Online communities have been a part of the internet since its inception. Social media has become a global phenomenon. Social media is much more than an infatuation. In fact, there are approximately 2.62 billion social media users online. This number is expected to rise to over 3 billion people by 2021.
For this reason, social media is a perfect inbound marketing tool for businesses, especially those that aspire to expand their audience organically. To accomplish this, it’s imperative to use proven social media methods to create a successful marketing initiative that yields tangible results.
Let’s explore six social media weapons you can use to boost your business's branding and marketing efforts.
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1. Use Facebook’s Dynamic Ads.
Creating mobile ads on social media gives prospective customers the opportunity to view and purchase your products conveniently online. Facebook concluded that 49 percent of in-store purchases are influenced by digital engagements.
With Facebook's Dynamic Ads, businesses can link their ads to their local products. This allows you to customize creative ads based on product inventory catalogs, promotions, and pricing. For example, with Dynamic Ads, a retail store can launch a nationwide sales event happening at every physical location. However, these ads will only display the products that are available at a nearby store. If a particular product sells out in a particular store, everyone in that region will no longer be able to see those advertisements.
2. Influence offline visits with online promotions.
Your overall goal should be to influence prospective customers to either buy your products online or visit your store to complete a purchase.
Although 42 percent of consumers prefer to purchase their products online, you can inspire customers to visit your store locations to obtain exclusive promotions and discounts. As a matter of fact, 90 percent of Twitter users say that they follow retail stores on social media to do just that.
One of the most effective methods of driving social media traffic to your physical store location is by holding offline events and marketing them on social media. If you are searching for creative ways to influence offline visits for your business, take a look at these insightful tips.
- Offer free events at your store locations. If you run a coffee shop, you could host a free coffee tasting event to your existing and new customers, while promoting the event on social media. This is a perfect way of eliciting positive consumer experiences with your brand.
- Host a store giveaway. People love free items, so holding a store giveaway and promoting it on your social media channels is a perfect way to attract meaningful leads and sales opportunities from within your store. When you are creating these events, be cognizant of promoting brand awareness. Using the previous example, it makes no sense to give away an iPad if you’re a coffee shop. Try to promote and give away your own branded products to evoke a widespread interest in your brand.
- Avoid using excessive promotions. Increasing the engagement of your social media audience is like keeping the attention of a three-year-old, so businesses often resort to creating excessive promotions on social media to capture their audience’s attention. It’s essential to avoid making coupon codes and promotions the major focus of your engagement with your social media audience.
3.) Encourage customers to leave reviews.
The power of online reviews is nonpareil for retail businesses desiring to build online credibility with their customers. As it turns out, 90 percent of consumers consult online reviews before visiting or making a purchase with a retail store. In addition, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as word-of-mouth recommendations.
Since online reviews are a trusted and proven resource tool for consumers, you should focus on accumulating positive reviews for your business to inform prospective customers that your business is legitimate. Google and Facebook are the premier source of online reviews for consumers. Asking your customers to leave online reviews is practically the simplest and most direct way to accumulate online reviews.
If you have received a negative review, don’t get discouraged. It’s best to respond to negative reviews professionally by offering customers a service or a timely refund. If you have received a particularly inappropriate review, you can flag the reviewer’s comment or report it to either Google or Facebook, and it could be removed after evaluation.
4. Take breathtaking photos.
In a 2012 study initiated by content marketing company Skyword, it was concluded that beautiful and highly-visual photos led to a 94 percent increase in total post views on social media. This study, combined with the fact that millennials have an insatiable affinity for photos, should inspire you to create and post breathtaking photos that resonate with your online brand.
To embellish your social media feed, you can invest in a high-quality camera or editing software to ensure that your photos will captivate your target audience.
5. Know your network.
There are numerous social media networks that can be used for the benefit of your business. However, you could be making a critical mistake by assuming that all of these networks have the same advantages and host the same demographics. Take a look below to know the exclusive benefits of each major social media network and whether you should use these networks for your business.
- Facebook: Facebook is the premier social media network, especially for retail businesses. With more than 1 billion active users, Facebook is the largest and most advanced social media network for retail stores to advertise their products, post content, and interact with their audience.
- Twitter: Like Facebook, Twitter is a popular social media network that provides businesses with the option of advertising and sharing their content with millions of people. Businesses of all types can effectively use Twitter to leverage their social media objectives.
- Instagram: This social media network primarily targets individuals between the ages of 18 and 29. Therefore, if you are attempting to reach the millennial generation in a photo-centric community, Instagram is a great option.
- Snapchat: Snapchat isn’t a traditional marketing tool, but it’s home to approximately 43.9 million monthly millennial users. Unless young millennials are your target audience, you should probably forego adding this network into your social media plan.
- Pinterest: This network works best for businesses that thrive in specific niches, such as travel, food, beauty, health, and fashion. It would be in your best interest to avoid using this platform if your business and content don’t align with these industries.
6. Post often.
Leveraging social media to improve your online presence ultimately relies on your consistency. For years, marketers have preached the doctrine of consistency as it relates to social media posting. Though, what is the optimal time to post on each social media network? In previous years, this was an intensely debated topic, but after some comprehensive research, the answer is now clear.
According to CoSchedule, here are the best times for posting on each individual social media network.
- Facebook: Strive to post at least once a day between 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm.
- Twitter: It’s best to post 15 times per day on Twitter. Try to post at least every one to two hours for maximum effect.
- Instagram: It’s recommended to post one to two times per day on Instagram. It’s optimal to create your first post around 8:00 to 9:00 am. You can create your second post in the afternoon at 2:00 pm.
Social media gives retail stores the perfect opportunity to promote their brand and connect with audiences online. If you haphazardly invest into social media without an incisive plan, you can risk ultimately wasting your time and money.
Now that you understand how you can use social media as a weapon for your retail store, there’s no limit on the amount of success you can achieve both offline and online.