I recently blogged about how to make-over one of my retail client’s Facebook postings, suggesting improvements that would make the post more relevant and actionable for Godfrey’s – Welcome to Dogdom, a pet lifestyle store. You can read that blog here and see the before and after postings below:
The changes I suggested included a picture with a dog wearing a lighted collar and a call out on importance of safety equipment, rather than a focus on the fall and change of seasons.
Like all good marketers, Barb Emmett, the owner of Godfrey’s with her husband Pat, tested the before and after postings with some customers to see which one they thought best. And it was unanimous – Barb’s original beat mine hands-down!
Barb explains, “I ran both posts by some of my customers without them knowing who wrote what and they all liked the original one I wrote. They said it reflects the warmth of the business and would draw them to coming out to see our Fall products in general.”
My first instinct– and yours as well — is that the customer is always right. But then I thought about who each of these posts was intended for. The first one, penned by Barb, was to encourage her existing customers to come in, browse and feel the love. The second one that I crafted was primarily to invite and engage new customers who may not already be customers and don’t know what Godfrey’s has to offer.
The issue is simply: Two different posts, two different intentions, and two different audiences. What makes one posting better than another is really a matter of who the message is intended for. Barb’s resonates with her existing customers because it communicates the shop’s comfortable and pet-friendly atmosphere and reminds customers of new dog care needs in the Fall. Mine is more marketing and action oriented, focused on attracting new customers.
Why? Because in survey after survey Unity Marketing has done with business owners, the number one business need that rises to the top of the list is how to find new customers. Every other challenge pales in comparison to that.
Is the more marketing-focused posting bad for her existing customers? No, but it should be spread more widely to attract people in the community with dog needs that may not yet have discovered her store.
That’s what Facebook’s “Boost Your Post” feature is intended for. For a very small fee, small business owners can select people in their neighborhoods with specific interests, in this case ‘dogs,’ to receive your post in their daily feed. It can help spread the good word about your business to people you may not already have reached. Reaching out to a larger potential audience can help you find new customers that will make your business grow.
Independent retailers need a social media strategy, and they need it now!
My friend and colleague, Jim Blasingame, the Small Business Advocate and author of The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance, in his most recent newsletter reported the results of a survey about social media among his audience of small business owners. And what he discovered is shocking!
The greatest percentage of small businesses have no social media strategy at all.
In our online poll about 18 months ago, we asked the same question about social media as we did this week. I’m sorry to report that the new results did not trend well for this now mature media option. Since that April 2015 poll:
* Those who reported having a strategy that was working, dropped by about 25%.
* Those who were disappointed in the results of their strategy dropped more than a third.
* Those who’ve essentially given up on their strategy increase by a third.
* And those who had no social media strategy increased by about 20%.
What this means is that in the last year-and-half small businesses have backed off their social media strategies, most likely because they found that it isn’t producing the results that they had hoped.
My guess is that people had unrealistic expectations for social media, tried it with one strategy, one approach, then abandoned it or backed off because it disappointed.
My advice is simple: Social media works and works powerfully, so heaven forbid you give it up. Rather recognize it is a new tool and requires learning, patience and continued testing and refinement to activate its potential to engage your existing customers and attract new customers to your business.
So don’t give up on Facebook and other social media, with Instagram reported by many specialty retailers as another powerful tool, but take your initial disappointment as a call to action to continue to test and refine your social media strategy to discover the recipe that will work for your business.
Here are some more ideas:
- The first step is to get started. Too many people find getting started the hardest part, but that is because they want the first draft to be perfect, which it will NEVER be. So jot down some key ideas, key points, key messages you want to communicate in your next Facebook posting. Obviously you will have some specific sales goal and an audience in mind, so make sure that is part of the first draft.
- Then with the posting drafted, identify what specific customer experience or need your offer will fulfill. And make that you lead with the customer need in to your posting.
- Be sure to mention your shop’s name at least once, if not more times, as appropriate. Yes, your shop’s Facebook page has the store name, but make sure it is always part of the text as well.
- Include an offer and a call to action, what you want the reader to do and how you will reward them. Yes, sales and freebie giveaways are overused, but they do work. Making them a limited time offer can provide some urgency to act.
- Make sure there is a branding message on every posting as well. This also is easily overlooked but adds punch to all your shop’s marketing and messaging.
- And the picture that illustrates your post should include people’s faces, not just products. In Shops that POP! 7 Steps to Extraordinary Retail Success, one of the essential principles highlighted is the need to imprint yourself and your store in the customers’ memories. Using your smiling face, or in the case of Godfrey’s a dog, as the model in your Facebook postings is a powerful way to make a lasting impression.
- Finally, write, revise and edit your posts with a clear idea of your goals and who you ultimately want to attract to your store. And if the goal is to reach further, invest a little to Boost Your Post.
Get more marketing inspiration from Shops that POP!
My new book, Shops that POP! 7 Steps to Extraordinary Retail Success, shows retailers, large and small, how to make theirshop POP! Written about and for specialty retailers, it is filled with cases studies of stores that have the POP! magic and presents hundreds of actionable ideas for retailers to put to work immediately in their stores.
The most important thing retailers need to understand is that success today is less about WHAT they sell, and more about HOW they sell it. Shops that POP! will inspire you to achieve extraordinary retail success.