Social media usage continues to grow, with 77 percent of online adults using social networking sites as of November 2016. As a small retail business, you’ll need to ensure your marketing strategies keep up with this growth in order to maintain engagement and revenue. Here’s how you can do so.
1. Give them updates.
Loyal customers will continue engaging with you on a regular basis, but for new customers and swipers by, you’ll want to catch their eyes and interests.
With your social channels, especially Instagram, you should provide users with visuals of your products, letting them know when new items come in or when you’ve restocked a popular item. You can also promote limited items, on a “first-come, first-serve” basis.
With updates, you can encourage your customers to turn on post notifications so they know when you post and can open your page right from their home screen.
2. Reward your customers.
Consumers like being rewarded, and one way you can do that is through your social channels. You can host a giveaway or contest and offer discounts given exclusively through your pages.
For example, your Instagram or Facebook giveaway can include liking, commenting, and sharing the post. On Twitter, you can have them retweet or favourite. Discount codes can be given via your Snapchat story which users can only see if they follow you.
You can also offer deals for customers who utilize your hashtags on their social channels. If someone buys a dress from your store, posts a picture of themselves on their social channels, tags your business, and uses your hashtag, you can, from time-to-time, thank them for their purchase and social sharing by offering them a discount on their next purchase.
3. Don’t forget about video.
Written content and photographs can do wonders for your marketing strategies, but sometimes, small businesses forget about video.
The largest targeted market for videos are millennials, with 80 percent using video clips to help them decide on purchases. However, don’t post low-quality video content!
You don’t want to post something just for the sake of posting it.
Your videos should tell a story about your brand, your products, or your customers.
Video marketing strategies have proven to be extremely effective. For example, Sephora’s online video strategies reported an 80 percent lift in potential purchasing and a 54 percent lift in ad retention.
4. Utilize in-channel purchasing.
Statistics show that 77 percent of the U.S. owns a smartphone and that roughly 80 percent of Americans are online shoppers. With more and more people using their mobile devices for everyday use, in-channel purchasing can increase the likelihood of your conversion rates.
Not all social channels offer purchasing options, but fortunately, three large channels do: Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest (Instagram is rumored to be working on an in-channel purchasing option itself). When you offer in-channel purchasing, it drives the user to make the purchase right then and there.
5. Look for industry influencers.
If you’ve been on Instagram, you’ve probably seen at least one form of influencer marketing. A user with thousands (and sometimes millions) of followers promotes a brand on their page, which drives traffic and potential revenue to the business’s Instagram page.
Even though it’s on social media, it’s word-of-mouth marketing. People trust recommendations from other people, so when they see someone they follow and look up to using a product, they’re more likely to inspect the product and possibly purchase it. This is especially important for retail companies because it promotes the path to purchasing. In fact, some retailers have become viral through influencer marketing.
6. Offer in-store experiences.
Nowadays it’s all about the social experience. People love sharing the best part of their lives, so offer them a small part of that! Encourage people to come to your brick-and-mortar for discounts or small freebies that they wouldn’t get online.
You can offer them even more if they share a post from your store on their social channels (tagging your physical location as well). If you don’t want to give away freebies, you revamp your store to offer them experiences they couldn’t get online.
For example, you can make one wall made of chalk and have a different prompt each week that customers can add to. Or you can incorporate social experiences like photo booths or craft tables. Share these moments on your social pages and encourage your customers to do so as well. These experiences can increase customer loyalty and foot traffic.
As social media use continues to grow, so will your marketing strategy. No longer can you simply rely on word-of-mouth, local advertisements, and email marketing. While these strategies should still be in effect, start to construct social media strategies to further drive engagement and conversions with your retail store.
Constantina Kokenes is a Content Specialist at Kabbage, a small business loans provider. She holds a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. When not in the small business world, Constantina loves cooking, baking, going on hikes and playing with her cat and chinchilla.