Social media is a marketing tool that every retailer should be using. We enjoy discovering new independent retailers online and admire their work and curated posts. We spoke with SHOLDIT, ReCircle Home, The Salvaged Boutique, and The Wax Wing to find out what works for them and to ask for advice they have for fellow independent retailers.
Social media “adds another dimension you would never reach otherwise,” says SHOLDIT. They compare their online experiences to in-person meetings, it “puts [us] in front of all these people and in terms of networking, you can connect with influencers, buyers, and businesses on a different level.”
SHOLDIT has found posts that are “very photographic and bring your buyer into an interesting moment, where they can feel like they’re a part of [your brand]” are the ones that do the best. SHOLDIT uses mostly Facebook and Twitter as a business platform. They see Instagram as an “up and coming next-gen” tool and focus on using Instagram stories to engage with more buyers and businesses and share their brand. SHOLDIT encourages retailers to interact through Instagram stories. They use it to “screenshot someone wearing [their] product, share behind the scenes, tag people and businesses and have a high number of people that will engage back.”
Social media is a time investment. Retailers looking to boost their social media need to make sure it is “maximized and tied in seamlessly with your website, know your demographic and optimize your selling potential.” The last bit of advice SHOLDIT shared with us is to put your best foot, or in this case post, forward—social media is a 24/7 first impression.
Since ReCircle Home opened, “social media has been our main form of marketing.” They primarily use Instagram because “it allows us to have an online portfolio of new products, events, gift ideas, and store shots [that] will inspire our followers.”
ReCircle Home uses social media to interact with and influence their customers. Their followers are “actual customers, actual people who love what we do. It makes my day when someone mentions how a post or story inspired them… that’s how I know it’s working and it’s worth it.”
The biggest key to boosting social media, according to ReCircle Home, is consistency and if you are not using social media yet, “start, now. It can be time-consuming, and you might not always feel like it, but create your own comfortable and consistent routine.”
For The Salvaged Boutique, “we often say social media is our bread and butter.” This retailer began a business from their home and due to the overwhelming response from Facebook and Instagram, opened a store. The Salvaged Boutique has found that Facebook and Instagram are “local-friendly and ideal for small businesses,” whereas Pinterest is best to reach DIY bloggers.
As far as popular posts go, The Salvaged Boutique is sometimes surprised by which perform best, but there are two types of posts that consistently do well. “Pictures of us in the store or at an outdoor market” as well as “sharing before and after posts from customers” are the most popular. “People like to see the faces behind the business, even if it is customers in the shop.”
The Salvaged Boutique also runs a blog called Savvy Shopkeeper that shares advice for fellow retailers. Their most important tips for social media are to “be personal, keep track of what works well, and don’t just post products that are for sale. If there is something special and unique about your business, be sure to convey that.” It is equally important to engage with your customers and always reply to comments, “really try to reply to every single one and at the least, like it.” If you’re looking for more advice from The Salvaged Boutique, make sure to check out their blog.
The Salvaged Boutique
When it comes to using social media for your business, The Waxwing has “never separated the two. The goal of our space has always been to promote the work of the artists within it so social media has been a huge part of what we do from the beginning.” As time and technology have evolved, they’ve “enjoyed being able to engage more with customers.” The Waxwing has people daily “saying they saw a post and it brought them in.”
Instagram posts from The Waxwing will automatically post to Facebook and show up on their website, “so by using one [social media platform], we use them all.” They normally post images of products and merchandising, “shots of shop displays on sunny days always perform best.”
The Waxwing advises other retailers to “make [social media] an integral part of what you do. It’s essentially free advertising and a way to build your brand. Think about the colors in your shop or logo and make sure those are present in your posts.” Also posting pictures of your shop sign and exterior help keep your brand relevant in shoppers’ minds. Your social media should be an extension of your store and portray the “vibe/feeling you want to get across.” Most importantly, “quality over quantity.”