Social media has established a stronghold in global culture, with people of all ages and interests connected online through social accounts. Mobile devices have helped to solidify the presence of social media in our lives, ensuring a captive audience is connected anywhere and everywhere.
Daily time spent on social networking by internet users worldwide from 2012 to 2017
As a shop owner, it’s wise to ensure you have a presence on social media, and leverage social media marketing to reach those who are active on the platform every single day. With social media marketing, you can not only increase your online brand presence and give a personal touch to your business interactions, but you will reach new people who may not otherwise find your shop. Even if your store is only available for brick-and-mortar shoppers, social media plays a key role in doing – and growing – business in this era.
Let’s cover a few social media marketing tips for shop owners, to help you succeed in the online social world.
Choose the right platform
Sometimes it seems as if the list of social media platforms is growing by the day, and it’s hard to keep up! Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok… and this is just a few of the popular platforms available today. But don’t worry – you don’t need to create a profile on each and every one of these. In fact, you shouldn’t! It’s best to have an active and engaged presence on a short list of channels, where your potential customers spend time.
A great example of a consistent and active social media presence, is Kenyan cafe chain Artcaffe. Artcaffe has a collection of popular cafes throughout Nairobi, with a popular and recognizable brand. They focus on sharing across the Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter platforms, and use them very regularly to share menu updates, special offers, and holiday wishes to their followers. They use bold imagery with a mix of stills and video along with clear, consistent messaging.
How do you choose the channels that are best for your business? Start with these questions:
What are you selling?
Depending on what product or service you’re providing, certain channels may be better suited for you. For example, restaurants have seen some success on Facebook, where photos of food and the atmosphere can be shared, and there is a section for the menu which can be updated as required. Clothing companies do well on Instagram, where posts can be tagged with shopping links on each item, directing users directly to a page where they can complete their purchase.
Who are you selling to?
Consider the age group of the customers you’re looking to reach. Then, determine what channels they use the most, as well as what types of content they like, share, and comment on most frequently. Facebook has an audience spanning multiple age brackets, with the majority in the 18-49 range. Instagram attracts a younger audience, with the majority of users in the 18-30 age bracket.
Remember this checklist:
Regardless of the platform, there are a few things you should keep in mind when setting up your online presence. Start remembering this short list (you’ll want to check back semi-regularly to ensure everything is still up-to-date).
- Make sure your location, contact, and opening hour info is complete – on Facebook there is an extensive list of details you can add, from pinning your location on a map, to opening hours by individual days, as well as phone numbers and email addresses. Instagram is a bit more limited, but you can still list a short description of your business and link to either your Facebook page or a Google Maps location. Tools such as LinkTree help you overcome Instagram restrictions (only one link can be placed in the bio, and links cannot be clicked in image captions) by giving you one link to place in your bio, leading to a list of links you’d like to share.
- If you have a restaurant, cafe, or other business with a menu, take advantage of the option to add a menu with images of your offerings.
- It’s a great idea to allow customers to contact you via the messaging feature on the platforms, but be sure you’re checking the inbox to see who would like to get in touch and answer any questions that come through!
- Enable customer reviews (on Facebook) – word-of-mouth is some of the best advertising, and customer reviews are a great way to share the positive experiences of your customers for potential customers who visit your page. This is also a great opportunity to understand better just what it is that customers like about what you’re doing – consider it a bit of “market research”!
Take advantage of local marketing tactics
With brick-and-mortar shops, the objective of digital/social marketing is the same: to connect with potential customers online, and to get them to come to your store and buy your products or services. Since it’s not likely that someone will travel across the country or continent to walk into your store (though, it would be nice if they do!), merchants who do business solely in-store are wise to focus the majority of their social media marketing strategy on being visible amongst local customers.
There are several ways you can do this:
- Use location tagging on your Instagram posts.
- “Check in” or tag your location on your Facebook posts.
- Ensure that any social ads you run (which can be created through Facebook and shared solely on the platform, or shared also to a connected Instagram account) have audiences defined by locale. When creating ads, Facebook’s console asks for your objective. Within this ads admin panel, they offer “Store Traffic” as an objective, meaning you ultimately want to serve these ads to people who are most likely to come to visit you in person. You can set a target radius around your shop (or shops), and use Call to Action (CTA) buttons such as “Get Directions”.
