As a shop or boutique owner, I cannot begin to tell you how important it is to use social media. Though I know you’re juggling a lot (customer service inquiries, packaging for shipping, inventory), social media should be a top priority for you. Why you ask?
Social media helps you interact one-on-one with your customers as well as gain you brand recognition. It doesn’t have to be as hard as you think, but it is a important tool to make use of. I’m not going to go as far to say it can make or break your business, but if used properly it can only really help.
Benefits For Shop and Boutiques Who Use Social Media
1. Social Media Has Become The New Referral System
People want to buy products that their friends use because if it’s good enough for your friends, it should be good enough for you. So when my best friend posts a selfie with that new top she bought at the boutique downtown, you better believe I’m heading downtown as soon as possible to check it out.
Tip: Comment, like and repeat! See someone post an Instagram with your product? Comment. Someone post on your Facebook page about how great your customer service was? Comment back! Don’t just post one-word answers. Craft a meaningful answer so when that person sees it they’ll think, “Wow, they responded to me! That’s awesome!”
2. Social Media Is The New Google
Just kidding (kind of), but Google isn’t going anywhere soon. The greatest part about every Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram is that you can search using hashtags and descriptions. If a customer needs outfit inspiration for the next date night, she’ll search in Pinterest and she could find your pin!
Pinterest is a great tool for this — it literally acts like a more visual Google search. Next time you’re working on your alt descriptions for you shop’s products, think of what your customer would be searching. That will help you get found on Pinterest!
3. Social Media Is The New Form Of Customer Service
I believe this is the most important reason shops and boutiques should be using social media. Because your customers are more likely to find you on social media (thanks to the reasons above), they’re also more likely to contact you that way too.
Tip: Make sure to always check your messages, even if it looks like nothing is there. Nothing’s worse than finding an old, unread message winding up in your other folder.
Another Tip: Keep canned responses on hand. Many customers may inquire as to current sales, product or service information, care instructions. As you continue to use your social media, make note of what questions get asked the most. Then, include those questions on your FAQ page on your website as well as create a canned response to copy and paste when answering customers.
4. Social Media Makes You Relevant
In the past several years, social media has become so popular that it’s now the norm to be on at least one platform. Having an online presence shows that your business continues to thrive with the changing economy and technology. It can definitely get your business’s name out to more people, but it will only do that if you make the effort.
Tip: Plan time throughout the week to be present on social media. While you can schedule posts to go up themselves, no one else (unless you hire someone to do it) can respond to comments, answer questions or have a conversation with customers or other small business owners.
It doesn’t matter if you are selling a handmade dog bandanna at the local farmer’s market or are selling e-books online, it’s important to use social media to show off your brand. Most importantly it is a way for customers to reach you and interact with your business. How has social media impacted your shop or boutique?