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The low-cost clothing brand has entered the top five of the 100 UK retailers on social media for the first time.

According to eDigitalResearch’s Retail Social Media Benchmark, Primark now has almost 2.4m followers on Facebook alone, a steep rise from its reported 700,000 followers just six months ago.

It can be very easy for a high street brand to accrue a high number of followers on any social media platform just through brand identity alone.

However, in order to be an effective driver of traffic to online and offline commerce, brands need to use social media to directly engage with customers through conversation, quality entertaining content and through personalised, always-on customer service.

Therefore a high follower count isn’t necessarily the best metric to gauge whether a brand is ‘doing social media right’. Although the sharp rise in Primark’s social profile is indicative of Primark upping its game considerably.

Let’s take a look at Primark’s Facebook page to see if there’s anything to be learnt from its strategy. 

Primark doesn’t spend heavily on advertising or marketing campaigns. Apparently it just relies on word of mouth to spread the good word of Primark, at least according to a press release forwarded to me today.

I would possibly suggest that it’s more down to the fact it sells trousers for under £10 that keeps customers walking through the door, rather than any kind of brand loyalty accrued through word-of-mouth or social media.

Or am I completely wrong?

Since June 2013, Primark averaged 1.75 posts on Facebook a day. It also had approximately 1.75m followers talking about the brand over the same time-frame. 

This is well above fourth place rival New Look, which despite having 2.8m followers, had less than half that amount talking about its brand in the last six months.

Clearly Primark is giving its customers something to talk about.

Facebook exclusive conversations

What’s the point of following a brand on multiple channels if its going to repeat the same thing on each one. A brand can split its audience multiple times by doing this, creating more work for itself for less returns and annoying its followers.

Not Primark though…

This is also a good example of how Primark uses the functionality of Facebook to provide added value for its followers, with the promise of highlighting their work in a Facebook album.

It shows a good relationship between brand and follower and gives the follower a reward for interaction.

Agile product marketing

There’s no great science behind this, it just means keeping an eye on what’s going on in the media, popular culture or in this case the weather, taking a quick Instagram of the product a uploading it immediately with a pithy headline.

Primark’s effectiveness when it comes to product marketing is two-fold. It doesn’t do it too often throughout the day, so as not to bombard the follower with advertising and it also includes the price, which many brands don’t do.

The price obviously forms a large part of the appeal of Primark and therefore keeping it in the message is key to the post’s success.

Go off topic

Like all the best brands on Facebook, Primark isn’t afraid to stray away from the ‘core marketing message’ of its brand and just post weird and random stuff from around the internet and from within its own vaults.

Start a conversation

Ask questions, hold a ballot, gauge opinion. All these methods of conversation can improve engagement and reach throughout the whole of Facebook.

Of course achieving reach through the use of One Direction is like shooting fish in a barrel, but Primark keeps the post relevant and links to a helpful blog post on its own website that reveals how teenagers can steal One Direction’s look.

I’ll keep it bookmarked for later.

Primark’s online future

Primark has recently redesigned its website and although it isn’t an ecommerce site, it has positioned its social media links far more clearly than before.

In fact, promoting social seems to be the main focus of this site. Primark had previously used ASOS to test the ecommerce waters, however recent reports suggest that shipping costs and other expenses related to ecommerce have resulted in even slimmer margins for thr retiler.

In fact a quick visit to ASOS reveals this message.

Primark now seems to be focusing its strategy on social media in order to drive customers to it offline retail stores.

For more on brands achieving success on social media, check out GoPro’s dazzling YouTube strategy and how Converse uses Facebook, Pinterest and Google+

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 26 February, 2014 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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Comments (1)

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David Bryan

This article isn't insightful at all. It offer no real explanation at all as to the reasons why Primark has suddenly gained such a vast number of followers in a very short space of time - this growth has suddenly dropped off which implies Primark were growing fans through means other than engaging content. In fact it is very unlikely that the content has anything to do with it as it is in English and their fan growth has come from countries such as Spain and Germany. Primark only has around 670,000 UK fans. I suggest the author goes back and does his homework.

almost 3 years ago

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