Top Social Media Sites for Retailers

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Top Social Media Sites for Retailers

Most small business retailers know that social media should play an important role in their marketing efforts. Social media for retailers can provide brand awareness, new customers, relationship building, increased website traffic, and real-time customer service opportunities. When done correctly, however, it can be time consuming. Each social platform has a specific audience with its own algorithms and etiquette. To help prioritize your social media efforts and wisely use your time, here are our recommendations for the top social media for retailers.

Some Interesting Social Media Facts

In the US, social networking is the top online activity.

Consumers spend an average of 37 minutes a day on their social accounts.

46% of people online use social media to help them make a buying decision.

Social Networking Sites

Social networks, sometimes called “relationship networks,” foster interpersonal communication. They focus on bringing people, organizations, and businesses together to share information and ideas. Social network sites often have specialty groups for like-minded members on specific topics. The major networking sites are Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.


Facebook is the dominates the world’s social media scene with 1.23 billion active daily users. This includes 68% of all U.S. adult social media users. Facebook enables people and brands to connect with those who share similar interests and experiences. Facebook frequently changes its algorithm making it challenging for marketers to keep their marketing current with those changes. Facebook is always evolving and has added tools such as live streaming videos to its media mix. The best way for small businesses to get meaningful results on Facebook is to design a great business page, use best SEO practices, stay on top of Facebook’s algorithm changes, and have a strategy that includes both paid and organic growth.

Facebook Facts

1.15 billion of these users access Facebook through their mobile devices.

44% of users check their Facebook accounts several times a day.

70% of B2C marketers say they have found new customers through Facebook.

Age and sex demographics: 9% of both male and female users between ages 18-24; 13% between 25-34; approximately 9.5% between 35-44, slightly higher for females; and approximately 8% between 45-54, skewing slightly higher for males.


21% of US social site users are on twitter. Twitter is micro-blogging social media site. Users share information and use hashtags to make it easier for users to find topical content. Twitter gives businesses the opportunity to get real-time feedback, making it an excellent tool for dealing with customer service issues.

Twitter is the major platform for breaking news and current events. It is exceptional for promoting events, including twitter group “chats,” upcoming special events, and podcasts. Twitter has expanded its functionality to include multi-media opportunities in tweets. Developing a meaningful twitter following requires daily posting, following other tweeters, and prompt interaction.

Twitter Facts

Twitter has 328 million monthly active users monthly and 100 million daily active users.

37% of Twitter users are between the ages of 18 and 29, and 25% users are 30-49.

80 % of Twitter users are on mobile devices.

37% of Twitter users will buy from a brand they follow.

54% of Twitter users earn more than $50,000 a year at least.

81% of millennials check Twitter at least once per day.

Media Sharing Sites

Media sharing sites like Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube give people and brands a place to find and share media content. This includes photos, video, and live video. Before starting on a media sharing network, make sure you have the right resources to make a maintain a consistent, quality presence.


Instagram has 32% of all social network users with 700 million daily active users. It is the number one social network for sharing real-time photos and short videos while on the go. It is currently the faster growing social site in the world, having grown exponentially over the past five years. Instagram is used for sharing images and video. It is accessed through its smartphone app and has limited desktop functionality. By using hashtags, Instagram images are routed to those people most interested in the specific visual content. It is a perfect venue for products with great visuals and lifestyle images.

With 500 million users on the app and 59% of those users checking the app every single day, Instagram has great reach. However, with their latest algorithm change, users no longer view the content in chronological order.

Content is directed by Instagram’s algorithm which has just changed. This change takes more control away from the companies posting content and makes it hard to determine how many people will be exposed to those posts. Instagram may best be used as a brand building tool if you have a decent following and post beautiful images or videos, but if you plan to use it as a marketing tool, you will need to devise a strategic plan to capitalize on the half a billion users.

Instagram Facts

70.7% of US businesses are using Instagram in 2017.

67% of socially active luxury brands are on Instagram.

80% of users follow at least one business on Instagram.

As of March 2017, over 120 million Instagram users visited a website, asked directions, called, emailed or direct-messaged a business.

30% of Instagram users have purchased a product they first discovered on Instagram.

Posts with a location get 79% more engagement.

59% of 18-29 year olds use Instagram.


Pinterest has 31% of social network users. When it comes to social media for retailers who have great visuals to share, Pinterest should be high on the list. Pinterest drives more referral traffic than LinkedIn, Google+, and YouTube combined. It focuses on great images with relevant content to inspire, showcase products, educate, share something desirable, or appeal to interests in a hobby or activity. Pinterest has become a major player both in social networking and in the search world, proving just how important visual content has become on the web. Because it is visual, it is a perfect match for luxury goods.

For female-focused companies, Pinterest is extremely valuable. 42% of all online women are Pinterest users. If your products include fashion, art, home decor, food, or anything else that can have beautiful images, Pinterest should be included in your primary marketing mix. It can drive great traffic to your website. The Pinterest “buy button” makes it possible for users to buy directly from your pinned image.

Pinterest Facts

83.8% of luxury brands with a social media presence are on Pinterest.

