Cyber Monday is officially upon us—arriving with ever greater importance. In fact, already this past weekend, an estimated 103 million Americans shopped online, edging out the 102 million people who stuck to the stores. Analysts predict that when all is said and done, social media alone will account for a staggering $15 billion worth of sales in 2015.
So, as people continue to clamor to find the best deals online, we at Sprout Social wanted to take a closer look at how retailers are responding. We started with a list from the National Retail Federation’s Top 100 Retailers (which, it’s important to note, includes several grocers, restaurants and fast food chains as well as clothing companies and big-box stores). We then plugged these retailers’ handles into our proprietary Twitter Comparison Report to get a score that reflects how often brands are pumping out promotional messages relative to how often they are actually responding to customers’ concerns.
While our most recent Sprout Social Index found that most retailers are ignoring customers on social 83% of the time, the 22 retailers highlighted below are prioritizing customer care on Twitter, earning themselves a Sprout Social Engagement Score of 98 or above.
We’ve also called out a few other facts about how America’s top retailers are approaching Twitter—from how many use a separate handle for customer service to how many aren’t even on this important platform at all.
From Wal-Mart to Wendy’s, Social Standouts on Twitter
So what accounts for these retailers’ exceptional Engagement Scores? In reviewing their Twitter feeds, a few moments stood out.
Wal-Mart: Responding to the Outcry for Pie
After the enthusiastic endorsement from a fan on YouTube, singer Patti LaBelle’s signature sweet potato pies started flying off Wal-Mart shelves. The retail giant couldn’t keep pace with the demand leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday but was quick to issue a response to its Twitter followers, directly from Senior Buyer for Cakes and Pies Kinna Thomas, who promised that the popular product would soon be back in stores.
Nordstrom: Dazzling Audiences With Interactive Products & Promotions
If your product or service requires a bit of explanation, it can be difficult to encapsulate all that needs to be said in a short Tweet. Nordstrom, however, recently stepped up to the challenge. By integrating a Vine video into a DIY feature on Tevas, the retailer piqued its followers’ interest while sparking a lively conversation. At each stage in the lengthy Twitter thread that unfurled, @Nordstrom reps piped in with prompt feedback, providing more context about how the product works as well as where it can be found for purchase.
Target: Welcoming Customer Creativity
The world is abuzz over Adele’s latest album, which just broke the single-week sales record held by NSnyc. Target has played an integral role in driving a bulk of these sales—but it isn’t just promoting the album itself. Through some artful social media monitoring, the retailer recently discovered and then Retweeted an in-store photo of a welcome mat taken by one of its creative shoppers. This promotion of user-generated content invites other Target fans to interact with the brand in a more fun and meaningful way.
Wendy’s: Playing It Cool With a Brand-Adjacent Conversation
There are more “national days” than any level-headed social media manager can keep track of throughout the year. Of course, not every trending day requires a response from your brand, so it’s important to establish guidelines of what aligns with your core product offerings. Wendy’s provides a good example of how to coolly join the conversation without hashjacking a moment that’s totally out of step.
The Gift of Gab: Reaping the Rewards of Richer Engagement
If you want to earn a Twitter Engagement Score of 98 or above like the retailers on our list, it’s time to get talking—and gain a competitive advantage. Consider the following advice:
- Listen for more than @mentions. Track keywords that alert your team of brand, product or service mentions—time is often of the essence this time of year.
- Set clear customer expectations. State in your bio when your support team is active—whether that’s 9–5 CST or 24/7—as well as expected response times.
- Establish short-term benchmarks. Determine reasonable (and unacceptable) response times; measure performance, and adjust staffing throughout the holidays.
- Rise to specific occasions. Beyond Black Friday and Cyber Monday, milestones like last day for promotional pricing and free shipping may result in increased chatter.