I’ve picked my top ten local businesses on social media based on how they’re effectively using simple social media tactics available to everyone.
Personality can be hard to get across, but two local businesses smash it – The Vaults Real Ale Bar for the feel – good videos that always make me laugh and capture the team spirit and Colour Me Sophie B for pure sass and positivity. The secret is to be confident about who you are and what you represent.
Consistent content across images, video production and stories can help tell your brand story and reinforce your brand values. Jacques of Knowle do this beautifully. You can get help creating brand guidelines, or you can create your own using a framework to take you through fonts, colours and style.
Great images sell great products and 1683 The Chocolate Place have nailed it with the images they use, whether featuring a collection or a single flavour, the pictures of chocolates are mouth-wateringly tempting. Whether you use a local photographer or take your own, think about composition and lighting, and any style guidelines you’d like to follow to tie your images together.
Video is something most of us cringe at, and don’t particularly relish, but videos are an incredibly effective way of connecting to customers, especially in lockdown. You can say so much more, talking to the camera as if they’re a customer. Two great businesses who regularly post good videos showcasing their products are Cristal Ladieswear and The Sale Room. As other retailers say, sometimes you just have to go for it and post it. Your video will be better than you judge it, and with practise you’ll get even better.
Competitions are a great way to both create engagement and spread news about new products & services. They can be used to ask followers to create slogans, send in photo’s, review products or sign up to something – check out Eric Lyons who have used competitions effectively including promoting their new YouTube channel, and, just for fun, running a fantasy football league.
Promoting the support local / support small message is something close to my heart. By talking about supporting small businesses, you’re contributing to your own brand ethos and story, as well as supporting your neighbouring businesses. Freda’s Deli consistently and eloquently promotes the shop small / shop local message and is a real High Street Champion.
It’s hard to know how much to talk about Covid-19, but customers do like to know you’ve got everything in place to keep them, your team and everyone else safe. Isabella Independent Hearing, who are open during lockdown, post about the measures in place to keep their customers safe.
Social media is so much more than posting your own news. To really make it work for you, connect and engage with your local community – your customers, your local businesses and wider network. Comment on other people’s posts. It can be a quick emoji, or you can start a conversation that builds. There are lots of businesses that do this consistently locally, and as a result, they steadily build their own followers. It’s hard to single any one account out, but look at Achill House and Spa over on Instagram.
Of course, there’s more in the social media toolkit, including stories, tagging, hashtags, linking your online shop and advertising but the first steps are all about creating content. Build your social media confidence and knowledge by following accounts you admire, listening to experts and building your own toolkit step by step. It’s not just the national retailers who are making social media work for them. Independents are making the most of social media too. Check out the Instagram & Facebook accounts for everyone I’ve tagged for a little inspiration.