Man holding a phone

If you tweet in the forest and no one is around to retweet, does your tweet make a sound?

Forgive the social media philosophical thought experiment (and meager analogy)….

But let’s say you are the proprietor of a small brick-and-mortar shop with hardly any followers. It doesn’t matter if you post something with massive potential to go viral, or something as inane as the “Do you hear ‘Yanny’ or ‘Laurel’?” debate.

Formulating a social media strategy, especially when you’re starting from scratch seems like a Herculean task.

However, there are some easy ways to leverage social media to market your shop in 2018 and beyond.

What Not to Do for Your 2018 Social Media Strategy

Before discussing smart strategies to boost your shop’s visibility, let’s get one thing out of the way….

Though it may be tempting to buy social media followers, and plenty of businesses do it, think long and hard before taking the easy way out.

While it’s true that currently, your business Facebook page may have only 73 likes, here are some reasons to not inflate those numbers artificially and quickly….

First of all, fake followers may not be real people; they’re bots. Thus, when you post on your profiles, you’ll be reaching an audience of zombies. Fake followers, even if they are real people, will not interact with your posts. And interaction and community are the name of the game when it comes to social media success.

Moreover, if a tiny percentage of your followers interact (comment, retweet, like, etc.), sites like Facebook will punish you by not making your posts prominent in the organic news feed.

There are several other reasons why it’s unwise to purchase followers. But these reasons alone hopefully are enough to deter you….

How to Grow Your List Organically Even If You’re Just Getting Started

To appear popular or influential, no doubt it’s tempting to respond to an ad promising 10,000 Facebook likes for a few hundred bucks if your business page has only 73 likes or followers.

But here’s how you can grow your list organically….

The first step is to hire a social media expert. Ok, admittedly, there are relatively few people that are worthy of that title. But certainly, there are many people in your area you can hire who have a solid understanding of how to build a social media following. Don’t have the funds to hire someone full time or even part time? Consider posting an internship opportunity geared towards Generation Z.

Don’t expert overnight miracles from you social media maven. Growing a following organically takes time. But it does involve daily effort. And when you have a business to run, having to deal with distributors, headache-inducing point-of-sale (POS) systems, flaky employees and the like, you will undoubtedly neglect your social media marketing.

A One-Person Social Media Operation

But suppose you want to go it alone. And you’re determined to work at it daily. Then what?

For starters, figure out the social media platform that will work best for you. Can your business serve as visual inspiration and appeal to Generation Z consumers? For instance, say you have a new coffee shop and your barista can top off a coffee drink with foam that’s a splitting image of the Mona Lisa. Now that’s Insta-worthy! If so, work on your Instagram account first. Don’t split your efforts by working on 5 different profiles at once; perfect each profile at a time.

The next step is to give props to other people. See an article that you like that talks about, say, the history of coffee shops? If so, like and comment on the article and follow the author that wrote it. Over time, the more people you engage with, the more others will reciprocate and follow you.

Another easy way to boost your social media organically is to ask your customers to follow your business. Offer your customers an incentivize for following you. Let’s continue with the coffee shop example. The inducement can be a free coffee drink of choice for liking or following your profile. How to implement this inducement? There are many third-party companies that can manage loyalty and rewards programs.

(If you’re starting to get a headache worrying about how managing social media will pan out, again, hire someone!)

It’s All About Your Customers

In the end, don’t worry about having 100,000 likes or followers. It’s better to have 100 followers who interact with your social media profiles than it is to have a zombie list of 100,000.

Host contests on Instagram. Ask your customers to post a photo of themselves holding their favorite frothy beverage (staying with the coffee shop example). On Facebook, ask questions and take polls. People love interacting with quizzes, contests and polls. “How many cups of coffee do you drink a day?” “What sweetener do you use for coffee and tea?” “What’s your favorite thing to do in a coffee shop?”

Not only are these questions perfect for continuing the conversation with your customers long after they’ve had their morning cup of Joe, it’s perfect fodder for market research.

And if you are indeed going to manage your social media yourself, make sure you have a best-in-class POS system so you can have more time to interact with your customers on social media.

Want to know how a point-of-sale system can help with your marketing? Contact us today for a demonstration.

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