actual execution. This is also true of social media where many retailers engage in forms that are not well aligned with how consumers use these platforms.

To help you be more effective communicating to those consumers most active in these spaces here are three things you can do to up your digital media game.

Excite and entertain: While it is true that people use the Internet, including social media, as an information gathering tool, it is also a primary form of entertainment. This is most true for Millennial and Gen Z consumers who use their phones to read, watch programming, play games, communicate with friends and much more.

Static images of a room setting, no matter how beautiful, engage the eye for a split second. Platforms like TikTok, Instagram and even Facebook are driven by video. Still images of a bedroom or living room vignette hold their attention for as long as it takes to scroll to the next post.

Up your game with lifestyle video, include music and images of people engaging with one another and enjoying the setting they are in. Tell a story. Social media is not just about selling, it is about creating a connection.

Invert the funnel: Much of retail advertising is about driving a transaction. It presumes that the person reading your post is already in-market and is in the process of actively shopping.

Only a small percentage of people using social media at any given time are actively shopping for a piece of furniture, and if they are actively looking, it is not likely to be on social media. It is more likely to be through Google or another search engine. Save your transactional messaging for that platform.

Use social media to create awareness, build your brand and let potential shoppers know that you are a company they want to do business with. As importantly, be a reliable source of entertainment and decorating information. You want to make sure that when young people begin to think about a purchase your store is part of their consideration set.

Be social: Social media is a dialog, a two-way communication. You do not want people just to see your furniture; you want them to like, share and engage with your content.

Create posts that foster a response. Quizzes, polls, Q&As are all more effective than a static post. Use contests to encourage sharing of your posts with friends and family. Offer rewards and respond to people who engage with your content.

It is called social media for a reason. Find influencers, and see what they do to gain followers. There is nothing wrong with borrowing proven techniques that work.

Test. Fail. Re-evaluate. Repeat.

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