By Sarah Jordan of The William Agency
If your impression of social media is that it’s a hub of selfies, pictures of wacky fashions and scary Twitter trolls, now’s the time for a change of heart.
Using social media platforms and adopting a social media marketing strategy are two very different things. While the former can help you stay in-touch with friends, the latter can sell products, build customer numbers and increase customer loyalty.
When used effectively, social media can be a real positive for your retail business. Here are some top tips to help you get ahead and avoid the wrath of your customers…
1. Gaining followers and keeping followers happy are different skills
Chasing followers is great, but only if you’re able to keep them engaged once they’ve clicked the ‘Like’ button. Entice new followers with fantastic images, carefully targeted promotions, new collections and amazing examples of customer experience. Next keep them happy with relevant ‘added extras’ like blog posts, sneak peeks and genuine engagement.
Worried it’s not worth it? According to the Sprout Social Index for Q3 2016, 75% of people have purchased something because they saw it on social media. Plus, 57% are more likely to buy from a brand they follow.
2. Customers aren’t just looking for products but relevant content
Asking your followers to simply look at products sold in your store, day in, day out, is unlikely to keep them engaged for long.
Share relevant content with your audience, such as new ways to stack items, an ‘unboxing’ video revealing new arrivals or a link to a post on your website about keeping jewellery clean. According to Sprout Social, 41% of people will unfollow a brand that doesn’t share relevant content… you have been warned.
3. Don’t go overboard on ‘push factors’ like promotions
57% of customers are annoyed by too many promotions on social media, which means constantly pushing those introductory prices, competitions and discounts isn’t necessarily going to do you any favours. These ‘push factors’ need to be balanced with ‘pull factors’ that draw a customer into your world through inspiration, content and personality.
4. Be authentic and don’t strive to be ‘cool’ on social media
Sprout Social discovered that 71% have unfollowed a brand because they were embarrassed or turned off by jargon. Stay true to your own identity on social media and offer an authentic and genuine tone of voice. If you’re a traditional business with traditional values, share this on social media.
5. Prepare to be repetitive and consistent in clever ways
Research shows that customers need to look at products on social media between two and four times before making a purchase. Around 20% need to see a product between five and eight times before making a decision. Be prepared to be repetitive and consistent on social, but consider new ways to highlight products every time. Short video clips on Instagram can be particularly engaging, like this one by Pressleys…
Take a diamond ring for example. You could share it on a sparkling background, take a picture on the hand of one of your customers, wear it stacked with a diamond bracelet, tell a story about the brand or designer who made it or explain the qualities of the centre stone. This will also have the added benefit of showing which posts produce the most engagement and those that fall flat.
6. Support your social media with these post ideas
If you’ve got the pictures and the video content, now’s the time to decide what you’re going to say. As a general rule it is important to keep posts snappy and informal on social media. Try asking questions, like which bracelet do they prefer? Or ask ‘how well they know their best friend’ by asking them to choose which of two rings they would prefer. This has the added bonus of requiring them to @ their friend into the conversation.
Take a look at this great example of asking questions by Wongs Jewellers on Instagram…
Fill in the blank posts can also work, such as ‘This gorgeous ring has a _______ centre stone? Can you tell us what the missing word is here?’
7. Engage with your social media followers
Imagine you call a business 12 times and they never pick up the phone… that would annoy you, right? The same principle applies to social media. If you’re not responsive how can you expect to hold onto followers for long periods of time?
According to Sprout Social, just one in 10 messages on social actually get replies from brands. Unless they are very clearly spam, make a point of sending a note back.
8. Don’t be afraid to promote your independent business status
Customers are constantly surrounded by faceless corporations, call centre services and big budget marketing campaigns. Your status as an independent retail business doesn’t mean you can’t compete.
On the contrary, your independent, personal approach is exactly what many customers are looking for. Celebrate this by sharing your personality, your people and your customer service on social media. Small doesn’t mean powerless.