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What Can Social Bring to the Table for Retailers?

June 08, 2016

If you haven’t got at least one social media platform that you’re active on, as a retailer, by now, then you’re significantly behind the eight ball. And yes – we said active. Just having a Facebook account that you post on every other week with a couple of hundred followers (mainly your family and friends) doesn’t count.

You’ve got to think of social media as one of the best avenues to connect with repeat and potential customers. With the right social media strategy, you can boost sales exponentially, and reach a target audience you never even knew you had.

When people are spending almost 3 hours on their phones each day, unless your audience is strictly over 65’s, ignoring social media is ignoring one of your best opportunities for connection.

Another advertising stream
There’s the traditional advertising streams – storefront signage, word of mouth, print, TV, and outdoor advertising, and even SEO and Adwords placements, and then there’s social. It’s not just a way to interact with your audience – it’s a way to advertise to them too!

For the best results with social media, make sure that it’s not all advertising – intersperse ad posts with cute and funny things you’ve stumbled across, and shout outs to other people and brands who align with your store concept.

Building loyalty within your audience
People want to feel connected. Whether it’s via relationships to other people, or belonging to a group, the desire to connect is strong. You can leverage this innate desire by creating a retail persona on social media that really makes your audience feel included.

When your customers feel like they are involved in something special, feel like they are literally “friends” with your brand, or are an intrinsic part of your brand journey, it builds loyalty – and you will have them coming back time and time again.

Other benefits of social media include testing out new ideas for your store without commitment by polling your customers, broadening your reach by running competitions, gauging the successfulness of your social media advertising campaigns by tracking sales, and also seeing what your competitors are up to!

How to get started
Don’t be fooled – your social media management will take effort to craft, and you will have to dedicate time to it each and every day. For most stores, posting once a day (or even twice, or sometimes more!) is optimal.

If you’ve got your initial accounts set up, then it’s time to develop a strategy. If not, then it’s time to sign up for a platform or two. Depending on your business, you will want to focus on one or more platforms. For example, craftwares stores fare well on Pinterest, fashion labels are drawn to Instagram, and young children’s products go well on Facebook. Research which channels are best for your store.

Once you’ve set up accounts, then it’s strategy time. The best way to avoid slumping over your phone each day trying to think up a post is to use a social media management tool, such as Hootsuite. It gives you a great deal of control in scheduling and tracking your posts across a wide range of platforms.

If all this sounds like a lot of hard work – well, it is! If you are committed to getting the ball rolling with your social media, then it might be time to bring in a social media manager, to set up accounts, build a following, and start crafting posts.

Whichever way you approach it, it’s time to take social media for your business more seriously.

Written by Hello Social

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