79% are female.

58% use Pinterest on a tablet.

88% purchase a product they pinned.

49% purchased 5 or more products they pinned.

25% of Fortune Global 100 companies have Pinterest accounts.


YouTube dominates online video. Over one-third of all Internet uses watch YouTube. YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google. It offers videos that cover every topic imaginable, including music videos, movies, personal vlogs, and independent films. quality ranges from sleekly professional videos to in-your-kitchen home movies. YouTube provides an excellent vehicle for brand awareness, lead generation, and audience engagement. If you can present quality videos, YouTube can be a great addition to a retailer’s social media mix.

YouTube Facts

1.3 billion users watch almost 5 billion videos per day.

YouTubers watch 6 billion hours of videos every month.

YouTubers upload 300 hours of video every minute.

YouTube is more popular than any cable channel.

Local Search and Review Sites

Every retailer who has brick and mortar locations needs to be listed on local search and review sites. YELP and Google My Business are two of the most valuable review sites. Consumer reviews are powerful. They offer consumers social proof by other consumers. Most people turn to at least one social review site before making purchasing decisions. The results of the BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey 2016 indicate that:

  • 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
  • 7 out of 10 consumers will leave a review for a business if they’re asked to
  • 90% of consumers read less than 10 reviews before forming an opinion about a business
  • 54% of people will visit a website after reading positive reviews
  • 73% of consumers think that reviews older than 3 months are no longer relevant
  • 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more
  • 58% of consumers say that the star rating of a business is most important

With these things in mind, it is obvious that listing a local business with a top review site is extremely important. Retailers need to have a strategy to get satisfied customers to share their experiences on social review sites, as well as a strategy on how to handle less-than-stellar reviews. Local review sites offer an exceptional opportunity to bring a company’s goods and services to public notice, as well as providing real time opportunities to address customer service issues.

Other Sites


LinkedIn is a networking social site for the business community and focuses on B2B marketing. 25% of US adults who use social media are signed up on LinkedIn. People use this social site to make connections to help find employment, employees, and B2B customers. While it is good to have a well-done business profile, it is not among the first tier of importance when deciding where to invest your active social media efforts.

LinkedIn Facts

94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content.

133 million – Total number of LinkedIn users from the USA.

LinkedIn’s reported user goal is 3 billion professionals.


Snapchat is a social networking app that is totally mobile based instant messaging. It’s one of the fastest growing apps out there, building its popularity on the idea of self-destructing “snaps.” You can send a photo or short video as a message (a snap) to a friend, which automatically disappears a few seconds after they’ve viewed it.

Brands often focus their Snapchat marketing goals around product launches, giving followers a behind-the-scenes look at the company/facility/product, or building their Snapchat channel. To ensure that campaigns are successful, brands must identify and contact Snapchat influencers with audiences and interests that align with your company’s identity and target demographic(s). If your business targets millennials, you want to be on Snapchat.

Snapchat Facts

60% of snapchat users in the U.S. are under the age of 24.

More than 100 million use Snapchat at least 30 minutes of content every day.

60% of all smartphone users are on Snapchat.

50% of U.S. daily new users are 25 and older.


Google+ is noteworthy as a worthy option for social media for retailers. Google+ offers some special benefits. It can positively affect search results on Google. If you want higher page ranks, you should build up your Google+ circles. This is increase in ranking is subtle so far and just one factor in Google’s algorithm. There is some evidence that it can move up content in searches. The content that is published on Google+ gets indexed quickly, which contributes to the chances of being found. Google +1’s (equivalent to Facebook Likes) also improve a page’s rank. Having a Google+ account can improve click-through rates.Google+ Circles allow you to segment your audience in as many ways as you want. Maybe you want some content to target boomers and other to target millennials. Circles make that possible.

To help people find your local business, it is key to link your Google+ business page to your Google Places listing.  This will improve your page rank for local customers tremendously. It is a highly underused feature, so those retailers that use it will have an edge over their competition. Google Analytics makes it easy to track the activity and results coming from your Google+ account.

Google+ Facts

70% of social active brands have a presence on Google+.

22% of online adults visit Google+ at least once a month.

30% of smartphone users utilize the Google+ app at least once a month.

28% of Google+ users are between the age of  15-34.

26.3% of Google+ users are female.

73.7% of Google+ users are male.

40% of marketers use Google+.


The purpose of this article is to give an overview of the strongest social media sites for retailers. There may be other niche social sites that apply to your business, but these platforms are the most important. There are also new social media platforms developing all the time. If you aren’t sure of the best place to invest your marketing dollars (and time,) ask a professional social media manager. That person can direct you to the best social mix for your specific time of business.

Source Documents: Harvard Business Review, Pew Research Center, Hootsuite, Mashable, Social Media Examiner, Forbes, Search Engine People, Statistic Brain


The Author: My name is Roxann Souci, and I am the owner of Fetch Response. We are a social media marketing company located in Denver, Colorado. My company specializes in social marketing for retail operations in jewelry, health & fitness, fashion, and specialty items. We help our customers to get all the benefits of social media marketing!


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