28 Sep Getting Retailers to Engage on Social Media
Social media has changed the relationship between manufacturers and retailers, retailers and consumers. As the traditional models of product distribution shift and morph under the influence of ecommerce and digital marketing, all the points of the sales chain need to find ways to engage that bring enhanced value. Let’s explore the ways manufacturers and retailers can work together on social media channels to tell a brand’s story to consumers.
Retailers are small business owners who often have to do everything to keep their business running, from ordering product to scrubbing the floor. Adding social media marketing to their list of tasks makes it just one more thing to slip down their list of priorities. If it’s a choice between creating social media posts to engage their customers or fixing the leak in the roof so that their inventory doesn’t get ruined, the leaky roof is going to win every time. But by linking with content and events coordinated by the brands they sell, a retailer can create engagement opportunities for their customers to interact with both the brands they carry and the retail store. Here are four ways that companies can create social media content that retail outlets can join.
Spread the Word
For example, your brand is currently running a hashtag campaign on Instagram inviting customers to tag projects they’ve made with your newly-introduced line of knitting needles. Reach out to your retailers to let them know about it and promote it on their own Instagram posts, amplifying awareness for your brand and the fact that it is available from those local retailers. The retailer’s customers are sharing not only with their local crafty friends, but (inter)nationally with others who love your brand. Maybe a couple of those customers are bloggers, and post their projects not just on Instagram, but write a post about your needles. They link both to your website for information and to their local retailer as a source. Everyone has gained value from this interaction. This kind of engagement can work on a legacy channel like email, too. Let your retailers know what you’re doing through your wholesale newsletter and invite them to join in. You have provided them with content that they can turn around and send out to their customers.
Or how about a technique video? Posting a video of your product in action on your Facebook page teaches your customers how to use it. Eucalan has a YouTube channel with videos that demonstrate how to use Eucalan to wash or spot clean everything from wedding dresses to vintage teddy bears. When retailers share content like technique videos on their own Facebook pages or websites, their customers feel like they have received valuable information and your brand has expanded its reach. Your retailers may not have the experience or resources to create their own how-to videos, but sharing yours gives them fresh content for their social media channels.
Patterns Promote Your Products
Traditionally, yarn companies offer pattern support to their retailers in order to sell yarn. Whether it’s free downloads available on the company’s website, or a PDF linked in the weekly newsletter, make sure your retailers are aware of the free patterns you offer for your yarns. They can choose to promote a particular pattern to their customers, perhaps as a class or a store Knitalong or Crochetalong (KAL/CAL). As they promote the pattern on their website, Facebook page, Pinterest or Instagram, they sell more of your yarn while offering content of value to their customers. As the customers finish their projects, they share them again via Instagram, Facebook or on Ravelry and your yarn gets another round of promotion, creating another cycle of demand. What companies used to do with hard copy (a stack of printed patterns) can now be used as potentially engaging social media posts.
Maybe you want to sponsor a public event, like Spinzilla. As a sponsor, you promote your Spinzilla team via your social media channels and use the #spinzilla hashtag while also linking back to the Spinning and Weaving Group’s official Spinzilla page. You invite your retailers to have their customers join your Spinzilla team and to promote your fiber or fiber tools as necessary equipment for Spinzilla. You’ve brought self-selected interested parties together to share an activity, even if it’s at a distance and have created community around that activity. For the week of Spinzilla, everyone’s social media will be flooded with pictures of their fiber mileage, featuring your fiber or tools.
Does it feel like as the brand, you’re doing all the work? It’s likely you are, but it’s part of your marketing strategy to get your brand story out there. Using your retailers as megaphones for your own social media efforts helps them, which ultimately benefits you. That’s the point of social media–it’s interactive. It’s not the old Mad Men model of advertising, where creative types come up with a slogan, a message and an image for your brand. Instead, you, your retailers, and your end consumers engage with your brand and through that engagement, create the story together. Your retailers and your customers have ideas about your product that you may not have even considered and your social media channels offer them the opportunity to communicate those ideas back to you and with others who share their interests. And all you’re compensating them with is content–a pattern, a technique, a how-to that makes them enjoy their crafty hobby just a little bit more, thanks to you.
At Stitchcraft Marketing, we have all kinds of ideas about the types of content you can use on your social media channels that will invite your retailers and customers to engage with your brand. Contact Leanne@stitchcraftmarketing.com for more information on how we can help you create an effective social media presence for your brand.