Social

6 Ways Small Retailers Can Use Social Media

Small retailers might feel intimidated at the prospect of social media, whether it’s mastering the plethora of social platforms available or dedicating the time, money, and resources to maintaining a social media presence. While developing a social media strategy does require you to make an investment, it isn’t as all-consuming as you might think.

Here are some ways small retail brands can use social media to share and connect with their customers:

Share employee recommendations
Let your employees help curate your products. Your customers are always looking for recommendations on what to purchase, and having your employees share their top picks -- whether you’re a coffee shop, clothing boutique, or pet supply store -- will give your customers some great suggestions and help them feel more connected to the people side of your brand.

Tell your customers what’s new in store
While you most likely have your loyal customers who make a point to stop in on a regular basis, there are other customers who might not be as diligent. By posting when you get in a new line of merchandise or switch up your lunchtime specials, you will catch the interest of customers who would have missed it otherwise.

Promote upcoming events
Do you have an upcoming charity night or in-store class to promote? Social media is the perfect way to get the word out about your event. My local lululemon offers free fitness classes most weeks, and they do a great job of posting about upcoming classes on their Facebook page to create awareness with their customers.

Offer exclusive deals and offers
Reward your social media community with exclusive deals and offers. Your fans and followers will feel appreciated as loyal customers, and if they choose to share with their own networks, you might get some additional customers as a result. Mabel’s Labels decided to celebrate a big social media milestone with a special deal for their Facebook fans.

Provide customer service
Social media is another channel for your customers to reach out to you. Pay attention to direct mentions on Twitter and comments on your Facebook page and other social media profiles for opportunities to assist your customers with questions and concerns and respond to feedback. Being helpful and responsive will leave your customers with a positive impression and help build trust in your business.

Monitor brand mentions
In addition to direct mentions, search for general mentions of your business to see what people are saying about you online. Listening to the broader conversation will help you find out who your advocates are and identify opportunities to turn a dissatisfied customer around. If you don’t have the budget for a monitoring platform like Radian6, you can search for brand mentions using free tools like Google Alerts and Twitter Search.

For small retailers, what are some challenges you’ve encountered when it comes to your social media strategy? What have been some of your successes?

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