There has recently been a massive shift in how social media is used as part of a successful marketing strategy. These changes have also influenced the way retail and shopping center marketing make their strategies work. In Poland, both malls and retailers are quickly adapting to the new rules of the game with the help of innovative social media monitoring tools like i-engage.
For a long time, the focus was on how many followers a center could achieve to maximize the reach of their content. Facebook has been developing and adjusting its algorithms, however, which has resulted in it being a lot stricter on what appear on users’ timelines. To maximize the reach of Facebook content, marketers must engage with users to encourage likes and shares; only then will the message achieve its optimum reach potential. This means the focus of social media planning has had to shift. Now, the key to a successful social media strategy is relevant, engaging content that creates an emotional bond between the brand, the customer, and the community.
Warsaw and Silesia in focus
How can you monitor the efforts and know that the strategy is succeeding? Toolbox Group and the Polish Council of Shopping Centers (PRCH) have teamed up to create a research partnership that investigates the current state of digital marketing in shopping centers around Poland. Since the start of 2015, Toolbox has been using the i-engage platform to monitor mall’s Facebook profiles in two main agglomerations, Warsaw (34 centers) and Silesia (43 centers), with the goal of establishing some benchmarks for engagement as well as understanding the habits of Facebook users and the strategies of malls.
Group Digital Director of Toolbox Group, David Fuller, said: “The research we are conducting will help shopping centers understand what they can get out of social media. We started with Facebook as the most widely used platform by the majority of centers, but we are now looking to evolve this into other social platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.” As an established global product, i-engage can be used to see how social media content is performing and create value for engagement. For this study, it will be used to investigate and benchmark Polish shopping center activity, create rankings, and analyze the results.
Within the traditional time frame
Although the research is still in its infancy, some juicy results are already being noted. So far, it was discovered that the larger malls are performing mostly below the benchmark and although most engagement in Warsaw happens on Saturday evenings, currently only 21% of posts are outside the traditional 9am to 5pm time frame.
Radosław Knap, the Operating Director of PRCH, commented: “We are pleased that the research has already shown some interesting results. We are always committed to our members and giving them insight into how they can improve on their performance. All digital marketing efforts can be accurately evaluated and return on investment calculated; with social media being no different. By creating these benchmarks, we help to put a true value on social media marketing in the retail environment.” Over the coming months, Toolbox Group and the PRCH plan to categorize and create comprehensive benchmarks based on center size, location, and type of center. They will also create growth comparisons to help analyze engagement patterns and variations throughout different times of the year.
Toolbox Group’s nimble i-engage platform is a way to build – and measure – powerful connections between clients and customers using social media. This essential retail property marketing tool hands marketers control over user-generated content, allowing them to listen to conversations, interpret messages, and influence the influencers who are engaging with the brand.