Social media gives independent retailers a unique marketing opportunity to build relationships with their existing customers and to attract new ones but with so many businesses competing it can be difficult for smaller independent retailers to be heard. These four tips will help you get your independent retail business noticed on social media.
It always makes good sense to keep a watchful eye but when you are a small business it can be very tempting to get distracted by “the competition” both big and small. As an independent, you are unlikely to have the same funds as your much larger competition (either in money or in man hours) so you won’t be able to compete like for like. On Facebook make sure you add your main competitors to your Pages to Watch and on Twitter add them into a Private List but don’t obsess over them. Keep an eye on them but instead of obsessing with what they are doing you should concentrate on what makes you different. Ask yourself why your customers should come to you? Whatever makes you unique should be shared on your social media so that your existing and potential customers can see who you are and why they should buy from you. A great example of this are the US husband and wife team who run Letterfolk. Their Instagram account really showcases who they are as a company and what makes them unique.
Small businesses work well together to promote each other so build relationships and get involved with others. Joining, or starting, local business groups on social media will raise your profile. If you have a bricks and mortar presence this is particularly important as it can increase footfall – a referral from a local business can be invaluable to helping your business be seen. Don’t forget that this kind of relationship should be two-way. Look for local businesses on social media and share, retweet and comment on their posts and tweets so that you can start to build a relationship. Look out for national initiatives as well. Events like Small Business Saturday are a great opportunity to promote your independent business online and you can do most of it for free.
Never forget that people like to do business with people. As an independent, you can let your customers know who you are and share your passion for your business. Your social media should showcase your company and products but it should also reveal the talent behind it. If you have staff encourage them to get involved and showcase them as well. When you and your staff are passionate about your products and service it will shine through on social media. Vintage makeup and beauty specialists Lipstick & Curls stand out on social media because they are proud to be different and are passionate about vintage makeup and beauty. They have a great mix of vintage photos, makeup tips, products and real life customers that appeal to their customers.
Time management is important for any small business owner and is particularly the case for social media. Take some time out to plan ahead and to decide a strategy that sets out your goals on social media and helps you to focus on them. Social media should always be current so a certain element will be reactive but there is also plenty that you can schedule or have prepared in advance. As a business you will get the most out of social media when you use it regularly and consistently so planning ahead makes it less likely to be sidelined when you’re busy.
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