National brands with a local message deliver great social

In the third of our four-part blog series, we explore how brands and UK shopping centres can support each others’ social media strategy at a local level, to influence footfall.

Through the summer months of 2019, both retailers and town shopping centres have continued to be plagued by decreasing footfall and store closures. As shopping centres lose brands from their offering, shoppers seeking a wider range of choices and experiences  opting to shop online.

Now more than ever, shopping centres need to understand how they compete for consumers’ attention. Customers need reasons to leave their sofa and visit shopping centres. Maybe* listened to the online conversation created by and about 20 UK shopping centres throughout August and early September 2019.

Looking at the detail

Local means personal

In the first part of our series, we took a look at the social media strategy of Northamptonshire’s Rushden Lakes. The shopping centre creates content that is locally relevant to their following and in turn, achieve social media engagement that outperforms other centres.

But by the same measure, how can national brands support the centres in which they trade to drive results? Several national brands have a localised social media strategy. The Perfume Shop, Waterstones, Joules, and GAME all operate local social media accounts in an attempt to appeal to shoppers on a more personally relevant level.

Who’s got local influence?

In several of our profiled centres, we see the impact of these local accounts on conversations about a centre. By creating content that mentions local shopping centres the brands are able to achieve a larger local share of voice.

In the conversation created about The Glades in Bromley (who rank 114th in our free index of UK Shopping Centres), GAME is the biggest influencer. That is to say, they are creating a volume of conversation that successfully reaches and engages an audience. 

Though the Glades only received 41 conversations about them, six of them were authored by the local GAME store.  In the conversation about Peterborough’s Queensgate centre, though not the biggest influencers, both Joules and the Perfume Store’s local social followings are influencing the conversation and contributing to the 1100 engagements on content about the centre.

The Maybe* 'Who’s got influence' report showing who has influence in the conversation about The Glades. See who's influencing the conversation around your organisation.

The Maybe* 'Who’s got influence' report showing who has influence in the conversation about Queensgate. See who's influencing the conversation around your organisation.

In both these instances, centres are benefitting as the brands are talking to their local customers about the shopping centre’s offering. This gives UK shopping centres the opportunity to reciprocate and engage with brands at a local level, rather than falling into the void of busy national accounts where, due to competing priorities, they will simply fail to cut through. See here how Vicar Lane successfully drove footfall to its River Island store utilising social media and influenced the national brand conversation.

Running a fully localised social media strategy might not be right or feasible for every brand, but by being aware and seeking to engage their shopping centre partners at a local level, brands are more likely to reach customers on the ground. See how The Entertainer achieved this with a charity initiative.

The key takeaway

When shopping centres and brands interact with each other and create locally relevant content, both benefit.

Listening to the conversation about you helps you understand who is creating content about you and who’s got influence.

Our free index helps you take your insights a step further by quickly identifying the top performers in your niche and finding inspiration from their approach. Benchmark my business for free.

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