Many of the stores we work with for our weekly College Store Stories use social media platforms as essential tools in their marketing strategies — and it's easy to see why. With a customer base of avid users and the relatively low investment required to engage online, social media marketing is a great fit for any budget-minded store. Now that we've established that your store should be using these platforms, all you have to do is produce some engaging content. Here are three ways to liven up your posts:
Feature your customers
Your customers, promoting your merchandise — not only is this a way to advertise authentically and inexpensively, it's also an easy way to increase online interaction for your store.
User generated content (UGC) works for three primary reasons: it’s relatable and genuine, it allows you to easily expand your audience and it cuts down on the time you and your staff would otherwise invest to create content.
College stores have a unique advantage when it comes to soliciting and showcasing UGC because so many of your customers are already active social media users. In many cases, all you have to do is ask.
The Towson University Store is a great example of a store putting this concept into action:
While many of their posts are of students in Towson apparel, it isn’t a requirement to be featured. As stated in the example above, they welcome all of their fans and followers to share photos from their daily lives, with no overt promotional agenda.
According to Director Stacy Elofir, using customers in their marketing has really paid off for the store.
“People like to go online and in the store to see their friends’ faces so it’s been great for traffic and for goodwill,” she said. “We post these pictures to Facebook, use them in our catalog, and put them on everything we can. Who better to promote the store than the people that are already there?”
#TBT (or #MotivationMonday or #FridayFunday)
If you’re stuck for inspiration, try one of the many hashtags of the day. Sharing an appropriate image, meme, GIF or video will help you tap into the popularity of whichever hashtag you choose, and make sure your store keeps the interaction going.
This simple yet striking example from the University of Michigan was posted for #TBT (Throwback Thursday):
You could share an existing image or take advantage of the variety of free resources out there to easily create something new.
- Quick Tools to Step Up Your GIF Game
- Make Your Social Postings Shine
- 19 Tools to Create Social Media Content
Share something useful
Your customers lead busy lives, so anything you can do to make each day a little easier should be well received. Hacks, pro tips and tutorials are massively popular — your store can benefit from this trend, while giving something useful back to your students at the same time.
This can be as simple or complex as you wish, from curating tutorials on Pinterest like UCM's University Store to creating quick explainer videos. The topics can range pretty widely and include anything relevant to your store and your customer base, like a virtual walkthrough of your store for new students, study tips or suggestions for ways to help them save on their course materials.