Marketing is built on human relationships. Social media marketing can help improve and grow these relationships. Businesses have been using social media marketing to grow these relationships for several years. This became even more important during the pandemic. Without access to in-person events and limited access to in-person shopping, it became more important than ever to connect with customers through social media marketing. This blog will help you decide why and when to post on social media as a retailer to get more clicks and make more sales.
1. What is social media marketing?
Social media marketing uses social media platforms to connect with your customers. It can build your brand, drive website traffic, and increase your sales. There are many different channels in social media and each has its own part to play in a marketing strategy.
LinkedIn is the top-rated organic social media platform for B2B users, responsible for 80% of the B2B leads for social media.
TikTok’s growth over the last year has been huge. In January 2021, there were 689 million users. In September 2021, it surpassed the 1 billion user mark. That translates to a 45% increase in less than a year. It is now the 7th most popular social network in the world.
3. Why is social media marketing important for retail businesses?
As more and more people connect with others and shop on social media, social media marketing is more important than ever for retail businesses. A HubSpot Marketing Trends survey showed that “social media is the most effective channel marketers leverage, as well as the channel they use most.” Social commerce is selling products directly from your social media platform and social media marketing helps to drive more sales. According to an Accenture report, social commerce will reach $1.2 trillion by 2025, up from $492 billion in 2021.
This is good news for small businesses. As the report also indicates, instead of favoring big retailers, there will be a power shift towards small businesses in the next few years. That means there will be millions of individuals and small businesses selling to one another in a large social commerce network. Big brands will continue to face increasing competition from these smaller businesses. Since 62% of consumers say that they trust small and local businesses more than major retailers, now is a great opportunity to use social media marketing to expand your customer base and increase sales.
3. Why social media marketing vs. traditional marketing?
When discussing this topic, many people fall into the trap of thinking that you can only do one of these. Social media marketing provides many benefits over traditional – it is still important to use both!
Social media marketing is one of the most powerful avenues for marketing in the information era. You and most of the people around you are most likely already using social media. In fact, 57.6% of the world’s population uses social media. If you have a target audience, chances are they are already using social media. So what are the benefits of social media?
Measuring and analytics
Tracking the performance of marketing campaigns has never been easier. With social media marketing, you can view how well your strategies are performing. Metrics like the following give you a good idea on the efficacy of your campaign:
Reach (the number of people who have seen your content)
The demographics and geographical location of people reached
Conversion rates (how many people are actually doing something from your ad, like claiming a promotional code from your post) and exit rate (number of people leaving after seeing your content)
Bounce rate (% of people who left after visiting one page of your website)
Number of likes/favorites/shares on your post
These are jus a few metrics you could look at. The rise of digital marketing has made marketing a much more understandable process.
Each social media offers various methods for targeting audiences. Targeting features include location, age, interests/likes, age and more. This lets you find your specific audience and market directly to them. Targeting on traditional marketing (like newspaper ads) was always very general.
You can get more bang for your buck with social media marketing. Traditional marketing methods can be expensive. Social media can help you reach a bigger audience at a cheaper price!
Traditional methods like flyers have this bogus feeling to them. When consumers look at them they feel like they are being sold something. With social media you can make content which feels organic. This keeps your audience have more trust in your brand.
Old school advertisements were a one way conversation. It would be the brand communicating to a consumer, and not the other way around. With social media you can have many ways of communication. Brands can connect with customers, customers can engage back with them. On top of that, customer can even interact with other customers!
These are just some of the benefits social media provides over traditional marketing.
4. How do I create a social media strategy?
It’s important to remember that content quality is more important than content quantity. In other words, what you post is more important than how much you post. Posting consistency is also more important than posting frequency.
If you haven’t built an audience yet, don’t worry. There are still some universal things to consider with your social media strategy. In general, there are 4 things involved when posting on social channels:
a) Having a clear objective in mind
When creating a social media strategy, it’s important to know what you’re trying to achieve. If you don’t have a goal, you won’t know if your marketing strategy is working. This means knowing if your intention is to drive more foot traffic to your store, increase online sales, improve customer service, promote new products to existing customers, etc.
b) Determine the best channel(s) for your business
There are a lot of social media channels and new ones are starting all the time. Most businesses don’t have a dedicated team or the resources to promote their business on every channel. The best way to get better engagement on social media is to start by focusing on the social media channels your customers are most likely to use or be active on.
c) Determine the best time to post on social media
You will need to manage your audience’s expectations. If you decide that your customers respond best to Facebook posts on Tuesdays and Thursdays, for example, you should post on those days. Your customers will know that they can visit your Facebook page on Tuesdays and Thursdays and find new content.
