If you’re a small business with a modest marketing budget, you’ve likely asked yourself, “is social media right for my business?” Consider for a moment that the purpose of social media is to bring online customers into your store. In which case, your answer is a hands-down, yes! Here are a few simple methods to encourage potential customers to make the worthwhile trip to your store.
Tap into Reviews. Whether you’re aware or not, your customers are talking about you online. This is great news. Not only are their discussions an opportunity for you to display your exceptional customer service skills but they can also serve as testimonials for you to display on your website or social channels.
If you come across a negative review, address it immediately. If you come across a glowing review, ask for permission to display it proudly. At Muses, we love to give shout-outs to our favorite social influencers especially whenever anyone swings by our office. You can do the same for your brick-and-mortar!
Make a shout-out to one of your customers by posting a picture of them and a nice quote on your Instagram. Get creative. As Dimensional Research recently reported, an overwhelming 90 percent of U.S consumers claimed that positive online reviews influence their purchase decision. If you harness the power of positive user experiences online you’ll naturally drive online customers into your store.
Team up with a Neighbor. If your customers are talking about you then they’re also talking about your neighbors. One of the most efficient ways to drive online customers into your store is to team up with another local business, pool your resources, and cross-promote. Find a complementary business to your own and establish a system of mutual recommendations. If you offer a professional service like landscaping, partner with a local hardware store. Think beyond your traditionally shared audience. Heritage Bicycles, for instance partners with local retailers and apartment complexes to feature model bicycles in their display windows.
Muses friend, Goddess and the Grocer excels at this method, often partnering with local vendors to co-host local neighborhood events and fun giveaways. By tagging their partner brand and posting at an off peak hour on Facebook, Goddess and Grocer effectively increases its own reach.
Notice their messaging calls upon their customers to redeem the free ice cream offer in store! Note that a special event is great for a temporary boost in sales before you experience an inevitable drop off. That’s why it’s best to establish an ongoing relationship with your brand advocates who will keep driving customers to your store.
Partner with Influencers to Promote an Event. Which type of customer is more valuable: the one-time customer or the customer who keeps coming back and by doing so, encourages their friends to follow suit? You don’t need twenty-thousand followers on Instagram to attract customers. You follower count is a type of social proof but it doesn’t translate directly into sales. What you do need is to establish a relationship with 5-10 local influencers or bloggers whose followers actively take up their recommendations. Instagram gives brands 25% higher engagement than any other social platform and generates a higher average order value than Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook. Promote an in-store promotional event on your social channels. Offer them a free product or service for them to publicly review on their channels in preparation for the event.
Muses recently helped promote local floral arrangement company, Flower for Dreams by teaming up with local fashion influencers to stage a photo shoot at Anthropologie on Valentine's Day. By cross-promoting with the above parties on Instagram, the floral company gained exposure to the local fashion scene. When your social media followers see their friends on location or with a product online, they’re more likely to visit the business on their own time.
There's so many ways to drive online customers to your store — the key is to get creative, stay connected, and put a little time into worthy marketing campaigns.