Posted by Diane Capuano
Social media has emerged as another potential way for promoting your business, but can sending a Tweet or a text message help bring people through the front door of the retail store? Can launching a Facebook page add rings to your cash register? The answer is: Like all forms of advertising and promotion, it depends upon how you use it.
Ward Partridge, VP of Marketing for CBC Computer Systems, provides some valuable advice on using social networking and texting as a way to promote a retail business.
“Deciding if these fit your business strategy and if they are worth the efforts requires careful consideration,” Partridge said. “Also, you may want to wait to see how these networks mature and if they are really suitable for promoting your local business.”
Partridge advised retail store owners to start by considering which social sites their customers and prospective customers use and how they use them. “Your customers may well be using Facebook, but they may only use it for family/personal communications and not for business contacts,” he said.
Next, Partridge said retailers should consider how to use social media to get results and how they will be able to measure those results. “You could offer a Facebook coupon such as ‘Come in before the end of October and mention our Facebook site and save $10 off you next order (over $50 before taxes).’ Then set up a new coupon SKU in your POS system such as ‘October Facebook Coupon’ to track the response.”
However, Partridge cautioned retailers against abusing their customers’ trust when they provide you with additional ways to contact them. “If you plan on using a new technology as a means to communicate with your customers, then you need to be sure to use a customer’s ‘address’ or cell number in the way they intended,” he stressed. “Sending them unsolicited material is a sure method of annoying your customer and violating the trust the put in your business by providing their personal contact information.”
However, emailing copies of invoices, quotations and statements is a good way to use the technology. “Your customer desires to receive these documents electronically, and you configure your system to match and satisfy the customer request without offending your customer’s trust,” Partridge said. “Good use of texting could be notifying your customer that ‘Your special order wallpaper is ready for pick-up.’ Knowing your customer’s intentions and expectations are critical to success.”
Tags: Social Media