When developing your social media strategy, look at your past engagement to see which customers responded most at certain times. Use this information to test posting dates and times and then analyze the results. You will need to figure out the best times to post on social media so you can engage the right customers at the right time.
d) Consider using social media scheduling tools
Instead of rushing to post on each social media channel individually, it’s a lot easier to schedule social media posts in advance. This will give you time to focus on other aspects of your business. To make it easier, many of the social media scheduling tools will let you create templates of the types of posts that get the most engagement and sales conversions.
5. When are the best times for retailers to post to social media?
Besides your own understanding of your customers, you can also refer to the best practices of other retailers. In general, the best times for retailers to post on social media are 10:00 am on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays to get the most likes or engagement.
Facebook: The best time to post on Facebook is 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Instagram: The best time to post on Instagram is 11:00 am on Wednesdays
Twitter: The best time to post on Twitter is 8:00 AM on Mondays and Thursdays.
LinkedIn: The best time to post on LinkedIn is 9:00 AM on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
TikTok: The best times to post on TikTok are 7:00 am PST on Tuesdays, 10:00 am PST on Thursdays, and 5:00 am PST on Fridays.
More and more shoppers are using live chat for product information and pricing. When you use our built-in Facebook Messenger feature you can respond to shoppers, right when they’re checking out your online store.
With TAKU, you can reach local shoppers, wherever they are. Attract more local shoppers, right when they are searching for what you sell. Run high-performing Google Shopping ads that can be activated and managed directly from TAKU for as little as $5/day.
After several years of restrictions, shoppers are increasingly looking for opportunities to celebrate their lives. While many retailers make a significant portion of their sales at the end of the year, there are a lot of other seasonal holidays that can help to spread out sales throughout the year.
If you’re looking for merchandising ideas and sales opportunities, consider adding some of the following celebrations this year to your retail holiday marketing calendar.
Black History Month (February)
Lunar / Chinese New Year, Asia
Note that this holiday follows a lunisolar calendar. Therefore the timing of the holiday changes every year and can start any time from the end of January to mid-February. It is usually a 3 week festive period with the first day being celebrated as the New Year day. For the New Year day in the Gregorian calendar until 2031, you can refer to this website.
Super Bowl Sunday (February 13)
Valentine’s Day (February 14)
President’s Day (February 21)
Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday (March 1)
St. Patrick’s Day (March 17)
International Women’s Day (March 8)
Daylight Savings Time begins (March 13)
Spring Break/March Break (March 14 – 18)
White Day, Asia (March 14)
Holi Festival (March 18)
First Day of Spring (March 20)
April Fool’s Day (April 1)
Ramadan begins (April 2)
Note, this holiday is also dependent on a lunar calendar
National Pet Day (April 11)
Tax Season (April 15)
Good Friday (April 15)
Easter (April 17)
Passover (April 15 – 23)
Earth Day (April 22)
Wedding Season (May)
Graduation Day (May)
Ramadan ends (May 2)
Note, this holiday is also dependent on a lunar calendar
Eid al-Fitr (May 3)
Note, this holiday is also dependent on a lunar calendar
Cinco de Mayo (May 5)
Victoria Day, Canada (May 23)
Mother’s Day (May 8)
Memorial Day, US (May 30)
Pride Month (June 1- 30)
World Environment Day (June 5)
Father’s Day (June 19)
Juneteenth, US (June 19)
Summer Solstice (June 21)
Canada Day (July 1)
US Independence Day (July 4)
Islamic New Year (July 29 – 30)
Back to School season begins
Back to School season ends
Labor Day (September 5)
Grandparents’ Day (September 11)
National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15)
Get shoppers through your door by displaying your seasonal merchandise (whether you plan on using an entire aisle or a single point-of-purchase display) at a prominent location. Use proper signage to lead shoppers to your Halloween-themed merchandise and displays, will also make them more likely to purchase.
Not selling Halloween-themed products? You can still decorate your store with some festive decorations and visual merchandising. Think about creating a window or point-of-purchase display that showcases products that you already sell – but with a twist. You can use spider webs, jack-o-lanterns, leaves, and fall colours (black, orange, red etc.) to spook things up.
