February 10, 2020

Consumer habits are changing faster than ever, new trends emerge, social channels evolve, and new platforms appear from nowhere, this culminates in an overwhelming abundance of content being created every second.

And with 1 in 3 people in the UK now reducing their social media use in a ‘digital detox’ (
source) it can be a challenge to get your shopping centre or message in front of the right people. But don’t worry – it’s not all doom and gloom – there are a few simple things you can do to help you make the most of your social channels.

Tip 1 – Know your Audience

If your audience is everyone – it makes it much more difficult for you to attract the right people. Rather than focusing on pleasing everyone, understand who the majority of your customers are, what platforms or social channels they’re more likely to use to find information, and when they’re most likely to be active online. Correctly identifying and focusing on your audiences can pay dividends as they’re more likely to spread the word.

Tip 2 – Choose your Channels

To make the most out of the time and resource you have available, focus on the most important channels for your audiences. You don’t want to spread your efforts too thin and you will have to monitor these channels to make sure what you’re doing is working. An often overlooked platform for your audiences is your Google Local profile, as well as giving you increased search visibility across Google Search and Maps, it gives your customers up-to-date information such as opening hours, busy periods and promotions. You can also actively encourage interaction and contribution through reviews. With Google Search a first port of call for most people looking for something online – having this as part of your channel mix is indispensable.

Tip 3 – Monitor and Measure

Make sure you check all your channels at least twice a day looking for questions and comments from your customers, messages, and any potential issues. Any complaints need to be dealt with swiftly before they get out of control. But just as important is to comment on any user generated content, liking positive reviews and engaging with your audience. This helps to add the human element and will develop loyalty with your following. Tell your followers that your channels are only monitored during business hours to manage their reply expectations.

The measurement side managing your social presence can be done less regularly – but it is just as important. Take time to review your social media strategy, is it working? Are you meeting your goals? Use the analytics tools on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see which content is working… Where are you seeing the most engagement? If there is one particular channel or type of content that is working best – then this is why you should focus your efforts and perhaps consider investing some advertising budget. It’s also useful to measure what people are saying about you on social, are there things that you can improve or do more of to please your customers?

Tip 4 – The Soft Sell & Word of Mouth

Generally speaking, no one likes to be sold to. Consumers are a savvy bunch and can see straight through repeated content and offers. We’re much more likely to buy into a brand if what’s being shared is interesting. This can be anything from having an ‘Instagrammable’ location such as a mural, a living wall or a crazy statue in high traffic areas of your shopping centre where people will take a selfie and post it on their channels (for their network to see), or posting live Stories from an event or something interesting happening that will appear at the top of your customers feed. The real benefit of this softer content is that your customers start to buy into your brand on a more personal level and are more likely to mention or recommend you to a friend.

Tip 5 – Your Personality

Your personality is one of the reasons people choose to follow you on social media, it’s something that’s easy for your audience to connect and relate to.  Simply posting enough to show up in your audiences feeds no longer cuts it, proactively engaging with your community not just when they ask you a question, but reaching out to them and starting a conversation helps to build your personality and keep you front of mind with your audience.

What’s Next?

We can’t predict the future for social media, but using these five tips will help you find the gaps that you need to fill in your shopping centre’s social strategy and explore how the latest trends can help to shift your focus to more efficient or rewarding tactics.

By Jon Aldridge, Creative Director