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5 Ways Retailers Should Be Using Social Media

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Retailers are in a unique position to use Social Media in creative ways. Many retail staff actively use Facebook and Twitter for personal use so asking them to post for work to is probably easily answered. The goal: More conversations in and around your company creating positive social capital.

Connecting the online and offline customer experience is a powerful way to engage with customers at a higher level and share more about your business, products or services. Check out @Giapo and @Thewinevault or @Mojooldbank for two great examples of how retailers can use social media.

Your shop will need a computer of course or an iPhone where staff can post updates to the company account. Its a good idea to check out @Cotweet or @Hootsuite which are applications you use to manage your Twitter and Facebook profiles so all your staff and stores can access and post to the same account.

Let your imagination run wild, brainstorm, and have some fun thinking about unique ideas for your business. Here are 5 of mine to get you started

Unpacking new stock

Unpacking the new seasons fashion is both exciting and great content. Chances are your staff will want to try on new items and use their staff discount on a few special garments. If you have a FlipCam it's very simple to take videos of the action and upload to Youtube and Facebook. Your staff can talk about what they like and get feedback from the community on whats hot this season. 

Demonstrating or using products

Show Off! Let people inside your products, your flash new gadgets, talk about the new technology in those running shoes, the faster processing power of the lastest Netbook or the quality of the fabric in the new winter suits. You're not only sharing your product knowledge, interesting ways to use the product but building trust and empowering your customers and followers to be more knowledgeable about you and those products, which will make them look good when sharing that with their friends later

Video and pictures are key for content. Visuals provide fast recognition and understanding and in the Social Media world you want stuff to be viewed and sharable quickly. A lot of text will put people off. 

Register for @Foursquare

Fourquare is a location based Iphone and Android application where you can "Check In" to locations near by. Every retail shop, cafe, bar, restaurant, in fact any business with a physical presence should register themselves. Then you can load up deals and special offers for the 'Mayor' of your business. When people Check In more than anyone else they become the Mayor. @Giapo gives the Mayor a free Gelato and @Mojooldbank has set up a coffee card system where on your 5th check in you get a free coffee. 

Gianpaolo Grazioli Founder of Giapo @giapo wrote a great article on Foursquare thats on

Questions and Support

Asking and answering questions is of course the best way to engage with your followers. All staff should be allowed to answer questions posted by people and ask questions, seeking opinions about new stock, new window displays or what products they would like you to stock.

Customer service is becoming increasingly social which is why being where your customers are is so vital to your business. Being there to help out when called upon is a really nice way of reaching out, being supportive and building trust with your customers

Special News and Information

Every customer standing at your counter making a purchase should be asked "Are you on Twitter or Facebook". Most will say yes to Facebook and some will be on twitter too but when you mention that you share information and special offers that they can access if they follow or fan you it will encourage them to participate more. 

Make sure you tell everyone, every customer that walks through your door should leave knowing that you have a Facebook page and a Twitter account and how to find you. If you have a computer in store ask for their name and invite them to your Facebook page with a special offer you only give out to those invitees. Do the same with Twitter, follow that customer and tweet @them thanking them for popping in.

If you're a retail or bricks n mortar business using Facebook or Twitter in other ways please share your ideas by commenting here. You can also check for more posts on Social Media for Business and I blog at or tweet me @justinFlitter if you want to ask me a question directly.

Every customer interaction is a conversation, the more positive, constructive and fun conversations you have around and about your business the better. 

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