Social Media is an open playground for lifestyle brands. In view of everything, social media ultimately boils down to conversations about people’s lifestyles.
Where are you eating today? What have you shopped for at the sales? Which hotel are you staying in during your holiday? These are the kind of updates that conversations revolve around on Social Media. Judging by that, lifestyle businesses have potential to tap into social media to popularise their business within this ecosystem.
There are various ways in which you use Social Media to your advantage, and I am going to discuss some of them in this article.
Offer discounts on Check-ins on Facebook or Foursqaure
Check-in is a very popular feature offered by two social networking sites, namely Facebook and Foursqaure. Users love to check-in as a way to let their friends know their whereabouts. Lifestyle businesses can use this feature, and users’ impulses to check in, by increasing their visibility and offering perks to motivate users to check-in.
A restaurant can run a contest where they ask people to write one line along with a check-in, during any particular month where they offer the best three lines a free meal. The contest is veyou only have to imagine its reach, to understand how potent it will be.
Rude Lounge is a suburban restaurant in Mumbai and has over 1 lakh fans on Facebook. It offers a 10% discount to its customers when they check-in on Facebook.
Facebook has developed another useful feature called Offers, which can be posted on your page, specifying a deadline, along with a minimum number of claims, and allows you to link to your website if you have an online store too. You have to have a minimum of a 100 likes on your page to be eligible to avail Offers, and you need to keep in mind that posting an offer is a paid option on Facebook.
However you can make use of it successfully by attaching an attractive image and having a simple, easy to understand discount. Remember, users do not have the patience for understanding complicated things. They will just skip through.
Users who love cupcakes and your store are already your fans and they will spread the message among friends who love cupcakes too, thereby increasing the visibility of the offer and your store.
Integrate all social media platforms as much as possible
Conversations on Twitter might not reach Facebook and vice-versa, which is why, integrating all platforms is a splendid idea. For instance, when a user recommends a service on Twitter, it can be posted on the Facebook page. It not only acts as a customer recommendation but also leads Facebook fans to become Twitter followers. To see a successful example of this, you should look at how Sahara Star uses this feature frequently.
Using Plobal to Reply to Questions Related to Your Business
Plobal is a new social discovery platform where users and brands ask and answer lifestyle related queries in real time. It is the latest social networking site, apt for lifestyle businesses to take advantage of ongoing conversations among several users. Users post either general or specific questions and all you have to do is jump into the conversation and start engaging with them.
For instance, the image below shows you what the questions look like. A user enquired about Sizzlers at a restaurant called Out of the Blue. The representative from this restaurant could reply to the user with an offer, informing about an event if relevant etc. or just throw some light on the variety of sizzlers.
Plobal has also integrated the concept of the Top User, who is recognised as the user who has gained the most number of points. Brands can use their influence to target other such users. To register on Plobal as a brand, you have to fill out a small form which registers your business and the Plobal team gets in touch with you. You can fill the form here.
Each brand has a separate page where it can make updates. This keeps their customers who have favourited their page, updated about the latest happenings, new product launches, events, schemes, store launches or just pure play engage.
Make use of applications on Facebook
Applications can be used in several different ways to encourage likes, to run promotions and even to take feedback/reviews from customers.
Aura Thai Spa is using an application called ‘Lovely August’ to encourage users to like their page, and in return the salon is offering a free manicure session. This is a great example of a business that is not generating random likes, but instead capitalizing on these likes to turn users into customers.
Post important updates about your business
This could be in the form of sharing albums of pre and post event activities or announcing store openings etc. Your fans follow you because they love you and it helps to keep them posted about any important announcements. For instance, if you have opened a new salon, always make sure you take a picture and post it along with the announcement.
By doing this, you are recreating the experience your fans had or can have at the salon with an added glamor factor. For instance, Juice Salon opened a unisex salon and announced it with a pretty picture of the new outlet.
Also, The Little Door, a popular restaurant in Mumbai promotes its Special Sunday Drunch event through tempting Facebook posts. This update gives a sneak peek into the event, thereby spreading the word among fans and friends of fans.
Turn customers into brand ambassadors
Social Media is all about about storytelling, and how well you can do it. These stories should be so compelling and interesting, that they become viral in nature. It is obvious that your fans love your restaurant and are therefore following you for updates, so the trick is to maintain this interest.
Tell them a story about the most popular recipe at your diner in 140 characters with a unique photo or introduce them to the chef who creates the magical food at their favourite restaurant. It should be an interesting read and will be shared. In short, be exclusive. Offer a sense of novelty to your fans. This turns your customers into your brand ambassadors on social media.
Do not forget to post signage of signs to follow on Social Media, offering them a little discount to encourage them.
Another way to tell stories is through making milestones on Facebook. For instance Starbucks India posted about its first store in the world.
Use Twitter to jump into discussions related to food, travel, beauty
Day in and day out, innumerable conversations take place on Twitter. People are talking about various topics related to food, beauty, fitness, travel etc. This offers brands an opportunity to jump into these conversations and directly talk to users, making them aware of brand products and services.
For instance a user posted a query about gyms in a particular area. If a fitness centre was searching for such updates, they could have easily led the discussion.
On Youtube Lifestyle businesses have a lot of creative scope
KFC launched the promotional campaign of Krushers, its new product, on Youtube. This interactive campaign asks users to drag the product to two bored students in a library and observe the effect on them. The activity definitely tempts the user to run to KFC and try out the product.
Using Youtube can give your brand very good results results if you think long term. Quick videos on how to recreate a certain hairstyle, or a certain star’s makeup etc. for instance, can be created by Salons to reach out to potential customers. Video content is now being shared extensively on Social Media.
Salons can also record customer testimonials and post them on the channel, sharing the links on Facebook, Twitter etc. offering reviews of real experiences to users.
Revlon India makes quick 30 second videos about their products and teaches fans about new trends. This is a massive hit with users since they share, comment and like, increasing the virality of the video.
The Supporting Cast
Instagram can be used instantly to click and edit pictures for followers to see. It could be about a dish, a dress or even discount creatives at a store. Instagram has recently launched videos which can be shared on platforms.
Vine was created to share quick 6 second videos on Twitter. You can use this tool to promote your business by letting users get a feel of any service or product.
Pinterest is very popular among lifestyle businesses since users love to pin fun things onto their boards. You can use Pinterest, start a campaign and integrate it with Facebook and Twitter.
Yelp is one of the best sites you can get onto since users leave company reviews there. Personal reviews can make or break your business.
As you can see, there are countless ways that lifestyle businesses can use social media to ramp up their businesses effectively. All that is required is a proper understanding of the channels and definite objectives.