As a business owner or manager it is very easy to become entangled in the day-to-day digital and social media promotional activity and miss the everyday promotional tie-ins that surround us and our customers in the real world.
The truth is, we all have a life offline and our customers are no exception. Like us, they are strongly influenced by the things they see and hear every day and those influences offer many simple yet powerful connections to our digital marketing channels.
When customers visit your business to shop, buy, collect, taste, enjoy or stay, you can influence their actions whilst they are with you, encouraging them to connect on social media. From a logo by the till to a mention on the blackboard, the possibilities are endless. Here are a few nuggets of inspiration to get you started.
Remind Customers To Check In.
Whether it is a sticker on the door, a poster, or a line on the menu, encouraging your customers or visitors to check in on Facebook can trigger regular organic social media growth for very little effort or upkeep.
Encourage Mentions and Selfies.
A quick mention on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook will often be accompanied by a selfie of the customer or a photo of your product whether it is a drink, meal, an activity they are engaged in or even their score. Use your imagination to help boost the effectiveness of this possibility. Can you supply props or prompts for branded selfies? A back drop for photos?
The specifics will depend on your business or product but the key lies in maximising the opportunity.
If you see your customers taking selfies or photos, ask yourself what you can do or provide them with to make that more effective for you.
Remember, your customers want to tell the world where they are, you just have to help them.
Ask Your Customers To Follow you.
When your customers are in your shop, restaurant, gym or business, it is a great time to remind them which social networks you favour. Visual reminders to “Follow us on Twitter” or “Connect with us on Instagram” work well. There’s no need to go overboard but subtle logos and messages can have a significant effect over a long period.
During or immediately after the customer has enjoyed your product or experience is the perfect time to encourage them to leave a review. You should consider how you can harness the positive emotions they are experiencing before their potency fades. A sticker on the door as they are leaving? A card handed to them with the bill or invoice. Or a well-rehearsed, enthusiastically-delivered verbal reminder from a waiter, receptionist or sales assistant.
For larger value items and considered purchases this area might include a personalised follow-up letter or email encouraging the customer to share their experience in an online review.
Don’t be scared of negative reviews. If there is a genuine concern, it’s time to improve your product or service.
Every business has to deal with negative reviews at one time or another. Embrace online reviews and develop strategies to deal with negative feedback. You can learn more about how to deal with negative online reviews here.
Promote A Hashtag.
If you have a specific event or product you would like to draw attention to, encourage your customers to use the hashtag in every post, tweet, comment or message they post on social media. (For more information on choosing a hashtag, check out this post.)
Start early before the event or product launch. Remind customers regularly by featuring the hashtag on posters, leaflets notice boards and blackboards around your business.
Join in the conversation. Monitor the hashtag online and respond to mentions and use the hashtag extensively in your own communication.
Promote Sign Up To Email Newsletters.
Don’t dismiss the option of gathering email sign ups in-store. While you have your customers with you, find a way of asking them if they’d like to sign up for email communication. You can gather the addresses manually using a pen and paper, or better still, you could have a dedicated ipad or tablet system.
Offer The chance To Join Facebook Groups.
Facebook groups are a superb way to harness the power of advocacy within your customers. If you use Groups, take the opportunity to remind customers to join and give them the reasons why whilst they are with you.
Follow That Cab!
Last but not least, don’t forget your vehicles. Whether you have a fleet of trucks, minibuses, trailers, vans, boats, or even bicycles, vehicles can spread the social media message far and wide. They reach a different audience every moment of every day and they never stop working for you. Make sure there are logos to identify which networks you are active on and use your vanity URL where ever possible to make it easy for curious passers by to look you up.