Let’s get engaged! Most of us have heard or said these words at some time in our lives — some of us, more than once. However, what I am speaking of today is engaging with our customers.
Many retailers have social media accounts — typically Facebook, and perhaps Twitter or Instagram. But what is the purpose? Is it simply to convey promotional items, or do we have a strong, thoughtful plan to drive engagement with our fans?
Social media allows us to tell a story about our company, our culture — and yes, our products and promotions. At the same time, it gives us an opportunity to have a conversation with our customers.
Engagement is typically any instance in which someone reacts. This could be a ‘like,’ ‘share’ or an actual comment. If you think about your own personal life, occasionally we may become disengaged with another person or have a spat. Sitting down and having a conversation typically brings us together — closer — and creates a connection. So, engaging with someone through social media creates, or further deepens, a connection. The stronger the connection, the higher the chance that person will frequent your store. So, how can you best engage your customers through social media? These are my 10 basic tenets for social media success.
Social Media Tenets
1. Set a strong goal for likes per store, such as 1,000 per store. Then, develop an engagement goal.
2. Have a well thought out and developed plan that supports your company’s goals.
3. Develop posts that cause fans to react. Ask questions. Offer prizes. Incorporate local and national holidays and events. Hint: Everyone loves their pets, and people love to show pictures of their pets. Remember to have fun. How often does a friend or family member share a funny post or meme with you?
4. Tell stories. People are interested in your company. They want to know your history, what is important to you and what your values are. Talk about how you are supporting the communities in which you operate. Talk about your team. Brag about your uber-achievers.
5. Tell stories about your products, too. What is the backstory on that great new coffee blend you launched? Do you have a new pizza or sub on the menu? There is a story there. Talk about it. Are you selling hand-breaded or antibiotic-free chicken? If so, let’s hear about it.
6. Use video. It doesn’t have to be expensive. That smartphone in your pocket will help you create a great 15-second post.
7. Speak with your vendor partners. Many have funds directed for social media and will help support promotions specific to social to drive sales, traffic and profits.
8. Monitor posting at different times and determine, for your stores, what times drive the most views and engagements.
9. Read. Listen. React — or not. Social media must be monitored. A post is quite different from a comment that you might receive through email, app, website, phone call or old-fashioned snail mail. Everyone sees a post and it spreads quickly. Very quickly. Develop a thoughtful plan detailing which types of comments to respond to, how to respond and which comments you will NOT react to.
10. Be consistent. Post daily or on a frequency that works best for your customers, but don’t overdo it. Multiple posts per day may annoy fans and cause them to unfollow you.
Remember, nurturing a relationship with your customers will help keep them happy, delighted and coming home for a long time.
I love talking foodservice, marketing and social media. Should you have a question or comment, please send me an email.
John Schaninger is the owner and marketing expert at The Schaninger Group. He can be reached at [email protected].