Social media – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and others – can be powerful and free or low cost tools for small business retailers like newsagents to reach your existing customers and to reach out to a wider audience.
Success with social media, however, depends on how the various platforms are used. Importantly, it comes down to how you pitch your voice.
It is important to not look at social media as a means for advertising – unless you are running a paid ad. No, it ought to be viewed more as you having a conversation, actively engaging with your customers. By conversation, I mean two way with you getting as much out of the interaction as your customers.
For example, let’s say you want to promote a magazine. One way would be to put up a photo of the magazine and say come and buy it while stocks last. An alternative approach would be to comment on an article on a topic that you know will have broad interest with your community and invite your others to share their thoughts. This engages your customers in a conversation, it better connects them with your business.
Another example could be you sharing a story about a customer who came in looking for the perfect pen be used with a condolence book at a funeral. Share how it made you feel serving the customer. Take people beyond the transaction and into you as a person. This type of personal story can help you love your business more and help you better with the community in which you serve.
In another example let’s say you have just got a new range of jewellery in-store. You could publish photos of some of the jewellery pieces and say that the team in the business can’t decide which they like best. Ask a question: what do you think? This, too, brings your customers into a conversation. The more you can do this the better – as long as the conversation is authentic.
If you look around at what smart corporate businesses are doing on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram you will see them doing this – engaging in conversations with their customers. It works.