1. Learn to be social. Take the time to understand these social media platforms, and get comfortable using your computer or phone to connect with people.
2. Spread the word. Advertise your social media efforts with in-store signage or messages on your receipts.
3. Have fun. Post content that is engaging and above all, fun. If people have fun online, they’ll be drawn in store.
4. Involve your staff. Staff members want to be involved in the social parts of work, so involve them in your online efforts.
Read on for more insights and ideas from one Ontario retailer:
Gloria’s Restaurant and Convenience in Sudbury, ON recently celebrated its 61st anniversary. It’s been a staple in this community for more than half a century, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t changed and adapted to the times.
Two years ago, the management team set up a Facebook page and a Twitter account, and both have become important tools for engaging and connecting with customers.
Before any posting or tweeting began, though, manager Karri-Dee Marcoux made an important decision. “When I started, I said, if I’m going to do this, I’m going to do this seriously. So I upgraded my cell phone to give me the ability to be constantly connected to our pages,” she says.
Gloria’s Restaurant currently has 435 followers on Facebook, and 190 followers on Twitter. Building these numbers can be difficult, so the staff at Gloria’s decided to take an innovative approach to getting the word out about their social efforts. “We have a note on the bottom of all of our receipts that says ‘Check us out on Facebook’ or ‘Follow us on Twitter’ and that’s on every receipt in the store and the restaurant,” she says.
Above all, Marcoux stresses the importance of drawing people in with fun, socially minded content, because after all, social media is meant to be social.
“We have lots of fun with it, and if you can have fun with it, it creates that interaction. Oddly enough, using your computer actually helps you personalize yourself with your customers. In a weird way, you’re using technology to build relationships.”
The mantra of fun is important for Gloria’s, and the more interactive the content, the more likely it is that customers will come into the store to be part of the action.
“One time, we had this huge pumpkin that one of our employees grew in her garden. We had a contest where people had to guess the weight of the pumpkin and we did a draw for a gift card,” she explains. “We posted photos of the pumpkin on Facebook and people would come into the store to get a better view of the pumpkin in person.”
Marcoux also posts information about community events, news, menu specials, or updates on their current fundraising efforts.
Above all, Gloria’s’ active social media presence also engages staff members. “They check out the Facebook page on a regular basis, and they make comments, and then when they come in to work, I’ll try to tell them something about the specials, and they’ll already know because they saw it on Facebook!” she jokes. “I’ll ask if they have questions, and they’ll say, ‘No, I’m good! I get it!’ It keeps them informed and interested in the business. I think my staff are some of our biggest followers!”