Socializing with Your Fans

Last month I wrote about the importance of optimizing your website for search engines because people searching have a need, and if you can fill that need, you have the opportunity to acquire those searchers as customers.

Social Media in Your Marketing Mix

While social media is also a part of your online marketing, it plays a different role in your marketing mix. People engage with social media to socialize, share interests, and keep in touch with the people and businesses they have chosen to connect with. They are most likely looking to be entertained and informed versus looking for a particular product or service.

The use of social media continues to grow and millions of users visit social media sites every day, often many times throughout the day. Some of the social media sites are the most visited websites in the world. Social media is happening more often on mobile devices, approximately 80% of smartphone owners use them to access their social networks and roughly 55% of them will go to their social network at least once a day. The ability to easily engage while on the go adds to the propagation of social media.

The size and scope of social media usage emphasizes the importance of a good social media plan for your retail store. While using social media sites is free, keeping an ongoing dialogue takes time and effort and will require an allocation of human resources. You want to have an outline of your overall goals for social media and also parameters for measuring the results of your efforts.

Engage with Your Audience

Let's look at how you can use social media to engage with your audience.

Always include PHOTOS and IMAGES
Whenever you can add photos and images to your updates. Posts with images grab more attention. For example, Facebook posts with images have a 37% higher engagement rate.

Post with images and photos

Provide the Basics
Always include your basic business information in your social media profile including the type of store and products offered, store location, directions, hours and phone number. If you are posting about upcoming events, make sure to include the specific details, or include a link to this information on your website.

Define Your Brand
Social media provides a place to share a more inside view of your company and your people. Use this platform to show who you are and what you value. Highlight your role in your community and the organizations that your business supports, including volunteer work that you and your employees do. I am always impressed by how much support local businesses provide to their area schools and nonprofits.

Build a Community
Social media was made for creating a community of people that share similar interests. As a retail store in the arts and crafts category, you have the opportunity to build a community of creative individuals that share a strong, self-driven interest in art, design, and making things. You can connect with them by sharing ideas and images from your store, your people, classes and demos.

Share Your Promotions
Your fans on social media are the perfect audience for sharing your sales and promotions. They are most likely interested in your products and can also share your posts with their friends, spreading your offers out to new audiences.

Expand the Reach of Your Social Media

By following a number businesses Facebook, I have seen their excellent use of this social media platform. There are often posts with great photos highlighting recent events including classes, demos and more. These images really bring the business to life and give their audience a feel for their store and the people that are a part of their community.

I recommend finding a way to include some of this information on your website, it would be an excellent way to add new content (which search engines like) and will showcase your active and vibrant retail space. Using a news or blog section is an easy way to regularly add content to your website. Another way to maximize your social media messaging is to create a feed to your website, so that your most recent social media posts show up on your home page.

Please feel free to send your thoughts, questions, and ideas to

Article originally appeared in:
International Art Materials Retail Association (NAMTA) enews on July 10, 2013

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