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Why You Must Have Social Presence

By: Brittany Engelmann-- 2017-04-27 6:00 am --

Just the other day a couple of mid-30s men were walking down a main street in a New York neighborhood on a particularly nice day. Both of them had their smart phones un-holstered, and ready to answer any question that might pop into their heads.

One received a Snapchat, and the other caught a Pokemon. One’s Facebook Messenger blonked and the other’s Instagram blinked.

They walked right past store after store, oblivious to the window displays and sandwich boards designed to corral them inside. Those marketing efforts couldn’t match the bells and whistles going off on their smart-phones.

Driving foot traffic is difficult enough without having to contend with phone equipped masses. But social media doesn’t have to be a mysterious force that keeps people distracted, you can use it as an effective, and free marketing tool to pair with your already successful ideas.

According to Jennifer Beese at SproutSocial, a social media marketing firm, says that “90% of shoppers turn to social media for retail and often look for help with buying decisions.”

The numbers are likely lower for businesses like 99 cent stores and gas stations, but the lesson is as important for mom and pop stores as it is for a corporate titan: social media is more than just an opportunity, it’s a necessity.

You don’t have to be a social media expert or be even mildly entertaining. Just aim to be informative, says Jen Werley writing at BizJournals.

She says even the local plumber can benefit from a few social media posts that give information about his or her business and that offers insight into the profession.

"It gives other customers the enhanced confidence that it's a legitimate business," he said.

If you have no social media presence, start with Facebook, where there are billions of daily users. It’s the biggest and most accessible. You may also want to try out Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter to give your business a presence on social media.

Setting up a Facebook is relatively easy but the page will take a little maintenance in terms of posting content about your store.

Beese says to give people a reason to visit your page, just like your store. That doesn’t mean you have to make copious amounts of online posts or have a robust strategy.  Just hit the five most important reasons:

  1. Promotions and discounts
  2. For latest product information
  3. Customer support
  4. Entertaining content
  5. Ability to offer feedback

Promotions and discounts are a great way to create buzz and get shoppers into your store, no matter what you’re selling. These promotions can be as simple as a coupon, or as complicated as an online scavenger hunt.

Don’t be fooled by the mystique of social media, many promotions on Facebook employ tried and true retail methodology like featuring loss leaders, creating loyalty programs and discounting overstock. Check out some of these great recommendations from Shopify.

Once established on Facebook, it’s possible to use their platform for some low-cost advertising in the form of a boosted post about your store or a coupon targeted to the types of people you want to reach.

That’s mobile phone prime real estate, nowadays, and it may be worth more than your main street signage that my friend and I walked right past.