Whether you like it or not, social media is a necessary part of retail marketing for most businesses. There is some flexibility within the broader genre, but maintaining an active presence on relevant channels is a great way to keep your customer base informed and engaged. And it’s a key avenue for valuable customer feedback. So we wanted to break down some strategies and dos and don’ts of several social media networks. Hopefully, these tips on the best ways to use social media in retail will help businesses navigate this ever-evolving world.
Surprisingly, even though competition for ads is growing on Facebook, it remains as a low-cost marketing platform with the potential to reach billions of customers. In 2019, Facebook Ad impressions increased by 37% while the average price of Facebook Ads decreased by 6%. With 80% of U.S. adults claiming to be active users and almost 3 billion global users, Facebook is one of the easier platforms to reach a large audience. But there are some strategies that can make it more successful.
Consider analytics for timing and targeting a certain audience. Figuring out the best timing for your post depends in part on your business, but, in general, it’s early afternoons on weekdays.
Ads can be used to target specific demographics, such as age, locations, and interests. If you are only trying to market to a specific area, make sure that your ads aren’t being wasted on people who are outside of that range.
Lots of graphics are good. You’re far more likely to get clicks for attaching a photo or other image to a post or status update.
Encourage audience participation. Keeping your posts lighthearted and fun is a great way to get your followers to add their two cents. These posts are also much more likely to be shared.
Set up polls or multiple choice responses. Don’t just focus on getting a simple thumbs up. Make viewers feel compelled to add a comment or cast a vote.
Don’t just plug your brand. You never want to share your competitors content, but it’s important to promote other businesses that you like and share similar values and brand identity. This makes you and your business more relatable and friendly.
Add call-to-action (CTA) buttons on your cover page. These can be various CTAs, including Contact Us, Use App, Shop Now, and more. You can also add these to your posts and updates when appropriate.
Get further analysis of your Facebook performance. There are many tools available (many of which are free) that can generate various reports on your page. Some even come with recommendations on how to improve.
Add profanity filters to your comments section. These just automatically hide or delete inappropriate content. You don’t have time to monitor every single post, hashtag, or comment, so let technology help when it can.
Take Advantage of TWITTER as a News Feed
Twitter is typically used as more of a news source than a marketing channel, but if you link to quality content, is a great way to drive more traffic to your website. Twitter has several hundred million daily users collectively sending about 5,000 tweets every second.
Highlight deals and promotions. A lot of shoppers head to Twitter to learn about big sales. Show off your best sales so that all of your followers know about it and share it with friends.
Use Twitter analytics to measure your growth. Just like Facebook offers tools to help you optimize your pages, Twitter can help you dig deeper into who your followers are, where they are based, and even how much they influence on the platform.
Market for higher-end goods. Twitter users have higher average budgets than other platforms and shop more frequently.
Ad engagements on Twitter have been rising consistently for years. And the costs to engage each customer have gone down significantly.
Keep up with your retail competition on Twitter. Businesses that use the channel tweeted on average well over 100 times per month in 2018.
Take advantage of hashtagsand handles. They are a great way to brand yourself and promote certain items. Many retailers are even using hashtags for hiring purposes now. You can also us existing popular hashtags to jump on Twitter bandwagons.
Focus on Great Images for INSTAGRAM
Instagram has branched off to become a more varied marketing opportunity for retailers. New features in the past few years have given business owners many more options when it comes to using an Instagram account. And, like the others, some are still free, while many are only available at a price.
Focus on your visuals. Instagram is first and foremost an image sharing site. Don’t try to rewrite the rules. You need to offer well-curated and visually pleasing content. Instagram users will be the pickiest and most discriminating of the main platforms.
Take advantage of IG Stories, IG Live, and Reels. Many businesses use this as a chance to offer viewers a glimpse behind the scenes. Let people in on where all the magic happens. It’s catchy, fun, and personalizes your brand and business.
Instagram is the best platform to encourage employee participation. Having a team onboard that will like, share, and post their own content makes your brand more likable. Just be sure that you lay out any guidelines for sharing or posting anything related to the company. You need it to keep a steady narrative and be appropriate for your audience.
Check out IGTV. The longer format video gives you more room for creativity and unique content. It’s also a more sales-friendly platform. Many brands are shooting videos where all props and wardrobe is actually for sale, creating a new type of retail shopping experience.
