The following article was written by Stephanie Walden and originally published on Mashable. Although the focus of the article is a trade book store, there are many takeaways that can be applied to collegiate retail, as well. Take a look:
It's a new era for bookworms. With e-readers and audiobooks gaining popularity, many brick-and-mortar bookstores are unable to survive the competition: Just four years after the introduction of the Kindle, 40-year-old bookstore giant Borders filed for bankruptcy.
Strand Books is the sole survivor of "book row," a section of New York City's 4th Avenue that once housed nearly 50 bookstores. So how has Strand (founded in 1927) managed to stay afloat — and thrive — in a world of podcasts and ebooks? The answer is simple: By embracing social.
With a "customer-first" attitude, Strand utilizes Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and more to power lively conversations with loyal fans and followers. Even though the Strand team admits that not all of its 25,000+ Facebook fans or nearly 31,000 Twitter followers may convert to actual paying customers, the value of such a huge social following is not lost on the successful bookstore. Engagement, peer interactions and conversations unite "Friends of the Strand" in a vivacious online community.
The store's impressive collection includes over 2.5 million books, including coveted rare — even signed — editions of classics from notable authors like Kurt Vonnegut. Strand also partners with influencer brands such as Kate Spade, and receives endorsements or hosts visits from the likes of James Franco and Frank Bidart, and even Internet celebrity Lil Bub. Office pup Gizmo makes regular appearances in the Strand Instagram feed, tapping into the Internet's love of animals for some adorable pup-centric self-promotion.
Watch a video about how The Strand promotes their trade offerings through social media for some unique promotional ideas that you can adapt to your own store!