Dealers trust you for insights on how to move your brand’s products. Brands trust you to energize those dealers and make it happen. You bring great value to the table for both of them. One way you can continuously enhance and support that value is to stay up-to-date on channel marketing tactics. In today’s digital sales and marketing world, social media is too powerful to ignore, yet not every small retailer understands it or uses it to its full potential. This is your chance to be their hero. Learn these five things about social media marketing to help brands and dealers succeed.
1. Forgoing Social Media Makes Your Business Invisible
To put it simply, retailers cannot afford to skip out on social media. Smaller companies, in particular, may hope to bank on word-of-mouth and local awareness, while believing they don’t have time to manage social media accounts. It’s true, your dealers probably balance a wide range of tasks and are short on extra time. However, social media is not the place to cut corners.
Consider these statistics:
- 75% of shoppers age 18–26 use recommendations on social sites in product research before making a purchase.
- When a user searches for a business type or product, social media sites are often among the top search results.
- 76% of consumers have made a purchase based on a product they saw on social media.
The digital space has grown increasingly important as COVID-19 has driven foot traffic online, where it is likely to stay even after the pandemic. Once people develop new habits, they tend to stick with them.
A retailer may hope they can rely on Google to give them visibility on the internet. However, ranking well on Google for popular products and services requires a dedicated search engine optimization strategy and continuous maintenance of their website content. In addition, many customers, particularly Millennials and Gen Z, may skip search engines altogether and search directly in their favorite social platform.
2. A Business Doesn’t Have to Use Every Social Platform to Succeed
One of the offputting aspects of social media marketing is the overwhelming number of social platforms out there, and the rate at which each one rolls out new features. There are social media professionals for whom keeping up with all this technology is a full time job.
If you encounter a retailer who says they simply can’t manage five or six different platforms, recommend that they do a little research. They can learn platforms their target audience uses most and which one best fits into their overall marketing strategy. There are many studies out there on who uses which social media platforms, but local retailers can get even more granular by surveying their current customers. They need to tailor their content to their own local audience.
Once they identify their key social media platforms, they can pour their energy into making those channels truly engaging and valuable to users. High-quality, useful content in one channel makes a much greater impact than a few halfhearted posts scheduled haphazardly across many channels. (For added goodwill, share with your dealers these four tips for setting up a company Facebook page.)
3. Social Media Enables Sales and Customer Retention
The bottom line about social media marketing is that, if done right, it works. As with any marketing tactic, you can gauge the success based on ROI. Social media makes ROI easy, since every interaction with customers is carefully tracked and easy to reference. Most social platforms include their own built-in analytics tools, and others are available.
Social media marketing can provide measurable results for retailers in several areas:
- Increased brand awareness — this can be measured by number of followers, comments, likes and shares
- Increased website traffic — analytics on the company website will show how many visitors click through from a social channel
- Better loyalty and retention — customers will stick around as long as there is continuous, useful content that lets them get the most out of the products they buy, along with responsive customer service
- More sales — some platforms allow a customer to click to buy directly in the channel, while others persuade the user to click to the website or visit the store to make a purchase
Each retailer will define success for themselves, based on their goals, and adjust their social media strategy accordingly.
4. Successful Social Media Doesn’t Have to be Difficult
Technology can save tremendous time and energy when developing and executing a social media marketing strategy. There are apps and programs that help anyone edit photos and create graphics. Other tools can monitor certain hashtags and trending topics to let you know what your audience is talking about. That’s just content creation — the next step is to syndicate the content.
Social media automation simplifies the process tremendously. With social media automation, posts are pre-planned and then distributed on a set schedule or according to when the time is best to reach potential customers. Numerous social media management tools enable content distribution, ranging from free to quite costly, depending on the range of features and number of social media accounts. Unfortunately, social media scheduling platforms come with limitations. One is that, when each retailer is using their own, the brand gets no insight into what’s happening and no control over the consistency.
5. Social Media is a Collaborative Enterprise
To overcome the risks to consistency and transparency mentioned above, brands and retailers should collaborate on social media strategy. Brands can lead the way by creating high-quality visual content — which they likely already do — and making it available to their dealers.
Brands and dealers can elevate each other’s presence by sharing and interacting with each other’s content. The more engagement a given post gets, the more the social media platform’s algorithm will show it in users’ feeds, so visibility spreads exponentially. The brand benefits from having their content seen in local markets, and the retailer benefits by showcasing that they carry the brands customers want. The challenge is making it easy for brands and retailers to collaborate.
ThumbStopper Brings it All Together
ThumbStopper was designed to bridge the content gap between brands and retailers. It takes the high-quality content that brands invest in so heavily, and sends it straight to the feeds of their local dealers. It’s completely hands-free for the dealer once they sign up. They still get to create any posts they want to, about their local area or events, but ThumbStopper takes the brand content off of their lengthy to-do list.