Driving footfalls through social media marketing – A real expectation?

Social media marketing

I have always spoken of how imperative it is, to gain ultra-relevant followers, even if acquired gradually. A prime reason to do so is, eventually, brands would want to monetize this acquired base. And this is a question most retail brand managers are asking their agencies/themselves.

Can I drive footfalls through social media marketing? If yes, how?

Now, before I delve into this further, if you are a brand manager, I want you to read the following, first:

  1. Study your brand pages…Manually: I am not referring to those fanciful spreadsheets of complicated data on reach and other analysis, just manually scroll through each post for as long as you can and see the reactions, comments and shares.
    Read what people are writing about your brand, their queries on your products, what are they reacting positively and not-so positively to.
    Check their reviews.
    Manually check retweets, favourites, pins and reposts.
    Get a real understanding of the words or reactions people use, as opposed to relying on big data.
    Even if this number is in a few tens, these reactions/mentions/comments will lead to a better understanding of your brand perception on social media than any complicated data sheet, EVER.
  2. Understand why people REALLY use social media: It is understood that money has been spent to acquire qualitative/quantitative users and one is constantly thinking of ways and means of bombarding one’s messaging to fans/followers as much as possible.
    But here’s the deal, people use social networks primarily for one thing – Catching up.
    They want to catch up with friends and family. Update themselves on happenings in each other’s lives. Just as much as they love catching up on brands they love and follow.
    So, as much as they want to know about the on-goings of the latest collection, offers and discounts let’s not make it our focal point to send them love every other hour, lest we bug them with our overkill.

It is imperative to keep the above points in mind in order to forge an effective social media marketing strategy for your brand.

Now, coming back to the question – Can I drive footfalls through social media marketing?
The answer is, Yes.

An effective social media marketing plan manages to drive relevant traffic to one’s website to generate leads or sales however it can also help in driving physical footfalls into your stores.

Here are some basic suggestions to get you started:

a. The Power of Check-ins: Social media is all about Peacocking.
Don’t you see a flurry of Starbucks or foreign location check-ins that people constantly make, letting the world know what they eat, where they travel etc? Even the most shy, awkward people suddenly come alive on social media with their updates. Use this to your advantage. Ensure that your store locations are updated on apps like Swarm. Screen through the checkins users make regularly. Use the app features to run your brand promotions. However be careful with the frequency of messaging, remember point 2 above.

(Image courtesy: http://abduzeedo.com/)

b. Social Media Exclusivity: Let’s be honest. We all love feeling important (even if we are not!). Provide exclusivity to your social media base to drive them to your stores.
A one-day social media exclusive preview of your new collection.
An additional 10 percent discount on an FB check-in or an exclusive code for Instagram followers alone.
Use the insights gathered from your manual study to identify the products you must showcase or offers you must promote.

c. Use of Beacon Technology: Business Insider describes Beacon technology as “low-cost piece of hardware — small enough to attach to a wall or counter top — that use battery-friendly, low-energy Bluetooth connections to transmit messages or prompts directly to a smartphone or tablet.”
As per BI’s Intelligence report beacons would be driving $44 billion in retail sales by 2016.
Major retailers like Macy’s have already deployed them in their stores.
Beacon Technology can be used to provide customers with product information and flash sales or deals.

Once you bring people to your stores, find reasons to bring them back. Encourage them to share their stories and images through social media, connect with them regularly and keep them updated on the brand compelling them to walk back sooner to your stores.

As much as the above points can help get you started, it is imperative to remember that social media marketing cannot work in isolation. They need to be prioritized in a way that they are aligned with your overall marketing strategy as opposed activities you implement because it may seem popular or sound exciting.

The article was first published on Pulse by Mitchelle Carvalho. 


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