This is THE priority for brand networks and local merchants: generating in-store traffic! Among the many means that exist to achieve this objective, the presence on social networks today seems essential, especially since 90% of consumers buy from brands they follow on social networks, and 57% affirm that social networks influence their purchasing journey.
Today, social networks are essential for brand networks and brands because they allow you to create a community, communicate, build loyalty, but also and, above all, generate in-store traffic.
In this article, let’s look at how social media can help you drive in-store traffic and how to exploit the potential of social-to-store fully. We will also discuss the need to have a social-to-store platform for retail networks and brands that manage several points of sale.
What is social-to-store?
By definition, social-to-store refers to a marketing technique that consists of relying on social networks to generate more in-store traffic.
The objective is to create a close link with your community (followers, fans, subscribers, etc.) and to encourage them to visit you at your point of sale through local communication on social networks and marketing actions such as discount codes to be used in stores, geolocated advertisements, competitions or even the promotion of in-store events.
In summary, social-to-store consists of organizing point-of-sale communication on social networks to encourage in-store traffic.
Why use social-to-store?
Social-to-store offers considerable opportunities for brands.
Increase in-store traffic
Social-to-store is a great way to attract new customers to the store.
Indeed, social networks can be used to promote your offers, products, and services through dedicated publications.
You can also use local advertising through Facebook Ads or Instagram Ads to target consumers in a specific geographic area and encourage them to visit the store by offering relevant content, such as special offers or exclusive promotions.
The use of geolocated hashtags (city, neighborhood, etc.) in your publications is also effective for reaching local consumers on social networks and gaining local visibility in your catchment area.
Improve customer experience
Beyond the simple distribution of content, social networks have become an integral component of the customer experience. They are now used to offer digital customer service (after-sales service, order tracking, answers to questions, etc.).
Customer expectations have evolved significantly with the rise of social networks. Thus, 76% of users who contact a company by message do so in order to obtain customer assistance related to a product or service, and 64% of customers prefer to contact a company by message rather than by telephone.
This shows how important social networks are to the customer experience. You must, therefore, integrate this social dimension into your customer relations strategy to improve it.
In addition, social networks allow you to collect customer reviews, comments, and messages, which provide relevant information on the behavior and preferences of your customers. This allows you to understand better their needs and expectations to adapt your offer accordingly.
According to a study by Conversocial, more than a third (37%) of individuals expect a response in less than 30 minutes when contacting a brand on social networks, whether it is a question or a request. ‘A complaint. You must, therefore, be as responsive as possible to messages and comments from your customers on social networks.
If social networks are effective in strengthening the affinity bond between your customers and your brand, sharing news alone is no longer enough! You must develop your local communication and create a community around your brand. Each follower/fan on a social network is a potential customer if they are not already a customer.
Social networks have become conversational platforms where users have the opportunity to speak directly and easily to brands and wish to obtain responses within a very short time following their requests. Thus, 88% of Internet users say that the responsiveness of the response is essential to their loyalty to a brand.
Building customer loyalty also depends on the close relationship you maintain with them. When customers feel close to a brand, 57% of them increase their spending with it, and 76% choose to buy from it rather than from a competitor.
To build customer loyalty via social networks, you can, for example, communicate about an in-store event, organize a competition, inform your fans of a new product, offer discount coupons to be used in-store, etc.
As you will have understood, communication on social networks is a powerful loyalty lever that allows you to generate additional sales in-store.
How to implement a social-to-store strategy?
The objective of a social-to-store strategy is to develop your local notoriety on social networks and to encourage your community (fans, subscribers, followers, etc.) to go to the store to generate traffic and sales.
Here is the procedure to follow to implement your social-to-store strategy.
Identify your targets
First of all, it is necessary to define a marketing persona or buyer persona, that is to say, the typical people likely to become your customers. This way, you will identify your targets’ social network preferences, their needs, their behaviors, their habits, and their expectations.
Choose the most suitable social networks
The second step consists of identifying the most relevant social networks to reach your target. Social networks are numerous and varied, and each of them has its specificities and its audience. However, some networks will only serve to maintain contact with your customers, while others will really lend themselves to the implementation of a social-to-store strategy. If it is preferable to be active on several platforms, it is better to favor quality over quantity!
To make your search easier, here are the social networks to favor as a brand, as well as their specificities:
Facebook and its general audience
Facebook is the most general social network in terms of audience since 91% of its daily users are between 25 and 49 years old.
Facebook is a real lever for visibility for your brand since 67% of its users consult a professional page at least once a week.
Instagram to target millennials and generation Z
Instagram is the most relevant platform for targeting a young audience since 81% of its users are between 16 and 25 years old.
On the other hand, 90% of Instagram users subscribe to a brand. The social network is indeed widely used to discover new products, but not only that! Like Facebook, it is possible to create local Instagram pages for your points of sale. Hence, the importance of integrating this social network into your social-to-store strategy.
LinkedIn to target decision-makers
LinkedIn is the most professional network, therefore dedicated to BtoB. It is essential to reach a professional audience since 85% of decision-makers and business executives in France use it.
Here again, you have the possibility of creating local pages for each establishment, which is very advantageous for brand networks.
Google My Business and Google Posts
Suppose the Google My Business tool is not a social network, strictly speaking. In that case, the Google Posts functionality that it integrates is similar to the functioning of a publication on a social network.
This is why we advise you to use it, as Google Posts allow you to optimize your local visibility and improve your local SEO.
Organize your social-to-store strategy locally
Once your targets and audiences have been defined comes the stage of structuring and deployment on a local scale.
If you manage a network of points of sale, the first thing to do is to organize your pages by creating one page per establishment. We therefore advise you to create Facebook Places pages and Instagram local pages, as well as Google business listings to publish Google Posts.
Facebook Places pages
Like Google, Facebook has become an essential channel for any business that wants to develop locally and generate visits to its establishments.
Facebook is the most impactful social network and the most suited to local communication for networked businesses. There are, in particular, two types of pages useful for a brand and its establishments:
The Brand page is dedicated to brand communication with a national reach. You can share content that concerns your brand on a global level without going into local specifics. For example, the launch of a product, informative content related to your brand, or causes to which your brand is committed.
The Locations pages are dedicated to point-of-sale communication with a local reach. These will instead be dedicated to sharing local content and highlighting your establishments. This could be an in-store event, exceptional openings, competitions, news specific to the point of sale, local partnerships, etc.