Completely revamping your store’s website is time-consuming and in some cases, it can be expensive. But adding a Halloween touch to your website can go a long way in getting shoppers in a festive spirit. Including Halloween images on your homepage, fixing themed add-ons, and adding pop-up designs are all cost-effective and easy ways to add a spooky feel.
You can also drive more shoppers to your website by creating a separate page (a landing page) dedicated to Halloween. Here are a few tips:
Create a Halloween gift guide for your shoppers that features all of your Halloween merchandise. If you don’t sell Halloween merchandise, consider posting helpful Halloween content. Some good content or blog post ideas include: “Halloween costume ideas for children”, “Halloween decor ideas”,”DIY costumes for adults”, and “tips for hosting a Halloween party”.
Use Halloween keywords (this will help your store appear higher up in search).
Promote any seasonal discounts or promotions that you are holding.
Don’t forget to decorate your social media and email marketing campaigns for Halloween as well!
Adjust for high traffic hours: while you want to keep ads active 24/7, it is a good idea to boost ad performance during high traffic hours. This includes the hours that your store is open and when your shoppers are most likely to search.
Consider physical location: Users closest to your store (20-35 km radius) are much more likely to visit than others who are. Target local shoppers by increasing bids for users that are closest to your store.
For more information on how your retail store can easily implement Google LIAs to increase foot traffic and sales, click here.
4) Add Halloween Products
If your store doesn’t sell any Halloween merchandise, you can consider selling seasonal items to boost your store sales.
The following are some good examples of how retailers can add in popular seasonal offerings:
Thanksgiving weekend (from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday) is one of the biggest shopping events of the year. Black Friday will look different this year as more COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted. It will be a chance for shoppers to re-emerge in store to do their shopping.
This is the perfect opportunity for retailers to attract more shoppers with Black Friday marketing to increase store visits and sales. To take full advantage of the holiday weekend, retailers need to be prepared to meet shopper demand and expectations.
Black Friday Shopper Insights And Trends
Despite the impact of the pandemic, Black Friday sales in 2020 were surprisingly strong. Although brick-and-mortar stores saw a decline in foot traffic and sales, 2020 was a year for e-commerce. According to Adobe Analytics, online sales in the US went up by a whopping 21.6% from the previous year.
From the same survey, it was reported that 44% of consumers planned to shop small and support local retailers. Compared to previous months, local retailers did see a 545% increase in sales around Black Friday. This is good news for local retailers who want to take advantage of the spending season.
Keep reading to find out how you can take advantage of these trends and increase your retail sales!
6 Retail Store Marketing Tips
1) Improve Your Local Online Presence
Research shows that shoppers are looking to Google and conducting searches even more now prior to visiting physical stores. This shows that valid and accurate online information make it easier for shoppers to purchase in-store. This means that, even without an online store, it’s important to improve your online presence.
If your business cannot easily be found online, there’s a large chance that you are losing out on potential shoppers to your competitors. Here is a quick checklist that will help you review how your retail store appears online:
Check to see if you business information and holiday hours are updated on Google My Business.
You can use tools like Yext to run a scan of how your business appears on listings / online directories across the web (Google, Yahoo, Bing etc).
If you’ve moved or want to be found on more local directories, sign up for a one-time local listing service through services such as The Hoth or Fat Joe.
Encourage or even offer a small incentive to get your happy customers to leave a positive review on your Google My Business store profile. Make sure that you reply to customer reviews whether they are good or bad. You’ll want to ensure that your customers are regularly leaving reviews as 90% of customers read online reviews before visiting a business. Click here to find out how you can gather more positive reviews for your retail business.
Retailers with websites need to make sure that their websites are mobile-friendly. You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly test to check how easy it is for shoppers to view your website on their mobile phones.
2) Engage With Shoppers After The Holiday Weekend Is Over
This means that in order to capture this chunk of customers, retailers should build on the existing interest and run promotions or events even after the Black Friday weekend. To reach as many shoppers as possible, run email marketing campaigns possibly together with digital marketing ads to promote your unique products and deals!
By partnering with local businesses, you can provide unique deals that shoppers will have a hard time passing up. And this way, you don’t have to risk low profit margins. In fact, you can still sell products at regular price or even at a premium.
