How to Build Social Media Marketing Into Your Brick & Mortar Strategy
Social media is more than just a platform for posting selfies, sourcing memes, and avoiding a steady stream of engagement photos. As a retailer, channels like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter can be your best allies, serving as a lookbook, press release, and ad campaign all in one.
However, it’s harder than ever to capture your audience’s attention on social media. From Facebook deprioritizing organic posts to a general surge in the amount of content published, social media gets more competitive by the day, making it hard for small businesses to be heard.
Facebook & Instagram Algorithms
Facebook and Instagram’s algorithms were created in response to a significant increase in the amount and type of content created over the past few years. The algorithms are continually being updated to bring more relevant content to viewers.
Instead of showing posts in chronological order, as it once did, Facebook and Instagram’s algorithms now show posts that people are interacting with. This means if your posts aren’t engaging, they will not be viewed by followers very often, if at all. The algorithm ranks content and predicts who should see your content based on thousands of ‘signals.’ These can include factors, such as who posted a story, which phone a user is on, what time of day it is, who you’re friends with, and much more.
The algorithms also prioritize certain types of engagement (likes, comments, shares, or check-ins) over others. Comments are worth more than likes, and shares or check-ins are weighted even heavier than comments. If the algorithm detects that your post is generating a lot of engagements, it will show it more frequently. The level of engagement will affect your Facebook relevance score: the higher your engagement, the better your score, the more they will show your content to others. Analyzing and understanding your own Facebook relevance score is important, as it will give you insights into what content is performing well, or if specific content is not well received, and how you can improve your overall content and engagement strategy.
Brick & Mortar Social Media Strategies
Algorithm rankings occur every time you open your social media apps and they determine what will be shown on your feed. This means you need to build a strategy for social that will engage your audience and make them feel connected to your brand. Just make sure that there is a reason or goal behind everything you post as there’s no point on posting on social unless you know it will eventually bring you a return on your investment. Since social media algorithms change all the time, there isn’t necessarily any one way to do it perfectly. However, there are a few strategies you can test out to see what works to get more people viewing and engaging with your content.
Pay to Play
Almost every social media channel now has the option to promote posts or create ads, and to encourage marketers to pay for views, many of the biggest players (like Facebook and Instagram) have made it harder for your posts to reach people organically. Some studies estimate that organic reach on Facebook may now be as low as only two percent. Which means it’s basically become a game where you have to pay to play. Fortunately, ad targeting on many social channels has gotten more robust, where you can target locations, interests, ages, purchasing behavior, life status, website visits, and much more. On Facebook and Instagram, you can even create lookalike audiences based off your current customers, meaning that you can market to new people who are similar to the ones already buying your products. This advanced targeting can help you attract visitors to your brick and mortar store as you capture the more relevant audience.
When you have a brick and mortar store, location targeting can be a really powerful tool for paid social media posts. Use location targeting in paid ads to show people who are near your store what you can offer them. For example, a Fourpost brand in Edmonton could target people visiting and checking into the West Edmonton Mall as a way to remind them to visit their store while they’re in the area.
If your customers are engaging with you on social media already, make sure you engage back. This will encourage more conversation, shares, comments, and likes—all of the pieces of engagement that factor into who will see your posts. Social media is basically another way to show your customers that you care and encourage them to visit your store. Remember that customers’ experience of your brand can affect whether they shop with you for years to come.
You can’t outright ask your audience to like or share your posts. If you’re using Facebook, the social network giant identifies these phrases as spam. Plus, you need to offer your audience a reason to engage with your posts, whether it’s because you’ve created something entertaining that they want to share with their friends or they’re entering a contest. Try posting really engaging content that makes people want to share it with others, and also prompt your audience to comment on it by asking them a question.
Types of Content to Post on Social Media
Facebook has taken the lead on encouraging their audience to post videos. Besides heavily promoting “Facebook Watch,” the social network allows videos posted by brands to get more organic reach and engagement than any other type of content. On most social platforms, videos receive a high number of views and have a positive effect on engagement in comparison to other types of posts. Just keep in mind that when you create a video for social media, the audience is more likely to view it with the sound off, so adding captions can increase the view rate and the length of time viewers watch it.
Show off photos of your latest offerings—and don’t forget to share insider details like inspiration and craftsmanship.
Sales and Discounts
Spread the word about your end-of-season sale or a special BOGO offer. Even a quick Instagram story can make a huge difference when promoting sales.
Think of social media posts as a 21st century event invite. Hot tip: post live videos and photos on your Instagram and Facebook stories throughout the event as there’s nothing like a little retail FOMO for people who can’t make it.
Track Your Results
When you’re posting on social all the time and dedicating time and resources to creating content, you need to know that you’re getting a return on your investment. Luckily, almost every social platform has pretty robust analytics now. Take advantage of the free tools directly integrated into Instagram Business, Facebook, and Twitter to measure your social media engagement, so you can identify what’s working and where you need to improve.
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