How retailers can use social media

Published on
February 21, 2023
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The power of social media

In the current digital age, it's essential for small business owners to remain up to date with new trends. Social media, being the primary digital platform, holds a great significance as consumers spend hours browsing through their feeds to discover innovative products and support local businesses.

For convenience store owners, tapping into this vast audience is vital. However, with a plethora of social media options available, it can be arduous to navigate the intricacies of the digital world and ensure that it's truly working for you. So, how can retailers effectively utilize social media to reach their intended audience and enhance their business?

The platforms that matter

First things first, you need to understand the different social media platforms available. A recent survey shows that the majority of convenience store owners are using Facebook as their main platform, with around 13% using Twitter and Instagram. TikTok, a newer platform, is only being used by 12% of stores. But it's not just about being on every platform, it's about being on the right ones. Each platform has a different audience, TikTok is best for a younger generation, Instagram and Twitter for millennials and middle-aged groups, while Facebook has the biggest user base but its most active users today are 40+.

Make your presence count

It's not enough to just be on the platforms, you need to make sure you're using them effectively. Far too many convenience store owners struggle to use social media to its full potential because they don't have the time or the know-how. But here's the thing, you don't have to be an expert to make social media work for you. By regularly posting engaging content, running promotions, and interacting with your followers, you can build a strong and loyal following that will keep coming back to your store.

Stores who are making social media work for them

There are plenty of examples of convenience stores using social media effectively to promote their business. H&Jodies, for example, are making waves on TikTok with over 10k followers and over 100k likes.

Nisanorthberwick is also using the platform in a comical way, gaining a lot of engagement from their followers.

Hashmees are using social media to showcase their product selection.

There is also the more high-profile examples of Wakefield Wines, a small corner shop in Wakefield that went viral as “Wakey wines”. Given the accounts, 612.3K followers and 14.6M likes it's fair to say they have done an incredible job of promoting their store. Customers in videos regularly seem to travel from across the country and visit the store. So how did they achieve this?

Bandwagon effect - The account went viral, firstly due to their reselling of the hyped PRIME drink created by popular Youtuber KSI. The avalibility of the drink has been very limited with videos of young teens rushing into ASDA to pick up whatever stock they could.

Personality, the owner of the store has developed his own little tagline for the store which has produced brand recognition and even parody.

There is another important lesson to be learnt from this account. While successful in terms of followers and views, they have been widely criticised for the resale price of PRIME. On videos, they appear to sell drinks for anywhere around £100. The recommended retail price for a single bottle is £2 and a case of 12 online is listed at £24.99.

This made national news, for example in Guardian. It has also led to a backlash from independent retailers who see it as damaging their impact. One retailer told The Grocer “He is giving us a bad name. We all know it’s expensive but there are limits to what you can charge your customers. We sold it for £10 and that’s too much. It’s just greedy and scandalous to be charging these prices.”

What should convenience stores post to social media

In today's digital world, social media plays a crucial role in building and maintaining customer relationships for retailers. To craft a winning social media strategy, retailers must prioritise engagement by actively responding to comments, messages and feedback from their followers.

One effective tactic is to leverage social media as a platform to drive sales and create excitement around special offers. This can range from running limited-time promotions and discounts to providing exclusive perks to customers who follow the brand on social media. Retailers can also use social media to debut new products and services and to keep customers in the loop about upcoming events and sales.

Visual and video content can have a significant impact on the success of a retailer's social media strategy. These engaging forms of content have a higher chance of being shared and attract more attention than plain text posts. Retailers can utilise platforms like Instagram and TikTok to bring their products and services to life through stunning photos and videos. Instagram stories can be utilised to create a sense of urgency and drive excitement for promotions and sales.

Scrolling to the end

In summary, social media is a valuable resource for retailers aiming to attract more customers. By developing connections with customers, advertising deals and promotions, directing content towards particular audiences, utilising imagery and videos, and monitoring analytics, retailers can leverage social media to enhance engagement, boost sales, and ultimately expand their business.

However, it's essential to recognise that managing all these platforms can be demanding. As such, it's advisable to select platforms that align with your target audience and focus on mastering those. Rather than trying to be present everywhere, prioritising specific platforms can be more effective, preventing you from being nowhere.


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