Social media might seem like a complete waste of time, particularly if you’re running a high-street store that relies on punters coming in off the street, but the simple fact is things like Facebook and Twitter can absolutely revolutionise the way that you interact with (and attract) customers – both physical and digital.
Using it to revolutionise your business does not have to be a confusing or frustrating affair either. We’ve been running social media campaigns for some six years now, and, in that time, we’ve seen all sorts of incredibly simple tactics that are capable of delivering fantastic return on investment, without wasting time.
The following 5 Top Tips should help you to take advantage of the unique tools that social media adds to every business person’s arsenal, without damaging your brand or affecting public perception of your business for the worse.
- Make Sure That You Never Post for the Sake of Posting
Most people advise businesses to ‘post at least once a day’ when they first start making inroads on social media platforms, but doing this can actually do far more harm than good.
Many people see constant updates incredibly irritating – particularly if you haven’t actually got anything interesting to say. Furthermore, a recent case study conducted by the SANS Institute showed studies showed that most users view frequent or semi-constant updates on social media as a signal of desperation and/or a low volume of sales – something that obviously sends a very negative message about your business.
What we’ve observed, on our clients’ accounts, is that timely and thoughtful posts, made sparingly, achieve far more positive interaction than run-of-the-mill straplines about your ‘favorite engagement ring’.
So, resist the temptation to fill your social media page with pointless posts, and reserve the space for promoting:
- Particularly meaty blog posts about things like jewellery care or diamond selection, which your audience will actually enjoy reading
- Interesting articles from around the web that offer genuinely useful advice or guidance
- Particularly pertinent or timely observations about things like celebrity wedding rings
This will help to ensure that people perceive you as a thought-leading brand, and ensure that you gain a reputation for offering your clients and friends a truly valuable knowledge service.
- Don’t be Afraid To Push In-store Sales or Events Via Your Social Media Feed
If you’re running a high street store, your primary objective is obviously going to be driving traffic through your front door, rather than driving visitors to your blog or webpage.
As such, using the built-in advertising features on Facebook et al to publicise in-store events or sales can help to massively improve the ROI that you get from your social media marketing efforts, and also drive up the number of in-store conversions that you experience by driving pre-engaged shoppers straight to your shop.
A client of ours – jeweller Christopher Stoner – has used Facebook to publicise a number of flash sales over the years – to great success too. By running location-specific adverts, and posting a series of carefully-timed statuses that featured the name of their store’s location, this bespoke jewellers helped to inform locals of the sale’s presence and attract a number of visitors that would otherwise have been totally oblivious to the event’s existence.
- Make Sure That You Don’t Overuse The Survey and Competition Features
Asking your audience questions (or offering them freebies) is an incredibly effective way to get people involved with your brand – a process that helps to raise awareness and, as a direct response, increase the amount of people visiting your physical shop.
Unfortunately, overusing this feature is incredibly dangerous, and can quickly lead to people viewing your branded page as a major irritation – particularly if your (rather commonplace) promotional posts are popping up on their news feed twice a day.
How much is too much? It’s actually incredibly difficult to tell straight off the bat, but constant experimentation can quickly help you to find the frequency ‘sweet-spot’ that will allow you to keep people engaged, without turning them off.
Obviously this sweet-spot varies from industry to industry (and business to business) but a study conducted by Wisemetrics has shown that competitions and surveys only really perform well if they are posted a maximum of twice per week for social media pages in the jewellery vertical.
- Be Cautious When Using Social Media Platforms To Advertise Product Too
For similar reasons, using Facebook or Twitter to advertise products or prices can also damage your audience’s perception of your brand values, and lead to a distinct lack of interaction on your social media pages (a sure sign of low interest).
So, think carefully before you skip straight ahead to the promotional adverts – after all, it is called social media, and the overwhelming majority of your fans and followers want to know that you’re a person, not just a marketing machine.
A rule of thumb that has always served us well is to make sure that the amount of thoughtful editorial content that you post (be it comments, useful links or wacky ideas) ought to outweigh the amount of sales content by a ratio of at least 3:1.
- Make Sure That You’re Taking Advantage of Facebook’s Incredible Data Aggregation Abilities
When commissioning traditional adverts, it’s almost impossible to target a particular demographic, [unless of course you are advertising in Jewellery Focus, which the largest captive audience of jewellery industry professionals of any trade magazine: Ed]. Instead, we pick a number of different consumer publications to purchase advertising space from, cross our fingers, and hope that the majority of readers are the kind of people that’d actually be interested in a diamond pendant or Swiss watch.
This kind of approach can work on social media platforms too, but adopting it means that you’ll be ignoring one of social media’s greatest strengths:
Unlike traditional advertising, social media platforms actually let you pre-select the demographic that you want to see your adverts, and some (like Facebook) even let you pick an audience based on interest too, which means that you only pay to interact with people that have quantifiable conversion potential.
As such, it’s often far more cost and time effective to use the incredible targeting methods that are baked in to platforms like Facebook and Twitter than it is to take a shotgun approach to ad targeting in local consumer press as you are forced to do when using more traditional methods, particularly if you are only actually looking to put your advert in front of, say, women aged 18-24, or men with a qualified interest in high-quality wristwatches.
Paying attention to this, and spending some time working out how closely you can get away with targeting your ads could help to completely transform the way in which you spread the word about your store – and massively reduce the amount of wastage that your day-to-day marketing activities will naturally cause.
So, to summarise.
Remember that social media is exactly that – a social experience that offers you a truly unique and interesting way to interact with your customers while they are sitting at home, or on the way to work.
As long as you do not abuse them, or treat them like Google Adwords, you will quickly find that platforms like Facebook and Twitter can help you to reach a whole new client-base, and completely revolutionise the way that you spread information about your business, particularly if you are willing to dive in at the deep end and exploit the more complicated targeting methods that they offer.
This article first appeared in the November 2014 issue of Jewellery Focus