Emotions are running high, thanks to Facebook.
By now, we all know that the social network recently unveiled a set of post responses that allows users to express themselves more eloquently. With this new assortment of emoji, called Reactions, users can communicate "love," "wow," "ha-ha," "sad” and "angry" on any post (in addition to the classic Like).
"Not every moment you want to share is happy," wrote Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. "Sometimes you want to share something sad or frustrating. Our community has been asking for a dislike button for years, but not because people want to tell friends they don't like their posts. People want to express empathy and make it comfortable to share a wider range of emotions."
This is good news for those of us who didn’t know how to properly respond to the death of a best friend’s goldfish. (BTW, the proper response is the sad face. Live and learn.)
And it’s great news for retail marketers, for two reasons.
The first is that retailers are now able to get more nuanced insight into how their shoppers are reacting to their posts and products. If someone is angry about a promotion or a delivery gone bad, a brand knows right away and is able to address it appropriately and in a timely manner. Conversely, when a shopper loves the new spring shoe line, a retailer can extrapolate that that collection will likely be in high demand.
This means the way retail marketers analyze shopper Facebook activity must evolve. New benchmarks and metrics are required. In addition to Likes, comments and shares, retailers must now measure digital emotions. Not an easy task, but one that will reap real benefits.
By studying specific responses, retailers can build more targeted online marketing strategies and social media programs. Learnings can be used to craft posts, campaigns and experiences that create a deeper and more meaningful relationship between shopper and brand.
The second reason retailers should embrace these new emoji is how they are able to inform and enhance in-store marketing.
Reactions will help retail marketers better understand not just what a shopper is feeling, but also the importance she places on being heard and how she feels. The shopper wants to talk specifics. So the challenge (and opportunity) is to figure out how to give her an in-store voice that equals the one she has online.
I’m a big believer in the inevitable fusion of digital and in-store marketing activities. These new little Facebook faces can be a powerful tool to bridge and connect online and in-store marketing, and to drive us further down the path to convergence. They inspire a few questions:
- How can physical marketing tools (displays, signage) be advanced to allow and encourage the shopper to share what she’s feeling in that in-store moment?
- How can conversation be facilitated in surprising, high-touch, low-tech ways?
- How can the brand demonstrate to the shopper that she has been heard, and that what she says is valuable? What are the playback mechanisms?
Ultimately, it’s about translating the digital conversation into the language of in-store. Retail marketers must discover how to elicit the shopper’s feedback while she’s in the aisle.