Helping retailers monetise social media – the finer points

By Jonathon Nunan Australia’s Bicycle Industry Consultant & Commentator

Having kicked us off with an introduction to monetising social media at the tail end of October, CyclingIndustry.News is now pleased to bring you the second half, a piece that drills down into where to focus your time and money.

Spend most of your money and time on Facebook

No other social media site is structured to, or as capable of generating sales, than Facebook. These days you can set up a Facebook shop. You can and should, use Facebook ads. Be sure to use the “Customer Audiences” and “Lookalike Audiences” tools, to help you target the most relevant followers. Periodically pay to ‘boost’ your Facebook posts as well for much bigger reach.

Offer special ‘follower’ only promos, discounts or money can’t buy invites – and then track the take up

This is a great way to make followers feel special, but also the best way to get them to convert their following into actual cash. Using specific codes for each promotion and channel (site), will help you to see who reacted to what and where. Which will in turn help you to better plan your next promotion and grow your sales.

Use video content: as long as it’s entertaining or informative.

Social media is a dark art and the algorithms that sit behind them or opaque and mystical. But one thing we do know for sure is that engaging content is king (and vice versa). No content is more engaging than good video content. Videos help to drive up your ranking, reach and response (as well as your SEO). Create how-to videos. Unveiling new products on live stream. Film entertaining and endearing staff profiles. Record shop rides. Just make sure its entertaining or informative; and ideally both.

Consider ‘Affiliate’ Marketing

Affiliate marketing is basically paying other people or businesses, who have either a large or niche following, to promote your business or products; whether it be through direct reference, or by advertising space or links on their sites and feeds. Have you got a well-followed influencer in your area or circles who you would be willing to pay a commission or regular fee to promote your business? Worth considering.

Use #Hashtags – Especially on Twitter and Instagram

Using hashtags (#) in your posts helps to either bind or signify your content to your pages, or to help attach other people, followers or organisations to your posts. There is simply no better method or tool to help you do this than the humble hashtag. Use 3-5 per post; primarily with your Twitter and Instagram posts. It will draw more eyeballs into your sphere and hopefully further down the funnel towards your products and services.

If you’re using Instagram (which you should) – Be fussy with your photos and your taglines

As with store fit outs or merchandising, consumers are pretty well trained, if not spoilt with regards their expectations on such things. The bar has raised, whether you like it or not. If you want to attract and retain following, you have to hit the mark every time. The same goes for the images you post on Instagram. It is a visual medium at the end of the day. Instagram followers are there for the pretty pictures and the emotional response that brings. If you don’t bring your A-game with regards the quality and appeal of the pictures you post, you’re wasting your time. The same goes for the taglines you put with your posts. If you can’t think of anything cool or witty to say with your post; ask someone who can.

Watermark your images

Assuming firstly the images are yours, watermark them with your logo or business name. This will not only make your images look more professional, but it will help reinforce the brand connection with the content, which in turn helps to improve the engagement, retention and conversion. It also stops competitors ‘borrowing’ your images. Unless they want to help promote your business of course.

Sign up to LinkedIn ‘Sales Navigator’ for big game fishing

LinkedIn is often described as ‘Facebook for business people’. It is primarily a B2B engagement, recruitment and communication tool. For most bike shops, LinkedIn is probably more useful for your relationships and engagement and for keeping track of suppliers, industry data, technology & trend developments, peers and competitors. But if you’re a store with aspirations of chasing business from other businesses, institutions or organisations, then LinkedIn is certainly the tool for you. Sign up to Sales Navigator, so you can drill down and target very specific targets, get access to direct lines of communication with those targets and also better track and develop leads or opportunities.

Social media is part science, part numbers game and part ‘dark arts’. While it shouldn’t be relied up to replace the functions of your dedicated website or e-Commerce platforms, it can be used very effectively as a sales funnel. But only if you take the time to understand the game, invest appropriately and use the right channels in the right way. We all like to be liked. But we like to pay the bills and grow our businesses even more.

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