Social media tips for brick and mortar businesses
How to drive in-person customers and boost sales with a social media presence
Just because your bricks-and-mortar business doesn’t have an online website, doesn’t mean you should avoid social media altogether. In fact, platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest have plenty to offer physical retailers.
With eight in 10 shoppers researching products and services online before they head in-store, social media is a great way to give customers a sense of what your brand or store has to offer. Smart social media strategies can also deepen customers’ relationships with your brand, provide credibility, deliver insights into your customers and audience, and offer a cost-effective way to grow brand awareness and foot traffic.
Find new customers
Social media remains one of the most cost-effective ways to discover new customers at scale, whether you’re a bricks and mortar retailer or an e-commerce store. There are several ways to do this:
- Create organic content that raises awareness of your store. Discover standout examples of social media posts here.
- Create paid campaigns that target people who are similar to your existing customers. To do this, you simply upload subscriber lists to Facebook and create a ‘lookalike audience’. Find out more here
- There is also an option for bricks-and-mortar retailers to use Facebook to target people who walk past your store or spend time in the local neighbourhood. “So, you can actually target people who come within a certain [physical] radius of your store,” says digital strategist Jordan Lomax of The Social Lab. Find out more here.
Deepen engagement with customers
Social media is a brilliant tool to connect with your customers and humanise your brand – and one way to do that is to feature staff in posts.
“Social media is all about community so it’s really important to profile your staff as a part of your content strategy,” says Alex Noonan of agency The Content Works. “Not only does it help give your team the recognition they deserve but it gives a human element to your brand, making it more relatable.”
At fashion retailer Tigerlily, staff use social media to post photos of themselves wearing the brand’s collection. “We find that our online audience engage most with the brand on social media when a staff member is involved,” says Tigerlily marketing manager Anna Batcelar, who adds that customers will often come into the store asking for a particular staff member by name.
Use social media to pre-promote in-store events
Planning a special in-store event? Social media can help build hype. “I’d look at using [Instagram] Stories to tease out the sale and build hype,” says Noonan. For example:
- Show the team prepping for the event
- Hold a countdown
- Use interactive features, like polls, to drive engagement
“Best of all, with this type of content, it’s free (because you can capture it all on your smartphone). But if you have a bit of a budget to work with, you could also engage influencers to pre-shop the sale and share their hauls.”
Create ‘grammable’ spots in store
Build buzz around your brand by creating visually appealing areas in your store, which shoppers can then photograph and share on social media.
This might involve anything from a uniquely designed space or floral wall that shoppers can snap photos of themselves in front of, to a stylish lounge area, seasonal display or unique lighting feature.
And encourage shoppers to snap and share their photos – include the Instagram logo at the till, on receipts or on decals on mirrors to remind them - or put up a sign with a hashtag they can use, inviting (or incentivising) them to share photos on social media.
The bottom line? Social media can help your business drive foot traffic – whether you have an online presence or not. The key is to map out a social media strategy first. Find out how to create a social media strategy here.
Iantha Yu is a freelance journalist and the founder of PIC Studio, which specialises in e-commerce photography.
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