The best collaboration strategies include:
Selling products in bundles: Packaging products that complement each other in one product bundle is a great way to increase your store’s average order value. For example, pairing three lipstick shades with a skincare product or, bundling sweaters with a free bag. In order for this strategy to work, it’s obviously a good idea to partner with another retailer that sells complementary products.
Offer partner promotions / discounts: Another effective strategy includes cross-promoting. For example, shoppers will receive 10% off of total sale or free shipping at your partner’s business when they purchase $50 or more at your store. You can print promotional material on your receipts and customers can use this as a voucher.
Black Friday is a great opportunity to strengthen your relationship with your most loyal shoppers. After all, they are best customers and the ones most interested in your products.
By adding exclusivity to your email marketing campaigns, you increase psychological rewards like a sense of belonging and importance. This is why exclusivity makes your promotional offers appear more attractive to shoppers vs. simply pricing and encourages them to visit your store.
Remember – shoppers receive too many emails during this time of year. So make your emails stand out with:
Clear offers in the subject line (for example: Exclusive VIP Sale)
Personalized subject lines (personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened). Or, you could include the shopper’s first name in the email opening line.
A short, simple, and to the point message.
5) Promote Urgency
The majority of shoppers (92%) believe that strong deals will be offered all throughout the holiday season. And with so many competitors offering deals during the weekend, shoppers are left with a lot of decisions to make. That’s why it’s necessary to create a sense a urgency with your Black Friday marketing campaigns.
Urgency is a widely used marketing tool in retail. And for good reason – creating a sense of urgency in shoppers increases demand and ultimately leads to more purchases. Create an incentive for shoppers to take action by running your promotions for a limited time. One effective way to create time pressure is to include a countdown timer on your website or in your email campaign. Show your shoppers how many days, hours, and minutes are remaining for them to get a deal on their favorite items.
6) Highlight Stock Availability
Stock availability is a type of FOMO or “Fear Of Missing Out” that encourages shoppers to take action. It’s a good idea to emphasize that certain items are limited or low in stock in your marketing campaigns or on your e-commerce site. If you do not have an online store, it’s a good idea to run Google Local Inventory Ads and take advantage of digital marketing that helps you promote automatically based on product availability. If your POS is linked directly to these type of Google Ads, stock availability will adjust based on real-time shelf quantities and save you the hassle of manual updates.
These ads work by targeting nearby shoppers who are searching online for products that your store sells. Google LIAs are effective because they capture shopper intent at the moment that they are looking to purchase. Click here to learn how your store can easily implement Google LIAs together with your POS system to increase store sales and foot traffic.
Omnichannel Shopping Are The New Reality Of Retail
Regardless of what stage you are at, moving your retail business online, consider the strategies above to improve how well you serve your customers online this year during the all-important holiday shopping season.
Rather than interruption, digital marketing focuses on delivering useful information at the exact moment that target shoppers are looking for it.
What are the Benefits of Digital Marketing Over Traditional Marketing Methods?
Easily Measure Marketing Campaigns
Traditional marketing methods are difficult to track. For example, how do you know how many people saw your newspaper or magazine advertisement in a day? Or how many shoppers you attracted because of it?
Since traditional marketing is so difficult to measure, you won’t know if your marketing budget is being spent effectively.
On the other hand, digital marketing gives you the ability to measure results with advanced analytics. This includes:
The number of people reached (people who saw your content)
The demographics and geographical location of the people reached
Conversion rates (an actual sale, a completed download, a subscriber, etc.) Average session duration (the time spent looking at your content)Exit rate (where people left after viewing your content)
Bounce rate (the percentage of people who left after viewing only one page of your website)
E-mail open rate (percentage of shoppers who opened your e-mail)
Click-Through-Rate (CTR) (percentage of shoppers who clicked on the link in your advertisement)
As you can see, digital marketing provides very useful, real-time data.
At the touch of a button, you know which methods are working and which are not, giving you the ability to adjust your campaigns to achieve better results.
Traditional marketing methods reach a broad audience. Which means that there is no guarantee your advertisement will be seen by your target shoppers.
There is a chance an ad may reach your target shoppers eventually – but it’s like taking a shot in the dark.
Let’s say you are advertising your furniture store on a billboard. What are the chances that every person passing by it is actually interested in purchasing furniture?
Targeting capabilities are much more effective with digital marketing.
