November 21/28, 2016: Volume 31, Number 12
By Ayme Sinclair, marketing director, Stanton Carpet
We’ve all heard that social media marketing is something today’s retailer can scarcely afford to ignore. But with so many options, where should one start? Usually Facebook is the No. 1 answer. After all, it has the most amount of users (1.31 billion) and is the one most retailers already understand. But building an audience of fans through targeted ads on Facebook will cost you and then, once you have them, you’ll have to keep paying to ensure they see your content.
In contrast, Instagram is a digital platform with 300 million users with virtually no advertising dollar spend required to build an audience or to reach them with your content. The only currency you’ll need to be effective on Instagram is time. It also happens to be a favorite among the architect and design community because it’s so visual. This is a platform users go on strictly to share and view photos of things they are interested in. In a relatively short time frame you can build a community of engaged followers without spending one dime in advertising.
Social media is a great way to stay in front of your customers with the bonus of it being a two-way communication tool. You get to engage with them, thereby reinforcing your relationship, which is one of the building blocks in creating a more loyal customer. But before you can do all of that you have to figure out who they are and how to find them. Warning: Don’t fall into the trap of buying followers. While it may look impressive to have a few thousand followers right away, Instagram will eventually delete those fake accounts and you will miss an opportunity to get in front of an audience that actually cares about your business. Having 1,000 followers who aren’t in the market for home improvements and barely use Instagram will not help increase your revenues. You want the “right” audience.
There are two types of audience groups you should focus building on social media. The first group is your “niche” audience; this group comprises people in the flooring industry. Why is this group so important? In the beginning you are looking to build so it’s important to go after the low-hanging fruit and attract people who are already interested in your content. The second group you should focus on is your “target” audience. These are the people who are looking to buy what you sell.
Now that you’ve defined who you are looking for the next step is to figure out how to find them on the platform. The key to this is to figure out how they are using Instagram. Determining their interests will not only help you figure out how to get in front of them, but it will also give you strong direction on how to create engaging content for them. Once you figure out how your audience is using Instagram you can use tools such as hashtags and locations to connect with them.
Want more helpful tips on how to do this? Stanton has partnered with FCNews to create a Facebook group specifically for our retailers and retail sales associates to help them with their business and learn the ropes of using social media to sell. Join the group at: facebook.com/groups/stantonretailers.
Ayme Sinclair is the marketing director at Stanton Carpet. Her innovative social media programs in the home improvement industry have proven to be successful with explosive growth and revenue-generating leads prompting case studies from companies like Architectural Digest and General Electric.