Social media for your high street business
Updated: Sep 24, 2017
Just because you don't sell online doesn't mean you shouldn't have a presence on the Internet. Most of your customers will use social networks and many will expect the businesses they frequent to have an online presence. Butchers, bakers and ice cream sellers on cold Northumberland days can continue to trade in a traditional way whilst at the same time embracing new technology to engage with customers and find new ones; you don't even have to have a website (although that would certainly be a bonus).
Make sure you've claimed your free Google listing
This is a no brainer, if you do nothing else claim your Google listing. Google is the most powerful search tool on the Internet and allows you to have a free business listing showing your location and contact details at the very least. Visit Google my Business and complete the form with your business location so that people can find you more easily when they are looking for a business like yours. You'll also be able to add photos, a profile summary and keep an eye on reviews of your business.
Be selective with the social networks your choose
Don't feel overwhelmed and think you need to be on every social network, depending upon your business, some will work better than others. Facebook is a good place to start for most organisations. If you're a retailer, a visual platform such as Pinterest or Instagram may work better at engaging customers than Twitter or LinkedIn.
Ask friends and family to like and engage initially to help grow your audience; every connection is a valuable one.
Encourage customers to 'check in' on Facebook
An easy way to increase engagement with your business Facebook page is to ask customers to 'check in' at your business; not only will their friends see you've visited your premises, but 24 hours later they will be asked by Facebook to rate review their visit. This is a great way of engaging with your customers and receiving invaluable feedback.
Why not have a notice near the checkout, or nestled amongst the products encouraging people to like your Facebook page, you could even offer a discount in return.
Keep it regular
Whichever networks you choose to use to promote your bricks and mortar store, make sure you post and engage with your customers regularly (check and post at least once a day if possible). It's not just about shouting about what you do, it's about having a conversation with your customers; the best posts create discussion and you should be part of that.
Of course this just scratches the surface of the opportunities available, each business is individual and will have it's own strategy and objectives for using social media, if you'd like some guidance and advice on where to start Singing Hinny would be happy to help.
Alison Ellerbrook delivers social media management and content creation for small businesses in Northumberland and North East England. www.singinghinny.com