As we shared in our ‘How can independent jewellers use social medial to drive sales?’, social media plays a key role in your customer’s sale journey and relationship with your business. We covered an array of advice on how to set up your profiles and fundamental social media habits that will best support your business selling through social media.
This article focuses more on the next stage of ongoing habits to support your customer’s sales journey. The benefits of each point can be seen over time. Whilst these points provide a guide to successful selling through social media, consistency with them is the real key. We have also included a habit hack on each point to support you in building these practices throughout your week – these are just a suggestion and are meant to prompt ideas on how you can use small gaps of time effectively.
Respond to comments
Responding to comments on your social media posts supports your business in several ways. First, it helps to continue the conversation or answer any questions that those commenting may have on your post. Second, it demonstrates to other potential customers that your pages are active, suggesting that the information being shared on your page is up to date, again making people more likely to interact. And finally, when you reply to people’s comments, it boosts the engagement of the post, making it more likely that more people will see it.
Top tip: If you’re looking to get people to engage with you, engage with them first.
A success story of this, according to Maybe*, is The Boutique salon in Knowle. When it focused on engagement on social media to sell during the lockdown, the salon saw an increase of 166% in the amount of content being created about them on social media. ‘’Success for us is business growth. Having 10,000 followers doesn’t matter, you need to get people to engage with you. It doesn’t matter how many followers you have; you need comments. Engagement is the proof that what you are doing is working,” said the founder of The Boutique.
Check your social media comments directly before or after you check your emails. By associating this task to a daily task such as checking your emails (or any other task you have to do daily), the habit will be easier to form. Make sure you don’t check your business’ social media unless you have time to come back to the comments that are there. By ensuring you have time to respond to posts on your page and interact with other pages and aren’t about to get distracted, you are more likely to ensure that you aren’t missing any comments. Start with setting a five-minute alarm to ensure you stay focused.
Grow your audience
Your audience and followers are important. You need to find a balance between growing the number of followers that you have whilst also having followers and potential customers who will interact with your posts. An easy way to get started with this is by inviting people to like your social media pages. Aim to invite ten people per day, starting with those who you think will interact with your page. If you build this into your daily social media interaction habits, your social media will naturally grow in the upcoming months.
Another way to grow your audience is to encourage customers in-store to follow your social media, which allows you to then follow them back. This connects you directly with your customers and you could always message them a thank you for popping in later that day – the personal touch is incredibly important.
Do this daily – each time your boil the kettle or load up your computer invite ten people to like, follow or connect with your page. Set a timer for three minutes to ensure that you don’t get stuck scrolling.
Offer different ways for your audience to interact
Interaction on social media isn’t just about the number of likes your posts get or the number of conversations you have happening within your comments. Many platforms have features that include polls and Instagram stories, offering your followers a selection of ways that they can interact with you.
The success of interacting with your clients in a variety of ways has been shared on Maybe*’s recent blog about The Boutique, which noticed that when the lockdowns ended followers were spending less time on social media and were seeing less interaction with its posts. The Boutique began to ask more questions in its posts and to share polls on its Instagram stories. Sharing tips and tutorials for how its customers could look after their salon-fresh looks or new colour provide another way for its followers to engage or ask questions. This helped to build relationships with those who were working within the salon and it also found that the deeper engagement from comments and polls drove better reach, sales of its products and increased booking when reopening.
When planning your social media, plan to use a minimum of three different social media features that your customer can use to interact with you.
Get your customers to create content for you
Content creation can take a considerable amount of time, and more and more often we see bigger brands supporting their followers to create content for them. It also gives your business authenticity – no one is better placed to promote your store than a happy customer. Some ways you could do this are:
Ask your customers to tag themselves in your store on social media, which could be done with a simple location tag sign within your store. This encourages your customers to both follow you on social media and also share with their connections that they are in your store, which highlights your store to your customer’s connections.
Ask your customers for reviews and testimonials. Your customers can leave reviews on your Facebook page and your Google My Business page. To highlight these reviews, share them as social media posts. Reviews are a great way to highlight some of the other considerations that your customers have when looking to buy, from sharing about the value and service they received to the overall experience and the quality of your products.
If your customers are buying a gift, ask them to tag your business when they post about the gift online. Typically, online retailers will include a business card in their orders, encouraging their customers to share their purchases online with the various links to your social media platforms. This then allows you to reshare the post and can also provide excellent future content ideas.
Retailers can worry about asking their customers to follow them online, but more often than not, your customers are happy to support you. People love their local independent retailers and want to see their high streets thriving.
You probably have a selection of topics you always talk to your customers about, so include the above in these conversations. Decide on what you are going to say and place a sticky note next to the till or somewhere you often see as a reminder.
Know your audience
When considering what to post on social media, take a moment to consider how your audience will interact with the post. Knowing what you want your audience to do once they have read your post is important to know when writing it. It is also important to include a “call to action” within each of your posts. Are you asking them to comment below? Or follow a link? By specifically asking your audience to do something, they are more likely to do what you are asking them.
Also, consider the age of your audience. By knowing your audience’s age range, you can write content that is more likely to resonate with them. You can find this out by looking at the analytics of each of your platforms. For example, The Boutique knew that its Facebook page appealed to slightly older customers and that its Instagram following was a younger audience. This knowledge enabled it to share content that was most relevant to its audience.
Use a tick list of what you need to consider when writing social media content. Here are a few you could include:
Share your personality on social media
Whilst your social media profiles are about representing your business, people buy from people, so it is important to allow your customers to connect with those in the business. This will help followers to connect with you before they come into your store. Maybe* shared a great example of how Doncaster Council shared humour and humanity in their posts, which resulted in it growing its social media audience to 82,000 followers. It has also seen its Twitter engagement more than double that of many similarly sized councils. Towns and city councils often share serious public messages at scale, which can be difficult to do while getting the reach and engagement that is required. However, by sharing the typically “Donny” voice, Doncaster Council has managed to separate itself from many other councils.
Write down the “non-business” topics that you’re discussing with customers, friends and family and include them in the following week’s posts. You don’t need to include very personal topics but it’s good to share your opinions or something you find funny or interesting.
Have a clear goal
If you are looking to increase your sales online, it is important to have a clear idea of what you’re looking for. Here are a few questions that will help you put together your social media sales goal:
Maybe* has shared a brilliant example of how setting a goal can support you with sales through your social media. Keith Scarrott Shoes, an independent retailer in Cheltenham, combined an ad spend of £200 with a well-established email list and a 45% sale to celebrate 45 years in business. In just six hours, the result was an increase of 11,367% in year-on-year orders. By targeting customer groups that it had built using Maybe*, and using Shopify’s click-and-collect function to fulfil orders, it targeted loyal customers with social media content, paid ads, and a parallel email campaign to drive traffic and sales. Keith used his small team to respond quickly to questions and comments, manage its social media ads and engage in conversations, all through Maybe*.
Set a 15-minute timer and think over the questions above with a pen and pad at hand. You don’t need to research or discuss this with anyone else initially, with some time to think, you’ll find that you already know the areas you want to improve and the goals that you have.
Building relationships on social media and selling on social media go hand in hand – the more that you focus on building those relationships, capturing your audience in different ways and connecting with them on different topics, the stronger those relationships will be. Social media allows us to connect with an incredible number of individuals, it is important to consider that the people you’re interacting with may not be the people that come into your store, but it could be one of their connections.