second-largest seasonal shopping period of the year, following winter holidays. With “back to school,” “school supplies,” and “back to school sales” being top search terms from 2013, this is not the time of year to overlook and skip out on the potential opportunities. If you haven’t even considered using social media to promote your back-to-school products, here are a few reasons why you might want to reconsider before you’re sent to detention.

Social media has changed back to school shopping.

Peer reviews are more likely to resonate with users than expert reviews. When was the last time your friend used a social media post to ask for advice of what dentist to go to or what product to use? The networks make it easy to quickly poll and get the best information from a group of peers that you trust. According to one survey, 64.1% of shoppers report that social media will influence their choices. Whether it’s the recognition of something they saw on a brand’s page or a post from their friend that highlighted an item, people trust their network to tell them about the best deals and the newest products. With all of the competition, your store and brand should be leveraging your social channels to share information. Whether you give away coupons or share exclusive sales and content, you can get the word out quickly and directly to your followers.

Buy button adds a new dimension.

With the addition of the buy buttons on posts on social platforms, social networks are allowing users to bypass the regular routine of heading to a website to buy directly from the merchant on the social platform. Showcasing your products on social media can get you a sale with the user not ever leaving the platform. Use the best pictures you have of the product. Some stores recognize that the styling of their Instagram accounts were getting people excited to make purchases, but without the buy button, they found that they couldn’t convert the sale. These stores created a microsite that shows the post and links users directly to the products. It’s a new way to shop!

Influencer marketing can drive new leads.

The power of influencers is apparent. In a recent study, YouTube stars are up to five times more influential than other celebrities. If you want to influence buying choices of teens, look to the video social platform for you new partnerships. Target is the latest store to use social media stars to promote their back-to-school fashions. Beginning in July 2015, six ads are being released that feature some well known “kid influencers.” Each ad will focus on a different trend and a specific promotion. The stars of these ads will use their own social accounts to promote the campaign as well. It’s not just about using these online celebrities to sell a product, you’re also able to cast a wider net and find new customers through their followers. The goal when you partner should be that you both promote the content being created and tag each other.

Keep customer service in mind.

With the beginning of school, many people can get stressed out easily. Many are overwhelmed by the long list of items that are needed. With different requirements for different ages, parents may need help keeping everything straight. Parents aren’t the only ones to be overwhelmed! For a new college student, it can be intimidating hearing the list of items they may need. From toasters to bedding, shopping for a home is an entirely different experience. Make sure that you look to provide support both in and outside the store and use social media to watch the conversation and recognized the pain points. Many places offer pre-populated shopping lists that customers can pick up in store to personalized lists that they can create and print from home, look for ways to help your customers get through this season with little pain. Back-to-school shopping season is that rare time before the winter holidays when you can test out some new marketing plans and gauge interest from your community. To be successful, you need to come up with your content strategy so that you can maximize the shopping season.]]>