by Jazmyn Lopez
More than ever it’s crucial for independent retailers to have an online presence that can be easily utilized by their target consumer audience. Having a Facebook page or Instagram account simply isn’t enough anymore. Now that you’ve made a place for yourself in the world of social media it’s time cultivate a loyal following and maintain it. Without a watchful audience your social media presence and the resources used to maintain it are a complete waste of time and energy. After making sure your pages have all the necessary information, photography, and content to be considered complete one should concentrate on the “networking” aspect of social networks.
1) Be present. It’s not enough to have an online presence, you must also be present. Staying virtually active is time consuming and tricky, but it’s essential to keep your audience invested in your business. Online services like Hootsuite make it easy to stay on top of your social media accounts by managing them all in one place, synchronizing posts across all channels, and allowing you to schedule posts in advance. In some cases, it might make sense to have one person in your office devoted specifically to grooming your online business personality. If you have a smaller business or feel that a paid social media management service simply isn’t necessary for your brand, keep in mind that it is possible to stay organized and effective on your own. Time is still the most valuable investment to be made in any business. The point is to make sure your page is getting seen by as many eyes as possible.
2) Be relevant. Make sure your landing page is something people will want to visit; viewers should feel as if they’re getting something from following you online. Do not try to sell something in every single post. Offering exclusive deals, contests or freebies is always a good way to gain initial interest, but turning that interest into a following is another battlefield. Who buys your product? Who needs your services? Think about the person that would come into your brick and mortar store: these are the same people you want to find online. Understanding what motivates them will help you sell simply by proving that their needs are reflected back to them. The same mom who shops in your clothing store might love to know about new fashion trends, so share an article about winter boots and post about a scarf she can buy to go with them. This thought process will work for any retailer: find something your customers would love- whether it’s a news article, a new product line, or service in the area – and share it with them.
3) Be aware. Once you’ve got followers, you want to make sure you keep them. There’s a sort of art to posting on social networks where the point is to keep the interest of your audience, but also to balance between entertaining and informing and selling. Consider what sort of posts are appropriate for the particular network you’re using. The types of articles you might share on Facebook wouldn’t always be considered appropriate for an audience on LinkedIn. Always keep the audience in mind. How will they see the information you’re putting in front of them? Will they be seeing it on their phone, or at their desk in the office? It’s okay to switch up the style so long as your brand stays consistent.