When you're selling primarily in a brick and mortar shop, the world of online sales and marketing can seem a little foreign.
You are, after all, doing business in a defined community in a physical space. What can social media do for you? It is a common mistake for business owners to feel confident that they have their digital bases covered with an attractive website and email list.
But social media should not—cannot—be ignored by the retail business community.
According to Globalwebindex, at least 54% of people have used social media to research a product or brand. This statistic reveals that a majority of people on social media are using these platforms to connect to businesses and services.
Here are the two essential social media platforms brands and retailers should commit to having a presence on in 2020, plus two to evaluate.
If you do not have a Facebook business page, take a moment (right now!) to create one and optimize it. Include the address of your physical location (or set up different location pages), store phone number(s), online contact information, website, and hours of operation—and be sure to keep these updated as you alter around the busy holidays, or if you are a seasonal business. Facebook will also prompt you to assign a category, price range, and parking information—all of which prompt potential customers to visit your brick & mortar.
Your Facebook business page is a great place for customers to post reviews and feedback about your products and customer service. It also gives potential customers an alternative way to contact your business via Facebook Messenger, so be sure to install the app on your phone.
Facebook is an excellent outlet on which to launch an ad campaign. As a business page admin, you have the option to select your target audience based on a very specific set of criteria that you choose. This includes age, gender, relationship status, employment, geographical location, and more. You can run localized ads based on geotagging that generate local buzz and drive traffic to your physical retail location, as well as far-reaching campaigns that funnel traffic to your website with the objective of boosting ecommerce sales. Use your POS customer reporting tools to identify your top spending or most engaged clientele, then apply that customer data in creating your targeted Facebook audience.
Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms with one billion users every month, and a critical platform for retailers. A recent survey found that after seeing a product on Instagram, 79% searched for more information, 37% visited the retail store and 46% made a purchase.
Through eye-catching photos and thoughtful captions, you can use Instagram to share not only your products and current promotions, but your store culture and brand with a broad audience. It's a far more personal outlet than a website, and the opportunity to engage with customers has the potential to build long-term loyalty and relationships with them.
Make sure that your Instagram profile is set up as a Business Account, which will give you detailed insight into your reach and post engagement, as well as set you up for potential advertising campaigns you may want to run. Include contact information and physical address, which allows shoppers to call you directly from the app or get online directions to your store with the click of a button.
If you sell online, consider implementing Instagram Shopping, while connecting your catalogue to your existing BigCommerce or Shopify store to keep inventory and sales data synced and get a holistic view of your customers no matter where or how they shopped.
And to drive that brick and mortar traffic, always be sure to include a geotag and local hashtags relevant to your area.
Quality is better than quantity, so if you're already feeling stressed about keeping up with multiple social accounts, don't spread yourself too thin: focus your efforts on keeping up a strong Facebook and Instagram presence, and call it a day. But if bandwidth allows, here are two additional social media platforms best suited for retail marketing to consider.
Pinterest may work better for some retail operations than others. Does your business have anything to do with fashion, home decor, cooking or kitchenware, or any other vertical of creative expression? If so, consider launching a business account and get to pinning.
Pinterest is overwhelmingly popular with women, with over 80% of its users being female, and 84% of active users report that they turn to Pinterest when planning a specific purchase. Create boards for different product categories, seasons, new arrivals—think about ways you would divide up or merchandise your physical store—and pin from each product page of your ecommerce website. Always include a mix of individual product images and styled shots and confirm.
Pinterest also offers paid advertising plans that extend the reach of your posts.
"With a Pinterest business account, you can post original content from your website. You can also re-pin interesting information you have found around the web or relevant pins that other users have shared."
Who knew that the video sharing platform first popular among teens would turn into a marketing tool so valuable for retailers? Now with 800 million users, TikTok is proving to be a quickly growing platform that retail marketers need to keep an eye on. Macy's, Old Navy, Uniqlo, and Burberry have all jumped on the TikTok train, encouraging users to submit videos of them either using their products or related to the brand, as part of larger campaigns.
With TikTok's primary audience being Gen Z, it's a new way to reach the generation expected to account for about 40% of global consumers this year. So if that's the clientele you're trying to engage, it's an initiative worth entertaining. While the option to add a clickable link one's bio is not yet available to the masses, TikTok is still a unique option for boosting brand awareness. That being said, connecting your Instagram account is essential so you have somewhere to lead viewers before videos become shoppable.
Just like Instagram, use relevant hashtags to boost your following and views, and if you're encouraging others to share their own video, be sure to advertise the corresponding campaign hashtag. If you're new to the platform and haven't built an engaged following yet, consider starting by participating in other trending challenges, in a way that best represents your own retail business—this will immediately generate some new viewers, if not followers.
If you still feel like a newbie in the world of social media marketing, do not overwhelm yourself by creating a profile on every social media platform out there: start with Facebook and Instagram, and as your understanding of social media marketing develops, you will naturally expand onto other platforms.
If you have a budget and can afford to hire a social media manager, go for it. Statistics are in your favor that it will be a worthwhile investment.
By taking advantage of the social media platforms best suited for retail marketing you can boost in-store traffic, increase sales, and promote brand engagement. Through building a loyal, connected, and authentic following across the web, you will strengthen the foundation of your retail operations.
Kristin Savage nourishes, sparks and empowers using the magic of a word. Along with pursuing her degree in Creative Writing, Kristin was gaining experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in marketing strategy for publishers and authors. Now she has found herself as a freelance writer. You can find her on Facebook.
Social media marketing starts with knowing your customers.
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Topics: Retail Marketing