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Grow Through Social Media; Save Time, Money & Sanity

Posted by Jason Smallheer on 1/18/17 5:30 AM
Topics: social media, college retail, Marketing to Students

You want to grow your business and everyone wants to help; vendors are promising you the first page of Google, telling you why your customers are all listening to the radio and why television is the medium of choice for you. You have Facebook ads to think about, why internet radio makes the most sense and, before you know it, you’ve pulled out your hair and you no longer care.Grow Through Social; Save Time, Money & SanityYou want more customers through your doors, you want them to return more often and you want to connect with them with minimum effort and receive maximum results. Enter your friend social media. Don’t cringe. We are going to navigate the sea of social together and highlight a few strategies which will lead to increased business and share some success stories from other stores.

Social media offers you the opportunity to reach a vast audience in a short amount of time and within a tight budget. As your presence grows, you can also benefit from your customers promoting your brand. Some college stores have created unique ideas only promoted on their social media channels.

Which social media networks are best for you? Think of your customers as a group of friends. Where are they hanging out? Inc.com offers a list of social media outlets and some characteristics of the businesses they work best for. For example, Facebook is great if you are trying to reach a broad network. Pinterest works best if you are highly visual and Twitter is perfect for the short and sweet information junkie.

Now you have an idea where your customers hang out and how you want to connect with them, now outline a plan. Posting to all your networks blindly, or taking too much time off, can have a negative impact on your business. Instead, you want to outline what you are going to say, how you’re going to say it, what images you’re going to use and who you want to see it. The content you send to students is going to be different from what you send their parents, even if the message is the same.

The wins

Build engagement instead of trying to sell on social media. Get people excited and make them like you. When they like you, they buy from you. Luther College Book Shop in Decorah, Iowa, recently promoted an event to name a store mascot. None of their social media messages communicated sale items; their sales doubled in one day. Using your social channels to build a community results in people coming to your store because they want to be there.

Changing Hands bookstore in Tempe, Arizona, sells used books, and has been for more than 40 years. They have been more successful than chain stores by giving customers the opportunity to meet authors and interacting with a local celebrity, Grumpy Cat. Book clubs, game nights, social events and even cafés are marketable through your social media channels and using photos and videos can add more depth to your message. Remember, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Time management solution

Now that you have your social media channels picked out, know who you want to speak to and when and have ideas to build engagement, you say, “I don’t have the time to do all this.”

Justin Seeley, senior graphic design instructor for Pluralsight has authored a solution on managing your social media networks and content strategy in one hour per day. His “30, 20, 10” solution is based around you picking the top three social media networks you feel will give you the best results. He then suggests ranking them in order of importance and spending 30 minutes per day on your most important network, 20 minutes on your second and 10 minutes on your third. During this timeframe, you are posting and interacting with your followers.

So as a quick recap, you can make social media your friend and bring more business to your stores by:

  1. Knowing where your customers “hang out”
  2. Planning what you want to say, how you want to say it and when it needs to be said
  3. Go in with the goal of building engagement
  4. Pick the three best networks for you and use the 30, 20, 10 rule
  5. Enjoy the new dimension of your business.

The social media landscape continues to grow and you’ll be growing with it.

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About Jason Smallheer

Jason Smallheer worked for MBS from 2016 to 2017. His diverse career includes freelance work, broadcast radio and ski resort marketing. He has a passion for sharing ideas, helping businesses grow and professional development. When not expressing himself through writing, he enjoys time with his family and being outside doing anything that can result in scuffed knees and dirty clothes.

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