Shops are shuttered, business doors are closed, and people are being asked to stay home. To shop online for what they need. But where does that leave brick-and-mortar retailers, especially smaller businesses that rely on regular customers and foot traffic to keep the bills paid? For many, the answer to that question is “scrambling to get something working online.”
For some retailers, especially those who already have a robust online presence, this effort is essentially figuring out the best way to upscale operations. For others, this is a major learning curve with essentially no time to learn. That’s daunting, but, even if they succeed in learning how to use the various platforms their customers prefer, what kind of content works best to drive sales? Here are a few ideas:
First and foremost, retailers, large and small, need to understand that social media is all about making connections and creating an interactive experience. Sellers do not need to be on-camera pros to create that connection and deliver a compelling interactive experience. They just need to understand their audience, be authentic, and keep people interested.
Some retailers are finding success with online games, related trivia, virtual challenges, unboxings, Q&As, and other consumer-targeted content that keeps people not only watching but interacting as well. Once again, authenticity is key here. Stale, canned lists and in-your-face asks will not work. Be warm, inviting, positive, and, most important, real.
Practice working with platforms like Facebook and Instagram that offer a “story” function. Ask questions, introduce ideas, share insights, and, above all else: invite further connection. Give people good reasons to visit your other platforms on the web and social media. But don’t make it a scavenger hunt. Work on creating a natural flow to their response, so they’re doing what you need them to do without feeling led.
Broadcast live to get real-time responses to common questions and discover what the audience is looking for or interested in at that moment. Then be prepared to fulfill that interest and meet their needs.
Keep your content on-brand. If you’re selling fitness equipment or gear, share tips and ask the audience to interact by sharing how they’re working out and what’s working for them. Fashion companies could ask fans to model their brand and celebrate how fabulous they look. Grocers and food brands could suggest cooking contests and ask their fans to share their favorite recipes using their products.
The ultimate goal is to get people involved, to create connections around the brand. Bring people together with the intention of facilitating connection to the brand and to each other.