Retailers have called on symbol groups to step up and provide them with the training to help them stay savvy when it comes to social media.

Store owners told RN the groups should offer the same level of digital support as they do with in-store merchandising, PoS and leaflet drops to help them build their businesses’ reach through sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Bay Bashir, of Belle Vue Convenience in Middlesbrough, said it is an area he struggles with and employs someone to do it for him.

“It’s really important; you can use it for promotions but also to instantly communicate with customers and promote offers. You can respond to things as they happen – when it’s sunny, you can tweet about chilled wines or ice creams you offer.”

He added: “Retailers help each other out but more advice from the symbol groups would be great. If it’s good for us, then it’s good for them.”

Sunder Sandher, of One Stop Working With Royals in Leamington Spa, is actively involved with social media and credits the support he receives from his franchise group.

“One Stop sent a lot of information out to retailers about social media and they’re very heavy on Twitter, from Andrew King, the head of franchise, downwards.

“Other retailers have said One Stop is brilliant at it. Symbol groups could be doing more to educate retailers on social media.”

Mr Sandher is involved with an online initiative called What Do You Think or #WDYT, which promises to grow small business’ social media reach – building a store’s online profile as a result. He said it had proved effective in widening his store’s reach.

Christopher Taylor, of Taylors of Tickhill near Doncaster, is also involved with #WDYT. “It doesn’t take much time and we’ve gone from around 55 impressions per tweet to 3,500.”

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