Sunday, July 27, 2014

2 Elements Which Drive Retail Sales Through Social Media

Social media can drive your target audience into your location versus having them just pass you by. There are two elements to driving people into your store; (i) synchronization of online and offline activities and (ii) localized marketing.  

Synchronization of Online & Offline Activities

This new successful sales life cycle starts with your target market engaging with your posts when they are relaxing on Facebook. You are hoping that you have written an engaging post with an eye-catching photo of your product.  The outcome you are looking for is that they will stop and engage with it by liking it or commenting on it. Why do you want this? So they will remember it and their Facebook friends will also see your photo posts about your product. This extends your post's reach online from not only those few who Facebook distributes it to, but also to their friends and friends of friends. Essentially creating a ripple effect. 

Next, this same extended Facebook group might hear your local radio ad about that same product they all just saw on Facebook. Further, some might even see a Tweet from a local influencer they already follow and trust. An influencer is a local person or local group like a Downtown Business Improvement Area or Tourism Group.

Two things are happening here. First, your online efforts are amplified by online engagement. Second your in-store traditional marketing and your online posts all are in sync. The outcome drives sales and traffic to your store. 

 You are now TOP of mind. When your target market is in your area, they know about your current sales, and they are more likely to stop in. You are building a richer multi-dimensional relationship.

July 2014 Steve Ladurantaye of Twitter Canada stated that the trends they are currently seeing include people follow retailers for the following reasons:
·         68% to find out about discounts
·         55% to find out about upcoming deals
·         45% follow to show support

Knowing this, if your target market is on Twitter, it should be a criminal offence NOT to have your Twitter handle front and center on your store's doors and other printed materials so passers-by might see it and follow you. For @SosSaveOurSoles, their sign might state something like “We tweet @SOSSaveOurSoles about how we Save Your Soles and our in store DEALS!” 

Although they might be following you to find out about deals, remember to engage first, and sell second. Coming across with only hard core “buy buy buy” tweets or posts is tacky and you will notice followers will drop off. 

Localized marketing

Localized marketing is obviously very important to retail brick and mortar stores. We hear about localized marketing in the context of paid local ads on Google, Twitter, and Facebook.  Those ads are effective, inexpensive, and critical to getting to your target audience when they are online. If you have advertising dollars, you should allocate a portion of those dollars to these new types of online vehicles. You will find them less expensive then the other advertising methods, but just as critical and they all work hand in hand with each other. On all three platforms targets based on local parameters exist. Not only can you promote an online account, website, or location, you can also promote a Facebook Post. For example, say you have an event happening at your location in a specific city on a specific date, you can create an event or just a Post about it and Promote the event, or Boost the Post. If you do not Boost the post, only a maximum of 10% of those who follow you might see the post, and only if they happen to logon within a couple hours of that post or tweet. However, with Boosting the Post, Facebook releases your post to their newsfeed when they log onto Facebook. Not only can you target those who Like your Page you can also target their Friends or set your target audience to people who don't like your page yet, ie women who are 45 to 65 living within 10 miles of a list of cities you choose; each time one of them signs onto Facebook, regardless if they Like your page or not, they will see that event or post. 

Localized marketing need to also include finding organic partners to distribute your online messages. We call these people Influencers. You need to identify and understand the local Influencers on your social media platforms of choice. Once identified and understood, you can decide if there is anyway that you can entice them to share, retweet, or repin your material to their local followers. This trusted local Influencer is someone you might mention in your tweet because you believed they might be interested in retweeting your current deal. In the example above, @Ptbo_Canada is a local Influencer with over 11,000 followers. They like to support local activities and businesses. So, if you're right, they will retweet your tweet about the deals or event your tweeting about. The reason you chose them as an Influencer is based on the fact that their followers happen to be your target audience.  

 Check out your local Media or Business Improvement Area or Tourism Associations and see who they mention to get organic exposure, ie who their local Influencers are. Then see if you happen to already have a relationship with them and what kind of material they like to retweet or share. If you believe you can produce posts or tweets which would help promote you both, then start mentioning them as appropriate or give them an old fashioned phone call to talk about how you can help each other.  Many online Media groups, like @Ptbo_Canada here now sell advertising services to local retails. You might approach yours and see about establishing a new online media relationship for your company. 

Done properly, your Influencers will be sharing or retweeting your posts or tweets to their followers who are also your target audience and who have happened to have just heard about your deals on the radio and saw the visual products on Facebook. 

Aww… such a beautiful synchronous world.

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