Social Media Tips for Local Retailers

What is the primary goal of a local retailer?  Getting people into the store.

That’s what I’ve learned while doing my research for my keynote presentation next week to about 750 retailers.

If you are an online business you want to drive traffic to your website because that’s your place of business.  If you are a traditional retailer, you still want that web traffic – but your end game is using it to get face to face with prospects and customers in your store. You can use physical and effort style techniques with the help of

Here are a few ideas I have come up with thus far for accomplishing this.

#1 – Use Video to Share the In-Store Experience

Human beings always appreciate a personal touch.  This is more true than ever now that digital shopping is so common.

How many times have you heard (or made) this comment as a result of a frustrating telephone experience?  I just want to talk to a live representative!

Consumers expect and deserve personal service.  Better than a phone call is an in-store, face-to-face experience, where they can also see, touch, and actually try out the merchandise.

Car dealers know how important this is.  They know how that “new car smell” can serve to bring a prospect closer to buying.  Could this be accomplished with video?  Sure.

The beauty of video is that it brings all of your senses alive through action.  If Hollywood can do it – so can you.

Use video to show your prospects what that in-store experience is all about. Interview your customers.  Spotlight the personality of the store manager.

And most importantly, give valid reasons for visiting your store.

Creating this particular video is a powerful exercise that helps the entire sales team to get clear about the business and why their ideal customers should choose your business versus another.  It also gives new prospects a reason and reminds longtime customers why they need to stop by the store to see what’s new.

Where should you place these videos? After hosting it on YouTube, embed onto the Welcome tab of your Facebook page, your website, and link to it from your place pages (discussed below).

Also, to make these videos easily accessible and shareable, consider using QR codes to link to them from your print materials.

#2 – Complete Your Business Place Pages

Several retailers have told me their customers do not use social media.  I don’t doubt that for a minute.  Based upon my work with mainstream small businesses, I would estimate only about 20% of them are using social media themselves.

Even if that’s true, location-based services such as Google Places, Google Maps, Facebook Places, and Foursquare still serve a very important purpose – placing your retail business high in the search results.

It doesn’t cost anything to set up these place page profiles.  Isn’t it worth it if it increases your in-store visits by even percentage points?

Furthermore, Google has made the process of using Google Adwords even easier for local businesses to compete against national chains.  However, to take advantage of that you have to set up the framework.

#3 – Think Like a Community Manager

Marketing today emerges from the community – not the organization.  This is why emerging technology companies often create a position known as the community manager.  For small retail businesses, this is the acting store manager – which may in fact be the owner.

What is the role of the community manager? The community manager makes sure every interaction with the store, regardless of whom it involves, is a favorable experience.

The community manager is much like the concierge of a hotel.  They take care of the the little things that make a difference.  This allows the sales staff to stay focused on the in-store experience.

What are some of these little things?

  • Planning and hosting customer appreciation events.
  • Managing traditional and social media communications.
  • Responding to inquiries from the community – such as supporting non-profits and fund-raisers.

Having worked with retailers, I know they get bombarded with requests for donations to community non-profits and events.

You cannot support everyone, but how and when you do – and how you say no, can all work to enhance the reputation of the retailer when handled well. This is best accomplished by a skilled manager who also understands these implications.

#4 – Conduct Free Educational Seminars

You may be thinking that you don’t have time to create educational seminars.

Have you considered that one of your suppliers with more resources will jump at the chance to be center stage. You can still equally represent all of the brands your store represents, but the one hosting the event (paying for food, drink, and giveaways) obviously has an edge.

Will people show?  This is one of the secrets that has made Apple the largest company in the world.

People are challenged with technology, so they gladly show up at free events to learn how to take advantage of the full functionality of Apple’s products – in the store.

And you know what occasionally happens after that?  Because they have earned more of your trust, you buy more products and sign-up for more services.

Need more ideas?

Some of the retailers I’ll be speaking to sell Tempurpedic’s products – mattresses and pillows. Virtually every chiropractor I know recommends these products. Have Tempurpedic and your local chiropractor co-sponsor an event, with the chiropractor giving tips for a healthier and pain-free lifestyle.

Everybody wins, especially your customers and prospects that suffer from back pain that prevents them from enjoying a good night’s sleep.

Swing by next week and I’ll try to share more social media and Internet marketing tips for local businesses.

Until then, leave a comment below or share this with your social community by liking it on Facebook, or sharing with any of the share buttons below – or on the little red bar at the bottom of this page.  

Have a great weekend,  Jeff

Photo Credit: reallyboring
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  1. Fantastic article thanks Jeff. I love your first point – the instore experience through video is a highly powerful strategy, as it really engages more of our senses than just text posts. And you can’t go past the free educational seminars…thanks Apple 🙂

    • Jeff Korhan says:

      Thanks Nicole – I’m as guilt as the the next marketer for not creating more videos. But when I do, I’m glad I did because they sure do generate more activity – and results. 🙂

  2. Great article, Jeff. I think many businesses get it wrong by using social media to only talk about themselves. Talk about your customers and give solutions to their problems like you say and yeah, go figure, all of the sudden this social media thing makes sense!

    • Jeff Korhan says:

      Great point Brad – “talk about your customers.”

      It doesn’t get much simpler than that!

  3. Another important tip is having them look to their past experience and knowledge to create content.

    That’s the number one thing I usually come up against when consulting folks. They feel they don’t have enough content or anything to share with their audience.

    • Jeff Korhan says:

      Agreed Matt. Once small business folks put really put their minds to it they discover they have far more to share than they realize.

      The trick is to just getting started. Once it becomes a habit it gets easier – kinda like connecting the dots.

  4. John Rodriguez says:

    Great article Jeff this exactly what I tell my local clients. Glad to see fellow marketers doing the right thing. Keep the great post coming.


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