As a long time wholesaler, content creator and an owner of a retail-based business, I’ve had a growing relationship with many shopkeepers and small business owners over the last 13 years. In making my rounds of many of these shops, what’s really stood out the most is the relationship between shopkeepers/small business owners and using social media. I’ve recently been business consulting for small retail business and teaching workshops about how to use social media to leverage your small, creative business. This post has a few of the highlights we covered in the workshop.
Many brick and mortar shops just weren’t doing it,and some just don’t like it. This actually applies for on-line shops as well. I truly believe this stems from just not understanding why they should use it and how to use it. It’s not that they didn’t think they needed it, but running a shop is so labor intensive on it’s own, they just weren’t sure how it fit in and do just one more thing.The thing is, gone are the days when the majority of your business was from either customers strolling by or from placing an ad in a newspaper or magazine.
Your shop or retail store needs social media for small business. It’s free, easy top use, and reached people where they are the most, on their phones.
Today many shoppers will find a small shop via social media.Think of it as the new “word of mouth” and word of mouth has power. People are willing to travel from something they really like, and people are willing to follow a link to see more. Customers want that personal connection,even if it’s via the internet. They want to feel like they know your shop before they even walk in the door.
Most of the major big box retailers use it with great success. Think Pottery Barn,Target,Ballard’s. All on social media tweeting in IG’ing their hearts out. And customers love it.
So as a small business owner, what do you concentrate on? Unfortunately Facebook is going to the wayside for businesses, They reduced their reach to less that 7% and some say soon 1% unless you pay. Which is why it’s still good to grow your personal page, but if you post too many shop things on it with out personal stuff Facebook can shut you down.
The fastest growing social media site for shops is Instagram. The best part is you can hook those up to your Facebook page and other social media accounts like twitter so you can get them all in one fell swoop. However, it depends on where your audience/customers are. There are so many sites, it’s hard to determine which ones to use, and new ones are popping up all of the time!
So where do you concentrate? This is an order of importance for reaching your demographic. I have done no research on this, this is just what I have found to be some what accurate.
Under age 35 : Instagram,Twitter, Pinterest, Tik Tok
Age 35-55: Instagram,Pinterest,Blog,Facebook,e-mail list, Tik Tok
To reach local customers :Facebook, Instagram,e-mail list
To reach bloggers and brands: Pinterest,Twitter,Linked in, Instagram, blog, Facebook,
These are just a few,there are many others,but this is a good start with limited time. If you have some other suggestions about what works for you, please share it with us in the comments!!
The trick to using those is to make sure you have the SAME NAME for all of your accounts.
For instance my Facebook, Instagram,twitter and blog are all Jennifer Rizzo Design Company. That way when some one googles me, it all comes up at once.
If your shop is the red boutique, and Facebook is Mary’s red boutique and instagram is redboutiqueonmain those are all read as different businesses.
Use hashtags, but no more than 5 at a time.
if your shop sells vintage goods in the town of Johnsonville. you want your hashtag to fit what some one will search for so you come up in those searches.
i.e. #vintageforsaleinjohnsonville #vintageshopjohnsonville #vintagedecor #shopsinjohnsonville#handpaintedtables or if I hashtag for my business
#handmadegoods #creativelychristmas #handmadehomedecor #homedecorblog
You can vary them in different posts, but it’s important to also hashtag your own name once in a while so that comes up in searches too.
Instagram is for visual people. Make sure your pictures are pretty,light bright and interesting.
Unless it’s a personal account none of your customers want to see 8 pictures of your dogs.
2-3 pictures a day is fine.Any more after that you fill up peoples feeds. You want to be around just enough to remind them you are there.
Take pictures of new merchandise, of vignettes in the store, of pretty things. Share your daily goings on with your customers and up and coming events.
Share other shops on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest
and #regram pretty pictures from other instagram posters, just make sure to tag or link back to them. You share them, they share you.
Make sure your shop information is up and front.
One shop I follow that is a good example of this is Mindy Mae’s Market. I think they use Instagram like the brilliant tool it is. I recommend checking them out.
Make sure either your shop link website is right on your Instagram page or if you don’t have a blog or website (you should!!!) your address and shop phone.
Link your accounts
Now, you can link all of your accounts. So for instance, when I do an Instagram post, I automatically have it sent to my Facebook and Twitter account. Three birds with one stone!
Social media is an amazing tool that can help grow your business and gain customers. If you feel it’s too much, assign and employee to handle your social media, or find a virtual assistant. You actually aren’t too busy for it, it’s actually very important for your business,and takes less than 3 minutes, and can help you grow in ways you never could have imagined.
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