This is because you are able to select who sees your marketing campaign. Digital platforms (Facebook, Google, Instagram etc.) allow you to target shoppers based on their gender, age, geographical location, personal interests, their search results, etc.
This means your advertisements will only be shown to those who are most likely to be interested in your products! This way, you can be certain that your marketing budget is being spent more effectively.
Larger retailers have no problem spending millions of dollars on traditional marketing and advertising. This makes it extremely difficult for small retailers with limited budgets to compete.
That’s why digital marketing is the perfect alternative; you can create a similar impact at a much lower cost.
The graph above shows the cost per thousand impressions (often referred to as CPM in marketing) for 7 different marketing tactics. 6 of the tactics are traditional marketing methods while 1 is a digital marketing tool.
While the final cost will vary by industry, social media marketing still allows you to reach 1,000 potential customers at a much lower cost than traditional marketing methods.
This means you can spend less money and still reach more shoppers. Or, you can choose to spend the same amount of money and reach even more shoppers!
Compared to traditional marketing, digital marketing methods are generally more cost effective and can offer a higher return on investment.
Target Shoppers at the Right Place and at the Right Time
Think about the last time you needed information – where did you turn?
This is why digital marketing has a huge advantage over traditional marketing. It allows retailers to reach buyers directly – at the right place and at the right time. In other words, you can meet shoppers with relevant and useful information at the exact moment that they are looking for it!
With traditional marketing, you are reaching buyers indirectly through interruption. You can only hope that magazine readers stop to read your advertisement or that drivers notice your billboard on the highway.
But because advertisements are everywhere, most people find them annoying and as a result, they are often ignored. This is why traditional marketing is becoming less effective.
Value vs. Interruption
Traditional marketing methods use interruption to gain the attention of an audience. This is why most people hate receiving sales flyers or inconvenient phone calls. It doesn’t feel authentic.
People just don’t trust sales-focused advertisements. They see hundreds of them a day and have gotten used to ignoring them.
Nowadays, shoppers are looking for valuable and useful information that will help them make purchasing decisions. This includes product reviews, blogs, and informative videos.
With digital marketing you don’t have to grab the attention of shoppers – because you already have it!
Want to know more about off-season marketing strategies for retail stores?
Back-to-school is a time of change for many people – teachers, parents, and most importantly students. Many see it as a fresh start and a time for new perspectives.
Smart retailers will play on these feelings with creative marketing tactics.
3 Back-to-School Promotions to Help you Sell More
Even if your store has no connection to back-to-school or college, you can still engage with your shoppers in a memorable way.
Here’s how: cater your promotions to shoppers by using change as a marketing tool.
Listed below are 3 promotion strategies that can help you sell more.
1) A free gift with every purchase made
This type of promotion offers every shopper who spends a certain amount in-store ($50 or above, $60 or above etc.) a free item.
One example of a gift with purchase could be a back-to-school basket with different school supplies. You can also print your brand name on each of the items in the basket. It doesn’t necessarily have to be school related either – popular store merchandise or a gift card are also effective gifts.
The benefits of this promotion strategy include:
attracting shoppers’ attention
increasing the likelihood of impulse buys
making it easier to up-sell and cross-sell
improving shopper experience
enhancing attraction and remembrance of your brand
Social media contests are a great tool to increase sales and generate a buzz online. As most shoppers (college students and millennials especially) are conducting product research online, it is also a great method to reach target shoppers.
This back-to-school season, 49% of K-12 families and 45% of college shoppers are planning to shop online. So get in front of these consumers by running a giveaway or contest with effective prizes.
Here are some ideas for effective prizes:
A “back-to-school survival kit” for different ages of students.
A de-stress prize such as a gift card for a popular restaurant or spa nearby (consider partnering with a local business)
Free tickets to fall festivals, concerts, apple picking or other events
Here are some examples of creative back-to-school tie ins:
A store that sells cleaning supplies could offer discounted packages for college students. It could be marketed it as an all-in-one package for cleaning dorm rooms.
A health food store or grocery store could give away healthy meal plans and recipes for college students. Or alternatively – recipes for preparing healthy lunches for children.
Families love including their pets in holidays, birthdays, and other milestones. So a pet store could offer back-to-school merchandise for pets! Pet-smart is a great example of a store that has leveraged back-to-school. In the past, the retailer has taken advantage of the back-to-school season with their school-themed pet gear.
Want to know more about how to increase foot traffic to your store?