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Social Means Serious Business for Top Ranked Amazon, Walmart

Brands that don’t engage with their consumers on social media are as good as irrelevant in today’s market, and if any are still succeeding without it, that may not last much longer. And it may come as little surprise that the brands winning in terms of social are the same brands winning in terms of sales success and consumer loyalty too. 

According to a recent Brandwatch report, “Social Insights/The Retail Industry,” retailers are becoming more aware of how social media drives sales and optimizes omnichannel experiences. Along with executing seamless conversation across social media platforms, leading retailers are growing their digital footprint by responding effectively, boosting visibility and facilitating positive relationships with consumers.

Who’s leading the social race

Forty-three brands were assessed across five core attributes—social visibility, general visibility, net sentiment, reach growth and social engagement & content—for the report’s Retail Social Index. For each attribute, brands were ranked from one to 100 and received a total composite score, which reflected their performance across all five social media attributes.

Amazon, Etsy, eBay, Walmart and Target were the top five retailers on the index. Amazon stole the first spot, earning a total composite score of 349. The e-tailer came first for its ability to generate conversations across blogs, news outlets and other online forums. Etsy had the highest net sentiment compared to other retailers, where it addressed both positive and negative mentions in most of its conversations. Reach growth brought eBay to third place, since the e-tailer experienced a major increase in followers over the past month. Walmart and Target came out strong as well, with both retailers scoring well in social media followers and social engagement.

On the apparel side, several athletic brands, including Nike, Adidas and Dick’s Sporting Goods also ranked high for social media engagement. Nike came topped the list of the social index for apparel with a total composite score of 437. The athletic retailer scored 100 in social visibility, general visibility and reach growth. To date, Nike has generated millions of followers on Twitter (7.08M) and Instagram (73.3M).

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Adidas’ total composite score was also high at 365. The European retailer, also a strong force in the athletic apparel space, scored the highest points in reach growth, racking up 27 million likes on Facebook, 15.3 million followers on Instagram and 3.17 million followers on Twitter. Another major player, Dick’s Sporting Goods, received a composite score of 325, earning the most points for its social engagement & content initiatives. 

Responsiveness is everything

Responsiveness was also critical to each retailers’ ranking. The report found that retailers’ average response time was approximately seven hours and 33 minutes. Amazon ranked in the top 10 for responsiveness, with an average time of approximately 100 minutes. Other retailers, including Target, scored in the middle of the list, with an average response time closer to 500 minutes. The report says retailers should consider closing this window and addressing consumer needs on social media in a more timely manner.

Audience relevancy remains key 

Retailers on average receive 1,268 @mentions on Twitter each day, but only 65 retweets and 93 replies, which could mean audiences are not finding retailers’ content to be relevant enough. On Facebook, retail brands only post on average 1.45 posts as day, while retail audiences issue an average of 3, 535 likes each day. Since audiences sent out more @mentions and likes on a daily basis, the report suggests that retailers should steer the conversation to address audiences’ comments on Twitter and Facebook. Retailers may also want to tailor their content more to audiences’ individual preferences and needs, in order to promote greater social media engagement.

When it comes to demographics, it’s women who make up most retailers’ audiences. Amazon’s audience is 56 percent female and majorly interested in books and family, while eBay’s audience is 65 percent female and focused on shopping, fashion and family. Etsy had the largest female audience (80 percent), who are primarily interested in fashion, fine arts and family. With this in mind, brands may want to develop social media posts and photos that specifically target female consumers. Branding identity comes into perspective here as well, since retailers today are aiming to resonate with their core demographic, whether it be male or female shoppers. The report also suggests that retailers take personal interests and profession into consideration when developing a social media engagement strategy.