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Social media for retailers 3: Strategies and the bottom line

- Kelly Sharp is owner at Heart of Iowa Market Place

For the past two months, I've written about the importance of a specialty retailer having an online presence and how to start that process. In this final installment before we move on to other topics, let's talk about how to turn these “likes” on Facebook, or “followers” on Instagram and Twitter into real customers.

Hiring an expert in this area has been a huge help for me. My social media coach has explained social media strategies vary by the company and the audience. If you are a local retailer your strategy may be different than those for national retailers. 

At the Heart of Iowa Market Place, we're focused on strategies to reach not only retail customers but also local business. We've followed a comprehensive, consistent approach to expand our online presence, get new customers and stay consistent. To show off many of our unique products, we will be highlighting our special gift baskets.

If you’re having trouble deciding on how much time to invest in your social media, try investing between 30 and 60 minutes a day managing your online presence.

Don’t be afraid to test out certain things. For example, Facebook allows you to check your progress in its insights section to see whether or not certain posts are gaining traffic.

One thing businesses often are afraid of is to add humor or personality to their pages. This can be very tricky. Too much can be harmful, but too little can make you impersonal and hard to relate to. You don’t want to seem too vanilla, but you also want to be cautious about what you put out there.

So what’s the bottom line? If you’re not using social media, you need to start. Now.

It’s quick, easy and free to start. It’s a great way to connect with your customers, show off your brand, and it’s a relatively inexpensive way to advertise. There is no other time that gives specialty retailers an upper hand in marketing.

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