Author: Taylor Walston
When businesses started moving more of their sales online in 2020, social media became more important than ever. Generating sales meant reaching customers online, and it’s likely that many retailers found themselves posting more than usual. The tips below will help you continue that momentum in 2021.
Post about your customers accomplishments and other major life events. Photo credit: Shooters Archery
Focus on Your Customers
Retailers should keep their customers at the forefront of every post. Scott Einsmann, ATA’s digital manager, points to Shooters Archery as a good example. “Their posts are simple but effective,” Einsmann said. “Their posts receive a lot of engagement from regular customers, and they’ve done a great job at building a community that supports them.” Part of the reason their social media approach is so effective is that they let their customers drive their content.
“If you take a look at their Facebook page, you’ll see they post about their customers often,” Einsmann said. “If a customer does well at a tournament or has a major life event, like the young lady that got an archery scholarship, they share it. A customer lost their house in a fire, and the shop posted about it and held a benefit archery tournament. Things like that are so important for a retailer because it builds a community.” You want your customers to know that you value and care about them. Showing them that you’re paying attention is one of the greatest gifts a business can give its customers.
Concentrate on the Essentials
Before you dive into a social strategy, make sure your pages have the basic ingredients for success. “A retailer should focus on doing the basics of social media really well, like posting quality photos, having their website in their Instagram bio, posting at least once a week and keeping up to date with algorithm changes,” Einsmann said. Currently, Instagram prioritizes engagement in the following order: saves, shares, comments and likes. But Instagram’s algorithm changes frequently, so retailers need to be prepared to shift tactics as needed.
“If they have the time and ability to do so, then I would suggest they focus on making short archery tip videos or ones that highlight a service they offer,” Einsmann said. The main goal is to get your customers and followers invested in your content. If they are, they will be more likely to engage with it, and engagement is key to social media success.
Focus on What’s Important to the Platform
Michelle Scheuermann, principal at BulletProof Communications LLC and editor at the Archery Wire, notes that if you want your posts to reach as many people as possible, you should focus on creating the types of posts that are important to that particular platform. “How do you know what a platform is focused on?” Scheuermann said. “Open Instagram. I’ll wait. Go to your search bar. What is the first type of post that populates? An Instagram Reel. … Now scroll down in your searches. Notice how the static-image posts take up one little square, but IGTV and Reels take up larger squares? Again, front and center. So, what’s important to Instagram? Video. Specifically — Reels.” So, to reach the most people on Instagram, focus on Instagram Reels.
Facebook prioritizes time spent on a page over the type of post you’re creating. “Facebook wants its users to do everything inside their app – shop, scroll, read, watch. All of it,” Scheuermann said. “If you have a link to an outside website in a Facebook post, it won’t get as many eyeballs. You want a double whammy against you? Post a YouTube video link inside a Facebook post. Not only are you now asking people to leave Facebook, you are asking them to leave to watch something on Facebook’s largest competitor.”
While Facebook doesn’t directly prioritize one different type of post over another, it does offer a free boost in reach for videos longer than three minutes. Posting once a day, seven days a week, seems to be the sweet spot for Facebook’s reach potential. Having multiple posts in one day lowers the reach of each post. Although Facebook and Instagram each prioritize different post types, they both prioritize engagement.
The amount of interaction a customer has with your page directly correlates with how often you appear in their feeds. “Engagement drives everything on social,” Einsmann said. “Retailers need people to comment on, save and share their posts for them to reach a larger audience. If people engage with your content, your posts receive a greater reach.” Customers that engage with your posts will begin to see your page’s posts in their feed more often. Each engagement increases your posts’ overall reach, so they will appear in other customers’ feeds more often, as well. Retailers should tag their shop’s location in every post. Don’t force the customer to leave a social media site to find your address with a search engine. You want to make it as easy as possible for the customer to find you.
Consistency is also key when it comes to posting on social media. “The most important takeaway that retailers and manufacturers can use to increase their followers is to be consistent,” said Hannah Stonehouse Hudson, certified trainer, public speaker and outdoorswoman. “They need to be consistent in posting, commenting and sharing information of value (not just sales posts!) — as well as be engaging and responding to their fans regularly.” Whatever approach you take, be consistent. A retail shop should respond to all messages and comments within a day. If you don’t have the time to manage your social media on your own, hire someone to keep up with your sites and answer your customers’ questions promptly.
“Being consistent in every way on social media ensures that your followers (no matter the platform or the changes in the algorithm) always go back to interact with the social media account,” Hudson said. “Fans and followers will see your account as one that is interactive, personable and responsive, so they will seek the account out. In addition, though social is definitely a pay-to-play game, social platforms do reward accounts with interactive fan bases with higher-than-average engagement numbers because they know these accounts keep people on their social network.”
If you receive a lot of questions on social media, turn the most frequently asked ones into social media posts. For example, you might often be asked what type of tuning services you offer. You could post a video detailing them.
Creating an effective social media strategy can be daunting, but the ATA is here to help. ATA members can find helpful information on its Resource Website, which has documents to help you improve your social media strategy and connect with your customers, including Event Social Media Tips and Tricks, Event Social Media Promotion Schedule, How to Share a Video on Social Media, and a Social Media Calendar. Combine adherence to the platform’s metrics with your own personal brand voice for an effective social media strategy.
To discuss your social media strategy in more detail, contact Scott Einsmann at (866) 266-2776, ext. 114, or firstname.lastname@example.org.