Marketing Series, Part 3: Managing Social Media

Build your brand and grow customer relationships through social media.
Photo Credit: Unsplash

Author: Cassie Gasaway

Social-media marketing is a great asset to digital marketing plans. Although email marketing lets you deliver personalized promotions, social media help you build your brand by engaging and communicating with customers personally.

Michele Salerno is Celerant Technology’s marketing director. She said social media help your business stay relevant.

“With social media, you have a constant opportunity to interact in [your customer’s] personal space during their personal time because everyone’s on their phone 24/7,” Salerno said. “Whether they’re in bed, at the bus stop, or waiting in line at the grocery store, people scroll through social media. So, why not communicate with them in their free time and make them think about your brand?”

Salerno said social media reflect a company’s personality, and should resonate with customers. Use these tips to conquer your social-media platforms and grow customer relationships.

Encourage your customers to follow your page. Photo Credit: Unsplash

Build Your Following

Salerno said it’s important to build your social network, aka your following. Why? Because you’ll get higher returns on the investment. If 50 people like your page, you only talk to 50 people with each post. With 1,000 followers, you get 20 times more face time for each post.

The easiest way to grow your following is to ask customers face to face to follow you online.

“If people are already coming into your store, why not leverage that foot traffic and get those customers to connect with you online so you can communicate with them on a regular basis?” Salerno said. “Use your brick-and-mortar conversations and business to promote your social media.”

As customers check out, ask them to like your Facebook page. Also hang in-store signs, and include social links in email footers, and on your website and the back of your receipts. Ask your e-commerce provider, aka your website provider, if they can integrate your site with social media. That lets customers use your website to “like” or comment on your articles. Those interactions integrate with your social sites, which helps customers interact with your brand.

Once you have followers, create a fun, entertaining post schedule.


Create a Schedule

Salerno recommends posting two or three times weekly. To ensure diverse posts, create a monthly schedule. Outline when you post photos, memes, videos, article links, fun holiday notifications or other profit-driving content.

Need a place to start? The ATA’s got you covered. Check out the ATA’s free 12-month social-media calendar, which includes weekly messages ATA members can post on their social platforms. Each post encourages people to comment online or visit your store or website.

Log into your MyATA member dashboard and click “Download Free ATA Resources” to access the ATA’s resource website. Then click “Retail Resources” from the drop-down menu to download the social-media calendar.

In Part 2 of this series, we suggested ATA members conduct AB Testing on their email marketing efforts to see which send date, send time, subject line, or message content their audience prefers. You can do similar tests with social media to ensure you’re posting relevant content your followers enjoy. View the metrics at the month’s end to determine which posts were well-received. Then schedule related or similar posts.

Keep the posts short and sweet or feature videos and personal images showing your staff. Photo Credit: Unsplash

Post the Goods

Try to make every post fun, interesting, motivating or educational for customers. Creative posts make customers stop scrolling and engage with your brand by liking, sharing or commenting.

“People don’t want to read a book on social media,” Salerno said. “Limit your copy to a few sentences and write them in a conversational tone. Whatever you do, make it fun.”

She suggests posting funny memes, short videos, interesting articles and eye-catching photos to draw people in. Be creative.

Post about events, classes, holidays, new products and employee birthdays. Create teasers to generate interest, and make the official announcement a few days later. Take photos in your shop and ask customers if you can tag them online. They might share your post, which introduces your business to their inner circles. Videos and short descriptions work well on social media, and can push customers to your store or website. Learn how to film a commercial for your business.

Most social-media efforts are free, but consider adding a paid-marketing component to your strategy. Paid promotions let you personalize your content and target audience. Create segments based on location, demographics or product interest.

“If you create a segment based on location or demographics, Facebook will find people who match your search criteria,” Salerno said. “So maybe there’s someone in your area who likes hunting and has posted about it before. Through paid Facebook advertisements, they’ll see your ad campaign, and might come visit your store.”

Salerno said paid campaigns are usually inexpensive as long as you don’t “set it and forget it.” Limit the number of times your ad gets displayed, and track your results to ensure the ad creates conversions.


Communicate Both Ways

If your followers like, share and comment on your posts and business page, you must respond by commenting, liking their comments, or sharing their posts about your business.

“It’s a really good practice for the retailer or business to engage two ways,” Salerno said. “Don’t just post things and call it a day. Social media is all about engaging with your audience and having conversations with them. You must respond and reciprocate because if you become involved with your audience, your audience will interact that much more with you.”

Say, “Thanks for your business,” “We appreciate your support,” or “We look forward to seeing you again.” What’s even better? Make your comments and responses personal. Show you genuinely care about your customers’ experiences regarding your service and products. Read the ATA article “Why (and How) You Should Respond to Customer Reviews” for guidance.

Make sure your profile is complete and represents you. Photo Credit: Unsplash

Don’t Neglect Your Profile

Although it’s important to spend time on your posts, make sure your profile page is completely filled out. Give customers who click through to your page enough information to learn about your business.

Write a short, detailed description under the “About Me” section. Include your business’s contact information, physical address and website URL. Your profile picture should display your logo, and your cover photo or banner image should be relevant to your business, such as a staff photo by your storefront.


Final Thoughts

A social strategy is about building your brand and engaging your audience. Once your profile is complete and you’ve scheduled posts, your social-media work shouldn’t take long. However, Salerno suggests spending 15 to 20 minutes daily on social outlets to interact with customers.

Learn how to embrace social media in these ATA articles: “Improve Your Social Game in 4 Steps” and “6 Social Media Tips for Retailers.”

Work with a MyATA service provider to fine-tune your social strategies. Click here to log into your MyATA member dashboard and click “Download Free ATA Resources” to access the ATA’s Resource Website. Then, click “MyATA Service Providers” from the drop-down menu to explore your options.

In Part 4 of this marketing series, we’ll explore how to strengthen your online initiatives with strategies like pay-per-click ads and search-engine optimization techniques. Click here to read Part 4.

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