By Genae Girard
Cathy, an indoor tanning salon owner, spent a lot of money on the front end of a social media campaign for her small business. She set out to incrementally build her following on Facebook, Twitter and her blog. She slowly built a following with her in-store business, as well as boosting her visibility locally through customers’ acquaintances. She carefully crafted flyers to put in boxes, an e-mail campaign and newsletters. Her followers steadily grew until she hit a plateau. She wondered why it took so much effort to build her following, just for her dropout rate to steadily increase. What Cathy didn’t realize is while it’s important to build a following on social media sites, it’s just as important to keep that following engaged.
In order to keep your customers engaged, you must create an emotional bond with them. The average customer is exposed to hundreds of messages everyday on their computer, mobile phone and TV. They have become artificially attention-deficit disordered, and that doesn’t help your advertising brand. In order to be successful in the social media market, you must engage the customer. Cathy can do this by turning to the creative spirit of the salon and thinking outside the box with the following strategies:
Look at your competition. Look at what other salons are doing with social media – especially your top competitors. While your main focus should be your own business, it can be very informative to see what types of information they’re posting and how many followers they have. Use the analysis to develop your content in a more interesting way than what they’re doing. Do it faster, more clever and better.
Hire a young person. Look to younger employees in your company that may be on the pulse of social media. Put them in charge of reporting to you once a week about the buzz in the social media realm. Have them come up with different ideas, promotions or creative posts of interest and test them out in the market.
Find other companies to team up with. Make an agreement to swap content on each other’s sites so that you can take advantage of co-marketing. This could be a complementary vendor, such as a hair or nail salon, or perhaps a local gym or boutique. Take advantage of the communities that have already been built and cross-pollinate them through your posts.
Create great content. If Cathy posts interesting antidotes about the history of tanning or the story behind a certain piece of equipment or lotion, it’d be likely to attract attention. Even sharing human-interest stories about customers (their involvement in the community, charity efforts, etc.) can stir up a buzz, prompting followers to check back for more info.
Consider adding video and photos. The average consumer responds to video better than written content. If Cathy posts a video of a client receiving an airbrush tan, that is more engaging for her followers than the average post. Or how about showing before and after images of a UV client who wears a small sticker while tanning to show the increase in color? The options are endless.
Incorporate humor. If an employee accidentally rests her hand on her stomach while tanning and ends up with a handprint tan, snap a picture and post it across your social media network. Even posting a “joke of the week” can get customers smiling.
All of the content-rich aspects of social media will attract – but more importantly, keep – your customers watching your brand grow. Standing-out in the marketplace is becoming even more important as competition is always knocking at the social media door. Do it better, be more nimble and you will catch your customers sticking around to see what’s next.
Genae Girard is a speaker, author and entrepreneur. As founder of www.beyondtheboobietrap.com – an online social media tribe of more than 23,000 breast cancer survivors – she regularly speaks on the topics of women in leadership and building a tribe. Girard is also the author of “Off the Rack: Chronicles of a Thirty-Something, Single, Breast Cancer Survivor.” For inquiries, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 512.796.1618.