Brick & mortar retail stores are a vital part of the communities in which they exist. By having an established storefront, they’re able to interact with the people who pass by on a daily basis. This interaction makes it easy to improve engagement, as people can stop in when they’re walking by or once they get off of work, walking in to see what this small business is all about or to purchase a product out of support.
Yet, having just a physical location only goes so far. While some small businesses might be staunch about avoiding the digital realm, to the point of being labeled a Luddite, there is a lot to be gained by entering digital spaces. Social media has particularly changed the way that small businesses sustain themselves. In some cases, it has allowed these small brick and mortar stores to survive, as they’ve been able to develop digital audiences that support them in times where the storefront isn’t performing. The benefits are far-reaching, too, where social media marketing techniques like influencer and affiliate marketing measures help to improve the success of business. Interested in how you can start? Here is an explanation of social media platforms and four ways social media marketing can benefit your small business.
The Main Social Media Platforms Simplified
For brick and mortar establishments unfamiliar with social media, here is a basic breakdown of the major platforms and how they can be beneficial to your business:
- Facebook – For small businesses like brick and mortar retailers, Facebook is the perfect platform for basic marketing and advertising opportunities. If you can develop a following from your local community, you can transform your business’s page into something of a blog, where you can keep local consumers in the loop about products, sales, events, and more. The platform’s “Live” feature also allows you to capture footage from around your storefront, letting you interact with customers by showing off staff and everything going on.
- Instagram – If your company is more based on aesthetic, Instagram might be the place for you. You can curate a feed where images with a specific color scheme and look can be shared, letting consumers know what products you have to offer, all while hinting at the lifestyle your brand represents.
- Twitter – Looking for a way to communicate with customers? Twitter can be a good avenue, where the site can be treated as a form of customer service, helping you stay in touch with customers throughout the day.
- YouTube – If you’re looking to show off the look of your brand, it might be best to move from Instagram photography to video. Minute-long videos can make for great content, where you keep followers in the know concerning your business. You can even take it a step further and film 10-plus-minute videos where you review products or provide educational information to viewers.
Knowing which platform is right for you will involve studying your business to better understand what it wants to say to the community, and on which platform your audience is most likely to be found. But, with all of this in mind, here are some of the essential ways that marketing on these social media platforms can benefit your brick and mortar business:
1. Utilizing the Internet to Build a Digital Relationship
One of the greatest things about creating social media profiles for your business is that it allows you to develop digital relationships that can transcend to real-life transactions—if you’ve never had a website, this isn’t likely to happen, so that’s something you should do sooner rather than later.
The best part about starting out is that you don’t have to do much, in terms of marketing and advertising. Rather, work to start following other businesses and begin communicating with fellow social media users. On top of this, start posting content that is going to develop a following on its own: Post pleasing pictures to Instagram with relevant hashtags; follow other local businesses on Facebook to start growing a local community that can grow from there.
Once these relationships are established, you can begin moving onto more complicated features of the apps, all while your initial community continues to provide you with long-lasting engagement.
2. Using Referral Marketing
When starting out, one of the best ways you can get yourself up and going is through the help of referrals. Technically known as affiliate marketing, this is the establishment of relationships with other businesses, where a company/person is paid to endorse and promote a business.
This can be an essential way to get your feet on the ground as a new social media user, as you can utilize influencers and fellow businesses to your advantage, having them promote your business’s page to their own larger audiences. In turn, this will hopefully lead to new followers and potential site visitors, helping you gain traction and a digital following of your own. The best part is that this can still be done even once you have an established following, as there will always be room for growth in the digital world.
3. Posting Content That’s Relevant and Eye-Catching
One of the most important things to gaining a following online, and remaining relevant, is posting content that people want to see. Your posts shouldn’t just be pictures of your products followed by a description of what they do. Rather, a story should be told.
If you’re a local business, you can talk about how your community’s character is a part of everything you do. If you’re promoting health and wellness products, you can craft a story related to how this product is intended to improve a person’s life by developing a healthier daily routine. The options are endless, but you want to find something that will resonate with social media users, as that’s what is going to entice them to follow your business and stick around.
Ideally, you need to make sure that your content isn’t just creative, but is also professional looking. This means building your own skills in photography through photography online courses and honing your creative writing abilities through creative writing courses and workshops or it means using the skills of a professional and expert third party, such as a professional product photographer and a professional copywriter.
4. Making an Inviting Website
As mentioned before, you need a website if you don’t currently have one. While you can rely on getting business in-store from local followers, that won’t translate to the national or global market. Instead, you need a website that is reflective of your business—a place where social media users can be directed to make purchases with your retail store. This will be essential to your business’s longevity, as it will allow you to create a profitable digital audience, giving you an extra level of protection if anything were to ever happen to your storefront.
Improve Your Business’s Security with Social Media Exposure
The methods you explore when developing a social media presence, from affiliate marketing to website development, will vary, but they’re all intended to improve the security of your business going forward. Think about the ways social media can help your business, and begin posting sooner rather than later.
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