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6 Considerations for Social Media in Retail

Many local retail business owners we meet or talk to, have little to no idea what they should be doing on social media to promote their business. Here are some tips for beginners that will help local retail businesses get started down the right path. Keep in mind this is a very basic starting point.

Considerations

  1. Who should have access to update your social accounts?
  2. What kind of posts will your audience engage with?
  3. Where should you be posting updates to?
  4. When is the best time to be sharing on social media?
  5. Why should you be using social media marketing?
  6.  How can you be the most productive with your time?

Who should have access to update your social accounts?

  • Your social accounts should set up by the owners or management
  • If you require staff members to make updates, they should have lower levels of access so that a disgruntled employee can't hijack the company accounts
  • Consider hiring an online marketing company. You are likely very knowledgeable about your own industry, but an experienced marketer will likely do a more effective job at social media marketing. 

What kind of posts will your audience engage with?

  • Testing is important. When you are getting started, try posting many different types of material to see what your audience engages with, and over time you can tailor your content to the preference of your audience.
  • Rich media like images, slideshows and videos typically will be more engaging than just text.
  • Do not try to sell on social media. It should be used as the opposite of the high pressure cold call. Social media is not a magic formula to increase sales overnight, but rather a long term strategy to stay in the forefront of peoples minds until they decide they need a product or service you offer.
  • Use hashtags by placing the number sign before a word, like #socialmedia. This reaches people who follow that topic, even if they don't follow you. Hashtags work on all major social networks. Free tools like http://hashtracking.com measure the popularity of hashtags on Twitter, so that you can find out which tags will gain the most exposure for you.

Where should you be posting updates to?

  • Your website is the foundation of your online marketing. Post articles to your blog first and share them to social media linking back to your website.
  • We see many businesses doing very well on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and many more.
  • Our experience has been, the more places a post is shared from your website, the more people end up reading it.
  • If you do not have time to do a good job on many networks, consider hiring a professional or limiting the social networks you post to. It is better to do a good job of one or two social media accounts, than a mediocre job on half a dozen.

When is the best time to be sharing on social media?

  • If you are a local business, consider when people in your local time zone are most likely checking social updates, such as before and after work, and during lunch breaks.
  • Testing posts at different times of day will help you narrow down when your audience is most actively looking at your social updates.

Why should you be using social media marketing?

  • Social media enhances the customer experience by giving them the opportunity to interact with you on their terms.
  • Although search engine optimization puts you in front of people who are actively looking for your products and services, social media keeps you in the forefront of their mind even when they are not looking for your products and services. This helps them to remember your company when they have a situation where they do require your products or services.
  • You can begin to reach markets beyond your local area. 

How can you be the most productive with your time?

  • Social media is most effective when used regularly.
  • If you are not able or willing to invest the time into social media, consider hiring a professional or using social media productivity software.
  • Check out the Hootsuite social media dashboard, free for up to 5 social accounts, and allows scheduling of posts.
  • Check out SocialOomph, another social media productivity software.
  • Check out the Buffer app.

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