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11 social media tips for retailers from NPA MarketPlace

11 social media tips for retailers from NPA MarketPlace
Social media experts speaking at NPA MarketPlace share their best digital marketing advice for natural retailers. From understanding your competitors to refining your online strategy, these tips will help you build your brand, create customer loyalty and boost sales.

The Social Media Series at NPA MarketPlace on June 14 in Las Vegas offers a chance to roll up your sleeves and dig in to the world of social media marketing for the small business retailer. As a preview of this interactive afternoon, our expert presenters share 11 social media tips.

Hilary Martin, Talk Shop Agency, speaker

  1. Get a strategy.
    You need a social media strategy, and that strategy needs to align to your organization's goals. Don't just jump on Facebook and Twitter without thinking through what you ultimately want for your business and how you will be using those tools to support your vision/goals.
  2. Check out your competitors (and recognize they will be doing the same).
    These are public facing tools, so you can get a good sense of what your competition is doing out there and how they are interacting with fans.
  3. Share compelling content.
    There is an 80/20 rule (and I would even argue a 90/10 rule), which means 80 percent of the content you share needs to be interesting, meaningful, engaging and only 20 percent can be promotional. Nobody wants to be stuck at a cocktail party talking to the guy in the room who only talks about himself. You will excuse yourself to go get another drink or go to the bathroom. It’s is really easy to excuse yourself online if you find someone talking about themselves all the time.

Megan Whelan, Sterling-Rice Group, speaker

  1. Listen first, then contribute.
    Don't talk at people. Instead, monitor and listen to what people are saying about you, your brand, your products, their lives and their experiences. You'll find out what's important to them and then be able to contribute to the conversation with content that's valuable and relevant to their lives. You'll become an essential player in how they think and approach decisions instead of just someone trying to sell them something.
  2. Partner up.
    Partner with people and brands that can positively affect your business. This not only extends your reach and sphere of influence, but also helps build key relationships that could benefit your business now and in the future.

Mike Lee, Cactus Communications, speaker

  1. Get to know your audience.
    Great marketing (including social media) is based on a pretty simple equation—getting the right message to the right person at the right time and place. But it all starts with the right person. Learn as much as you can about your target audience because it will guide everything from what platforms you use and when to specific tactics and content.
  2. Answer "WIIFM?"
    Make sure you are always answering the question "What’s in it for me?" from the perspective of your audience. Does this content matter to me? Is it timely? Relevant? Does this offer or deal feel like opportunity/value, or does it feel intrusive?
  3. Leverage everything.
    For every part of your overall communications plan (including everything from in-store experience and point of sale, to flyers, email, web and promotions) consider how you can make it interactive, sharable, participatory and ongoing. Can you do more than simply telling the story of a local grower on a poster? Is there a way for your customers to connect with them or participate in some way? What about your deals? Do you encourage and incentivize sharing?
  4. "Socialize" your employees.
    Social media is about people connecting with people, not consumers connecting with brands. Does your business embrace the social aspect of social media? Do the personalities of your team come through in social? Empower your people to be people in social media and create lasting connections.

Caren Baginski, newhope360, session moderator

  1. Be authentic.
    Being on social media means being part of a conversation. Talk to your shoppers online as if you were talking to them in store. Don't change your voice or brand to fit what you think is "best" for social media—rather, your "best" voice is your own personality.

Diana Mercer, NPA MarketPlace conference manager

  1. Be consistent.
    Nothing hurts your development of an online audience more than days (or weeks) of social media inactivity. Your audience is looking for interesting, inspirational content on a regular basis, so create a planning calendar to ensure that you post regularly. It’s also helpful to make yourself consistently available to answer questions, promote dialogue and handle customer service inquiries.

Don’t miss the Social Media Series at NPA MarketPlace on Thursday, June 14 from 1:30-5:30 p.m. in the Sands Convention Center at the Venetian Hotel, Las Vegas. This free afternoon of accelerated learning will guide you from Social Media 101 to Advanced Tools. Laptop required.

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