- Make sure all of your business information is current and clear. On a facebook page as shown in the Artcaffe example above, there is a full column of business information to be provided. Instagram bio information is more limited, but you can still post your location and include a link to Google Maps to show your audience precisely where to find you. Of course, make sure things such as your hours and phone number are kept current!
Using Business Locations targeting in Facebook Ads, for more information see Facebook Help
Don’t forget mobile
It’s estimated that 56% of in-store shoppers are influenced by digital interactions, and that 87% of in-store shoppers check online for information before shopping. Couple these statistics with the adoption of mobile devices (and mobile shopping) and you’ll see why it’s crucial to aim your marketing efforts at smartphone users.
Facebook has a mobile advertising approach called Dynamic Ads. These ads allow you to set up a catalogue of the products you’d like to promote and rather than creating an individual ad for different audiences and products, you can set up a campaign that will deliver the most relevant ads to the individual user based on their interests. You can set a broad audience, and Facebook will do the rest.
Facebook testing dynamic adverts
But, when it comes to optimizing the shopping experience for mobile users, don’t just stop at advertising. Once they’ve arrived in-store, ensure they can pay using a variety of mobile payment options for added convenience and a smooth purchase process.
The mobile experience is important not just in the realm of ads, of course. You’ll want to make sure that the content you share on social platforms looks good on the screens that it will be delivered to. Avoid small or excessive text on images, and keep the imagery sharp, clean, and attention-grabbing. It’s become pretty easy to just scroll along on mobile devices these days, so you’ll need to capture a short attention span and make your audience curious.
It’s no secret that video has changed the way of socialising, shopping, and marketing within social media. Not only are videos attention-grabbing, but they tell a more complete story about your product or service than photos ever could. Dynamic content should not be left out of your social media marketing strategy.
There are many different approaches to video, and which one you choose will depend on what type of business you have. Let’s cover a few different types of videos you can consider:
Educational – Educational videos are a great way to establish brand awareness, and to establish yourself as a bit of an expert. These types of videos tend to be a bit more polished, and focus on a key message you’d like to deliver. Whether you’d like to share some tips on using your products, or teach people about what they might encounter on a day trip with your adventure company, educational videos give people somewhere to turn to learn more.
Behind-the-Scenes – A fun way to create content is to show a behind-the-scenes look at your company or product. These videos can be casual and playful, showing quick clips of stocking new products or even trying on some new clothes you’ve gotten in-store. If you create your own products, it could be a nice way to show your customers a little glimpse of how it all comes together.
Entertainment – Similar to what we mentioned above, videos don’t have to all have high production value and offer something too serious. In fact, Instagram shares that they see a strong trend in “low-fi” videos – those who feel a bit more casual, with a DIY feel. Brands feel approachable when customers can relate.
Testimonials – Depending on what type of business you have, short testimonials can go a long way at sharing about your product in a unique way. Word-of-mouth advertising is effective because rather than you talking about your own brand, real customers of yours share their personal experiences.
And remember, a reported 75% of all video plays are done on a mobile device, so be sure your content is mobile screen friendly!
Encourage UGC (user-generated content)
User-generated content (UGC) is amongst the most effective, organic, trust-building social media content you can share. Potential customers are more likely to trust a brand that (amongst all of the great ideas we’ve listed above) has content such as photos and reviews from their current, real-life customers. If your social media account is buzzing with positive reviews and comments from followers, this will encourage trust and increase conversations from customers who may begin to develop a bit of FOMO – fear of missing out – on a positive experience of their own.
Offering special offers and in-store discounts for those who post photos from within your shop, or of their use of your product, is a great way to encourage mutual benefit. Encourage the use of branded hashtags, account tags, and location tags. This turns visitors into brand ambassadors, and builds brand awareness amongst their friends and a wider audience of social media users.
Set up your social media accounts to reach your target audience, and then encourage visits through UGC, special offers, and targeted ads. Don’t forget to reach out to mobile users too, and see conversions rise, as your social media followers become paying customers.