NATIONAL REPORT — Capturing the attention of customers in today’s digital world is not easy. Email inboxes are overflowing, the number of apps on a person’s cell phone continue to grow, and brands have just seconds to grab a customer’s attention on social media.
So, how can convenience store operators best utilize social media to engage their customers?
“Video or motion graphics have proven to be ways to stand out in the crowd,” Brad Plowman, spokesperson for FUEL Marketing, an advertising agency based in Salt Lake City, told Convenience Store News. “Fighting to be engaging in a two-second window as a consumer is scrolling through an app or their social media feed is tough, but we have found success in creating compelling videos and motion graphics to cause the consumer to pause. We have seen a much higher click-thru rate than static display ads.”
Another tactic Plowman has seen work well is highlighting customer messaging and comments. If a customer makes a video or creates a post with a c-store’s brand in it, this is something to promote in hopes that it will go viral. Plowman even recommends the retailer put advertising money behind it and “boost” such posts to further engagement with existing and potential customers.
With social media engagement, consistency is key. So, he recommends brands plan their posts for each month ahead of time, and then post them based on a “disciplined schedule.”
“If they randomly post every few days or let a couple of weeks go by without posting, there is no reason for the customer to return,” he explained. “Social media is all about a well-thought-out, predetermined, disciplined approach.”
Additionally, while there are many avenues available today to personalize messaging, a wealth of data is available through social media to target the right customers with the right messages. And it’s easy to engage directly with customers in this manner, according to Plowman.
“The data available to target a specific customer allows for marketers to engage one on one with a customer,” he said. “The burden then goes to the creative messaging and if the company is offering the customer a personalized message. We have the capability to offer a customer posts and engagements specific to their needs, wants and buying habits.”
Last but not least, Plowman advises c-store retailers to follow the 80/20 rule, with 80 percent of posts being informative and entertaining content and the other 20 percent promotional.
“Overselling on social media is the biggest no-no,” he cautioned. “Social media is about letting the consumer see inside the company. Do they practice their mission statement? Are they socially conscious? Do they have a personality?
“All of your posting on social media should contribute to the overall brand of the c-store,” he continued. “But don’t make every post about a sale or promotion. Consumers will see through that and quit following or engaging with the brand.”
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