One of the most important things that any offline business can do when it wants to enter the online realm of social medial marketing is research. Doubtless, no matter how obscure your store is or what kind of niche that you sell to, there is an online store doing exactly the same thing. With thousands (if not millions) of people doing their shopping online every day, it’s absolutely guaranteed that your offline store will have an online competitor. And it’s likely that the online competitor is doing quite well.
While this may be exasperating to a certain degree, you can use this information to help propel your offline business into the fray and even put your offline business into a more favorable position. Be sure to look at your online competitors and see how they market their product and whom they are marketing to. Are they on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace? Do they have an RSS feed? Are they working with online directories? Do they have profiles on forums relating to the product being sold? What’s the tone of their website like, and how do they appear to interact with customers?
One of the most important things to do for an offline business looking to work with the online world is creating an aura of discovery around their store. Since one of the major points for offline businesses when it comes to advertising is to entice the customer to visit the store, you need to foster a sense of discovery on the part of the potential customer. After all, you have to get them off of the computer and into the store.
During the discovery part of your foray into the crazy world of social media marketing, you explore the groundwork that’s already been laid online for you. You look and see what your competitors are doing in terms of social media and figure out how you can do it better. Do they have out of date Twitter feeds? Does their Facebook profile look unprofessional? These are all things you can use to bolster the status of your own personal social media adventure and make yourself look better than your online competition.
In addition, if you own a physical store you have the advantage of asking your customers what they would be interested in, regarding terms of social media advertising. Would they be interested in a Twitter feed, or a LinkedIn profile? Try asking some of your younger customers, should you have them. Most will probably be happy to talk your ear off in regards to social media platforms. After all, the younger group is the one most likely to be on Facebook constantly with their smartphones. Anybody older than thirty is likely to have a less informed opinion on it. At any rate, be sure to exploit the biggest advantage you have over online businesses – that is, the direct conversation with the customer!