Post often and on multiple avenues of Instagram. It’s important to stay active on any social media channel that you use, but Instagram requires a bit more attention. If you’re not the most creatively inclined, think about finding someone to help you out. You don’t need to hire an expert marketer.
Follow the trends and stay relevant. Pay attention to the news, memes, and other noteworthy happenings. It will ensure a larger audience for each of your posts.
Stay true to the content rather than focusing only on sales. You want your Instagram to recognizable and eye-catching above all else. People don’t use Instagram just to shop, they want to be first inspired by the brand.
Pinterest has been a growing social media channel and is now the third most popular social network. While not every retailer needs a Pinterest account, many will benefit from it. And these days, it’s much more powerful than a virtual corkboard for reminders and ideas.
Map out your keywords just like you do for your website. Pinterest is a not just social, it’s its own search engine. To describe each pin, you’ll need to write actual copy including keywords, not just hashtags.
You can pay for promoted pins. This will immediately boost your brand exposure. Promoted pins do as well as, or even better than organic posts. You can use these promoted pins to focus on your top performers.
Pinterest allows for different campaigns, too. Awareness campaigns help you reach as many eyes as possible and possibly attract new customers. Engagement campaigns help boost the number of saves for that post. Finally, traffic campaigns will help get customers to your website to finalize sales.
Narrow your audience by targeting people by location, language, sex, age, etc. This will increase sales conversions. This is especially important for Pinterest: the average purchase order on Pinterest is $50, much higher than any other social media network.
Buyable Pins are an additional option on Pinterest. These enable quick purchases made directly through the network itself. But they still allow you to set your own shipping and customer service guidelines. Just mix them in with inspirational pins so that you attract a larger audience and don’t come across as too desperate for sales.
Pinterest is all about functionality and relevancy. It’s good at determining quality pins and moving them to the top. So focus on making great content rather than beating the system.
You can repurpose content from other social networks or your website. If you optimize them for Pinterest, there’s no risk that reusing content will weaken its strength on the channel.
Make sure it’s optimized for mobile: 80% of Pinterest users are on the mobile app.
Use Pinterest to reach early shoppers, especially around the holiday season. Pinterest users are more likely to be planners. Don’t wait until November to start highlighting your holiday merchandise.
Stay Active on YELP
Yelp is still mainly used for bar, restaurant, and QSR reviews, but that’s quickly expanding. But Yelp is also a platform for you to highlight basic business information, like your location, hours, various amenities, menu, and prices. So even though Yelp was built to help the customer, there are features that can benefit business, too.
Start by claiming your business on Yelp. This shows Yelp users that you are active and engaged in the community. Add photos and a brief blurb about your business.
Stay away from fake or paid reviews. They will be easy to decipher and get flagged by users. Yelp is filled with active and loyal users and the network itself is built with an algorithm meant to weed out false reviews.
Encourage guests to leave reviews. Start by posting Yelp signage near your door or POS checkout area. This will remind more casual members to hop on and leave a review. You might also offer small discounts or freebies for those who offer a review.
Put coupons on Yelp. This is an easy way to attract new customers. Even better, the coupons are redeemable through the app making the experience even more convenient.
Update all business information on the network. Nothing will bother a potential customer more than showing up expecting one thing and getting something entirely different. Keep your happy hour, menu, prices, etc. up to date and accurate.
Respond to all reviews left on your page. This includes both the good and the bad, but especially the bad. Stay respectful even if the customer isn’t. Defend yourself when appropriate and apologize when appropriate. Remember, too, you don’t have to make all responses public. If you’re adding useful information or apologizing for a poor experience, consider making them public.
Let KORONA Help with Your Social Media in Retail
KORONA’s point of sale software takes care of so much of the busy work that you have to deal with on a regular basis – inventory, accounting, sales metrics, etc. – that you can put more time into other areas, like your social media marketing. Check out our post on how to automate aspects of your business and click below to find out more about how KORONA can help improve your business.
For more specific advice on different social media management for businesses, check out the following blogs:
Among other things, Michael writes about trends and tips in retail for KORONA POS. His focus is on bringing small business owners a more holistic approach to growth. In his spare time, you'll find him hiking somewhere in the southwest. Connect with him on LinkedIn.