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Sephora, Amazon top list of retailers with social media marketing acumen

Retailers who inject a significant level of interactivity into their social media presence find the greatest foothold among consumers, says a new report from Lithium.

The report, titled the State of Social Engagement 2016, takes a look at the ways retail brands from Fortune 1000 make use of social media. The report found that among those top-level retailers, those that make the largest use of interactivity and prioritize engagement see the biggest return.

"With the holiday rush right around the corner, it's a crucial time for retail brands to ramp up their social strategy," said Katy Keim, CMO of Lithium Technologies. "The results of our study show that the brands responding to customers quickly and creating personalized experiences on social to guide their purchases do well in boosting customer satisfaction, loyalty and ultimately, sales."

Social marketing
This year, the National Retail Federation predicts that the holiday shopping season will see total sales increase to more than 650 billion dollars. If retailers want to get as much out of the biggest shopping season of the year, they are going to have to make use of mobile and social media, and in a way that goes deeper than just surface level spamming of content.

Lithium looked deep into the social media presences of the top retailers in the country.

The companies that came out on top, such as Sephora and Lululemon, had narrow response times ? the window between a customer interacting with them on social media and the brand responding.

For example, the top spot in average response time on Twitter went to Sephora, which averaged just over an hour between interactions and responses. Lithium cites a claim from Twitter that shows that customers spend an average of 20 percent more on brands that respond to them on social media than on those that do not.

The other main finding of the report was that brands who use social media to spread engaging, thoughtful content and not just spam product announcements and other empty statements see the biggest lift in sales from social media.

As an example, Lithium points to Amazon, whose various social channels make a point to share content that has a significant amount of effort put into its production. Amazon routinely shares images and videos that are structured as product tutorials or other engaging campaigns.

Amazon also uses storytelling to draw consumers into its social media channels, crafting thoughtful campaigns across their social media channels that use bright graphics and rich media to grab consumers? attention.

Tactical advantage
Sephora uses similar tactics. The brand?s Twitter page is full of news, graphics, tutorials and other engaging content as well as cross-posts with its other social media channels, such as its Instagram account.

Lithium also points to brands that make partnerships with social media influencers as successes in the field of social marketing.

Nike, which has a large following in the athletic and fitness worlds, makes excellent usage of partnerships with fitness bloggers and other athletic online personalities to craft engaging, branded content that connects with consumers in a non-intrusive way.

Target has also made partnerships with celebrities and social media stars on its Instagram and YouTube channels.

In our modern mobile world, social media is increasingly the communication medium of choice. For brands who make the effort, a strong social media presence rewards them generously.