Category: Marketing News for Retailers

A Quick Q&A on Facebook for Retailers

Irene talks tips on Facebook for retailers

I wrote about Facebook marketing in my monthly column for Floor Trends Magazine. Based on follow up questions I received, this is a hot topic for retailers! I’m consolidating my answers here to easily share with those who reached out to me for more insight.

1. Should we spend money to advertise our retail location on Facebook?

The short answer is yes. If you’re going to invest time and effort into Facebook for your retail business, you should set aside some dollars for promotion, as well. The days of simply posting and sharing to reach your audience are long gone; Facebook is a fully developed paid advertising platform. Many businesses see better benefits from Facebook when they employ a paid strategy.

2. We serve a very defined local area. Does that work against us if advertising on Facebook?

Lucky you! Targeting a clearly defined local area works to your advantage in any advertising effort, be it on Facebook and beyond. With geographic pinpointing, you turn the vast ocean of Facebook into a stocked pond; it’s much easier to catch new customers this way.

3. How can we use Facebook Live and video more effectively for our retail business?

A good rule of thumb for determining what kind of Facebook content to create is to note what the platform is currently promoting. Right now, video content is the focus, so you’re spot on! Remember that customers need to know, like, and trust in order to bring business your way, so film people more often that places and product. Have a smiling associate answer a question on camera. Film the manager introducing a new line. Invite a happy customer to offer a video review. Take measures to get good lighting and audio so your videos are pleasant to watch and easy to hear. Keep the clips very short and sweet.

4. What kind of results can we expect from Facebook marketing?

To quote the fine print on every infomercial you’ve ever seen, “results will vary.” There’s no way to predict the outcome of a paid Facebook campaign. However, you can control your strategy and tactics and include tools to track performance. Your paid promotions will work best when you target the right audiences (Facebook has good tools to help) with a clear call to action that aligns with a specific sales goal or desired response. As with most things in life, you’ll likely get out what you put in—so strive to do it right.

5. Personally, I don’t like Facebook and never use it for myself. Is it a must for my business?

I think it’s a misfire for a retail business to ignore Facebook entirely. Sure, I get that Facebook may not be your thing. However, nearly a couple billion people on the planet use it frequently—and your customers are in that mix. It’d be a shame to miss opportunities—or be conspicuously absent—simply because of your opinion of the platform. Also, bear in mind that use of Facebook for business does not obligate you to engage on a personal level.

Of course, there’s so much more that I could share about each and every answer above. Facebook is ever-evolving and increasingly important for any of us who are in the business of selling stuff or services. Continue to follow me for ongoing insights and ideas for giving your brand a voice in the digital-social-mobile marketplace!

Thanks for reading! Connect with me anytime here on LinkedIn.

How Can Retailers Connect with Digital – Social – Mobile Shoppers?

How Can Retailers Use Social Marketing for Their Businesses by Irene Williams

I recently spoke to merchants from a large marketplace located just outside of Nashville, Tennessee about trends in digital, social, and mobile marketing for brick-and-mortar retailers. The attendees represented a full range of storefront scenarios: a locally-owned boutique, a franchised eatery, a local outpost of a popular, national clothing chain, a national beauty services provider’s local location, etc.

Each retailer has a unique set of circumstances. Several represent national brands that don’t allow individual locations to maintain their own social media accounts. Another attendee had just launched an Instagram account for his store, as the national brand for which he works had recently empowered locations to create regional social media presence. The local boutique owner has social media accounts but is challenged to find time to nurture them for best results. The management of the shopping center also strives to make digital, social, and mobile marketing work for the overall property.

Here are three key take-aways I shared with the group.

Instagram is HOT: Retailers can have solid success focusing social media efforts on Instagram. This born-for-mobile, highly visual platform is ideal for retailers to show merchandise, engage with customers, run promotions, and even track trends and gather market intelligence through observation.

Of course, use of Instagram is not at the exclusion of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, et al. Ideally, retailers should maintain presence wherever their customers are gathering to connect and share. Nonetheless, Instagram’s mobile-friendly, quick-use format makes it a nimble go-to for time-strapped shopkeepers who may not share otherwise.

Email Marketing (Still) Works: Despite how mobile and social we’ve become, we still defer to email as a core means of communications. Between smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers, we have constant access to our inboxes. For retailers, getting consumers to opt in for ongoing messages is a significant victory and great way to purvey loyalty programs that keep folks coming back.

Email marketing can be relatively easy to manage with solutions such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, Emma, MadMimi, iContact, etc. These solutions allow the creation of branded messages, automatically scrub email lists, and even accommodate A/B testing to find the best email layouts for sparking engagement.

Fashion Bloggers Have Influence: In gathering current stats about what drives purchases in the fashion world, I was genuinely surprised to learn “trend-setting women who are influenced by social media” stated that fashion blogs were the most influential in guiding them to make purchases across casual, fitness, and special occasion clothing segments.

What can retailers do with this information? They can create a blogger media list, engage with these bloggers through social media, and send them photos and information when launching new products that are truly newsworthy. Of course there are nuances to creating effective relationships with bloggers (follow this blog to gain knowledge on this topic).

These are just three points among many from the presentation I gave to the retailer group. Click here to download my notes, including my source list that you can reference for deeper details and ideas.

Download Presentation for Retailers Notes

Thanks for reading!

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