Social media is a great way to reach out to customers, create excitement about your store and drive more people through the door and to the till.
This simple guide covers how to get started on Facebook and Twitter, and offers top tips that will make social media work harder for you.
Facebook: Create an account
If you don't have a Facebook account, you can sign up for one in a few easy steps.
- To sign up for a new account, go to facebook.com and enter your name, birthday, gender, mobile number and email address.
- Pick a password
- Click sign up
- After you complete the sign up form, they’ll send an email or text to the details you provided. Just click the confirmation link to complete the sign-up process
Facebook: Create a page
Facebook: Create a group
- Click the small downward arrow in the top right-hand corner of Facebook and select 'Create Group'
- Select your group preferences, enter your group name, add group members and then choose the privacy setting for your group
- Click 'Create'
- Once you create your group, personalise it by uploading a cover photo and adding a description.
Facebook: 8 tips for expanding your community
- Run promotions to generate interest in your page or group, such as offering freebies to people for liking your page or joining your group by a certain point
- Use good quality photos to communicate information. Photo posts on Facebook generate 50% more engagement ('likes', shares' etc) than plain text posts
- Create goals for your social media sites. Will they communicate in-store news, promotions or events to customers? Will they help you to network with suppliers and the wider industry? Aim your design and content at your target audience.
- Talk to your Facebook followers like you do your customers in-store. Be friendly, use humour and make them feel welcome. All of this adds to your overall projection as a great local store
- Link up with other local businesses online. Follow other local pages and if there are things going on in your community that are being organised online, such as village fetes or petitions, you need to be a part of the discussion online as well as in person
- Facebook page communication should only be 20-30% marketing your store. The rest should be about personality building and communicating with your community. If the only thing you post is what you’re selling day in, day out you will lose fans
- If you are already social media-savvy, take things one step further by creating a monthly or weekly plan to decide some messages and content in advance, such as what promotions or events are coming up
- Look into investing a couple of pounds to boost posts from your Facebook page as this will help you reach a wider audience
Get more tips from Fife retailer Harris Aslam.
Twitter: Create an account
Twitter is a powerful tool for business. A good Twitter feed and follower base can be an asset to your business.
- Follow the sign up process here.
Twitter: 8 tips to tweet your way to success
- If you have a comment you think might interest people, or you’d like to join a conversation someone else is engaged in, make sure your tweets are directed at them. So, if you want to spark Retail Express’ interest, for example, put our Twitter name @retailexpress in the tweet
- Use Twitter to share interesting things you find online, such as links to articles and blogs. If you see someone else's tweet that you want to share press the Retweet button (two arrows forming a square) under good tweets and the message will spread to all of your followers. It’s a good way to bond with followers as it shows you’re taking an interest in what they’re doing
- Use hashtags (such as #IAA17) to flag up key words in your tweets, but don't overuse them as this can make your tweets look like spam. Instead, pick the key word your tweet is talking about to hashtag
- Be personable. Again it’s about building up your online presence as a personality people relate to
- Make sure you respond to tweets promptly – especially if somebody is complaining. Be sure to resolve anything politely and promptly
- Keep personal and business accounts separate. Remember that while humour, personality and branding are important, other things such as political opinions might be best kept to a non-business account
- You can schedule some tweets in advance using applications like Tweetdeck or Buffer. Use them to programme content you know you will be saying. Avoid making your Twitter stream seem too automated otherwise people will ignore it. You have to be dynamic on Twitter to really reap the benefits
- If you like the idea of this but find it all too much to devote your full attention to assign a trusted member of staff to manage your social media. This will be great for their CV too. Make sure you set social media guidelines for them as anything posted online must reflect the values of your business.