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Brick and mortar businesses are here to stay and are going strong despite the many large corporate retail businesses suffering due to their inability to innovate their product lines and brand strategies. What we have found is that many small business owners can learn from these mistakes and begin to make changes that will set them apart from an online business owner. There is no reason for brick and mortar store owners to be intimidated by the e-commerce giants.
Social media is an important part of growing your business in today’s world. All local small businesses should be just as concerned as an e-commerce business. Social media can influence sales both online and in the store. There is no end to the new opportunities that a carefully managed social media strategy can bring. With this in mind, any small business owner, who has yet to try out the power for social media needs to start working on creating a stronger online presence.
Brick & Mortar Businesses and Social Media
Social media remains the easiest and most cost-effective way for brick and mortar businesses to engage with digitally empowered customers inside and outside of the storefront. 72% of millennial shoppers will research your business via your online presence, whether it’s through your website or social media profiles before they step foot in a store.
It doesn’t matter if you are a small business owner, franchise owner or a manager for a retail chain, social media has the potential to drive the bottom line at your brick and mortar location. Many of your customers are writing reviews of their experience, quality of your products and friendliness of your staff; then they are sharing it on their social network. Consider this, word of mouth advertising on a much larger scale, through multiple platforms in front of a few hundred of their friends and that is just from one person.
How Social Media Can Help Your Brick & Mortar Business
When done correctly, social media can take you from being an average storefront to a successful business that is well known in your surrounding areas as well as possible out of state. If you are a product based business, then being online will allow for more purchases of products from customers who are potentially located around the globe. Convenience is of utmost importance for customers who are on the go.
Social media has the ability to achieve many goals including these:
- It will increase your customer growth at your store’s location
- It’s a great way to encourage in-store purchases
- You will be able to monitor your business’s reputation and things you can work on as an owner
- It will allow you to maintain strong relationships with repeat customers
- Insights into the customer experience
Focusing on In-Store Customers
The in-store customer experience is one of the biggest wins a brick mortar business owner has over an e-commerce business owner. You cannot, even with all of the innovations we see in social media, replace that one on one interaction with a buyer. According to an eMarketer survey, 96% of shoppers – worldwide – still prefer to consult with an in-store employee before making major decisions.
While they may be “window shopping,” online before finalizing their purchases, many complete the process offline and not online. By marrying both online marketing tactics with offline marketing initiatives, brick and mortar businesses can enjoy the best of both worlds. Items like e-receipts, online/in-store loyalty programs, and check-in promotions all create a sense of unity between digital marketing and traditional marketing efforts.
In-store Social Media Signage
Social media signage has come such a long way in the last few years. There are so many new ways in which brick and mortar small business owners can incorporate social media into their store. Below, we have outlined some of these for you and hope that they serve as a reminder that you too can create a fun social media presence at your store! If you notice by the four points below, we really like video and we love Instagram!
1 | Facebook/Instagram Check-in’s
- Incentivize Facebook or Instagram check-ins.
- Why not create a “selfie” wall? This works amazingly well for platforms like Instagram.
- Advertise that any person who walks into your store and checks-in on Facebook will receive a discount.
2 | Instagram Geo-Tagging
- Get your staff to engage and share specials, sales, or events
- Have your staff members and customers turn on their location service and set a geo-tag before they take a picture.
- This works wonderfully for platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and even Facebook Stories now.
3 | Live or YouTube Video Shorts
- A fun and entertaining way to get your customers involved. Ask them to create a 30-second video to talk about a particular product or a service they received.
- The biggest advantage of doing this is that YouTube is a Google company, which means that after a few tagged videos, your search rankings will climb tremendously.
- Encourage live video when possible. This is particularly important when you are launching a new product line, are hosting a major sales event, or when you simply want to increase brand awareness.
4 | Instagram Hashtags
- Create a custom hashtag for your business and use it everywhere!
- Our hashtag is #thesoverveway, it is unique to our business which makes it easier to search for on social media
- Platforms like Instagram and Twitter utilize hashtags as a way to connect content with the desired audience base.
Managing Your Online Reviews
Reviews have a huge impact on your revenue. It is vital to monitor how your brick and mortar business is perceived online and take action quickly to improve your ratings. Even the best social media engagement can be undermined by a single weak point like a negative comment. Did you know that 4 out of 5 customers have reversed their purchase decision based on reading a negative review? Yes! That is how important online reviews are to the success of a brick and mortar business.
Our recommendation is to respond to all negative reviews with empathy, this shows how much you care about your business and your customers. Listen to what your customers have to say. People write with emotion and are passionate about their needs, as are you when you seek a service-based business or looking for knowledgeable staff. Avoid sending a generic response. Respond with care and be compassionate to their needs. Some customers who see they have received a response or solution, tend to remove their negative comment and replace it with a more positive one. They may also become a loyal customer. Remember it only takes a minute to change someone’s opinion.
Have We Convinced You Yet?
As you can see, there are so many advantages to combining offline and online marketing efforts in order to cast a wider net on your social media goals. Owning a brick and mortar business is a major accomplishment, so we encourage you to remain optimistic, but very innovative. Being a forward thinker will help create a balance between the traditional and the digital for your business.
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