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‘People go into shops to make purchases, not friends’

Paul McManus, chief executive of brand communications agency Crave

Last week we saw a top 10 retailer who wanted to talk to us about an autumn campaign. Money was tight - it always is - but they asked us to come back with a social aspect. Something with content, that people would view on Pinterest or Facebook.

Perhaps you think that’s a good idea. Perhaps you’re even doing it. But how is it working? How many transactions can you link back to likes on your Facebook page? What does your tweet-to-sales ratio look like? And how much is it costing you?

We’ve all got this fear of being out of touch with our customers. But when you decide you want to buy something online, do you spend time reading blogs or watching behind-the-scenes videos? In reality you probably don’t have the time, and if you don’t, why do you think your customers do?

Social networks are social, not commercial. People go into shops to make purchases, not to make friends. Why should the online retail experience be any different?

It breaks my heart when we’re asked to save money on the stylist or photographer so we can spend more on videos and social media. It’s not what’s behind the scenes that sells - it’s the scene itself. Get that right and your audience will be falling over itself to interact with you. Get it wrong and they’ll ignore you.

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