February 10, 2011, 12:00 PM

Social media is more than a sales pitch, a design conference speaker says

Beau Ties’ Justin Perdue will talk about how to build successful social media campaigns.

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Making the sale remains the guiding principle for any retailer, but when it comes to social media, the blunt sales pitch is not always the best tactic, says Justin Perdue, web manager for Beau Ties Ltd., who will be speaking next week at the Internet Retailer Web Design & Usability Conference 2011.

“Don't just ‘sell, sell, sell,’” says Perdue, who will speak in a session entitled “What it takes to make social media initiatives succeed.” He urges retailers to do more than simply push products. “Always remember to engage consumers. Encourage them to share their enthusiasm about your products,” he adds. “Show them the personal side of your company and strive to make them your company's friends, not just your customers.”

The neckwear manufacturer and retailer has taken on various social initiatives, and during his session Perdue will explain how Beau Ties tried and tested a range of tactics in the online social realm. He will discuss which initiatives worked and which ones did not, what managers have learned about social media programs and how they've refined their approach, along with what’s next. For Beau Ties, recent work in this area includes using Facebook for collecting customer feedback via testimonials, and seeking shoppers’ comments about potential new products.

Trying to build brands, engage customers and ultimately encourage purchases through social networks such as Facebook and Twitter is a part of retailing where experimentation is constantly taking place. Perdue lists among the main trends in this area the convergence of social networks and e-commerce sites. “There is increasing connection and integration of social media and e-commerce sites, moving towards enabling a more communally informed, peer-influenced online shopping experience,” he says.

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