We talk a lot about the different social media platforms and the potential benefit of using them because they provide a direct connection with students. As Willie Sutton said, “Go where the money is … and go there often.” However, just being on the networks isn’t enough. The content you post and its effectiveness will directly influence the return on your efforts. What does that mean? Your store needs to understand the relationship social media forges between the store and the student, and what students expect in return.
Understanding the relationship
When I speak at author events, I always stress that social media is meant to be social. People aren’t tuning in to see one link after another begging them to buy a book. People want conversations and connections. It is different for a business. While people still want to see the company as human and identifiable, they aren’t looking to make friends with their local grocery store or fast food chain. Why do they follow them? They are getting something in return. I followed a barbeque restaurant to get a free drink with my meal. I followed my local grocery store so I could see what weekly specials they were running. I pay attention to them because I am getting something in return. The person-to-business relationship boils down to more of an acquaintance who offers them something of value.
Value is the key part. You know what you hope to get from those who follow you: sales. What do they get in return? What are you bringing into the relationship? Sure, you have products they need, but so do other stores. What are you doing to deserve the consumer’s loyalty? That’s where you want to pinpoint your social media platform. The goal is to be a relatable account whose posts have value to the viewer.
What students expect
How is this mystical unicorn of balance achieved? By giving people what they want. In a recent survey about what students want to see on their campus store’s social media, a clear picture was formed.
- 73% of students wanted coupons and deals from their campus store
- 42% want contests
- 38% information about upcoming events
- 28% information on new products
- 23% information on current products
- 17% funny pictures and videos
- 16% helpful hints
How to use the statistics
Apply the research to what you are doing. Offer a coupon or a daily deal, run a monthly or weekly contest and do a mixture of the other categories, honing your focus on what gets the best response. Use this framework to guide your interaction, but don’t let it stifle it. Still show that there is a real person behind the posts — a little humor is always a great way to lighten the tone. Respond to people’s comments, good or bad. It is more important to offer excellent customer service on social media. People expect quick responses for complaints and the world is watching — always be professional.
The more consistent you are, the faster your interactions will increase, and your social media reach will grow as others notice what you are doing right.