From Dreaming of Ice Cream To Buying A Cone: How Social Media Gets People into Your Store

How do we get more people into our stores? It’s an age-old question for B2C companies who have brick-and-mortar presences. How do you get people from thinking about your product to coming in your store and buying it?

The good news is, social media is here to help — and not just with bringing in the crowds. Social media allows you to have a deeper and more multi-faceted relationship with your customers than ever before. Don’t miss out on that opportunity.

I’m going to use Seattle ice cream purveyor Molly Moon as my model in much of this post. There’s always a line at Molly Moon’s, especially in the summer but even on rainy Seattle days. That’s not because they’re slow scoopers – it’s because their ice cream is that good and, dare I say, because they use Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to their best advantage.

Identify who you want

First, identify your target audience by looking at who is engaging with you already. Invest in measurement like our Twitter Audience Analysis to see who your major influencers are. (Click on the image to zoom.) Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 3.25.02 PMThen do some qualitative research on those folks to figure out what their common interests are, and what gets them to engage with your content.

Next, start compiling a list of your major influencers’ friends and followers. Set a percentage goal for how many in this expanded audience you want following you or Liking you by a certain date. Since your ultimate goal is to get folks in the store, you could also tie your percentage goal to a target for in-store social engagement (more on that later).

Consider taking your research out of the strictly social environment, too. Which local blogs and influencers can you find that you haven’t reached already? Use all the information you’ve gathered to come up with a diverse group of personas to target, and devote a week out of every month to target each persona for both testing purposes — which personas are responding best — and to reach as wide an audience as possible.

Get on their radar

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 3.48.37 PMIf you’re trying to remind people about the location of one of your brick and mortar locations, or announce the opening of a new one, you can’t beat Instagram, especially if your intention is to get at folks who are devotees of your brand already. Instagram affords brands a unique sense of intimacy with their fans. Instamacy. I’m sorry, I had to.

Anyway…an Instagram takeover from your highlighted location (see above) or a scavenger hunt campaign with all signs leading to a new location are fantastic tactics for exposure on this network. Facebook and Twitter are better mediums for building awareness with people who don’t know what your brand is or if it’s active on social media.

One way to do this is by partnering with other brands or charities who are willing to amplify your presence on social media. Then, measure the success of those partnerships by measuring how your engagement and follower count on the chosen network(s) increases.

Push them over the edge

Now you need to get people from knowing about you to walking through the door. Run a limited-time offer, like urban delivery service Postmates often does.

Also consider running an attractive in-store event (again, from the data you sourced from your fans in the first step) that makes use of hashtags you can track later to determine social success and how it translates to feet in the door. Another good strategy is involving fans in your decision-making process and asking them for input, which automatically switches their engagement button on and makes them more likely to have you on their radar. Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 1.03.49 PMAll of these tactics create a sense of urgency and an additional incentive for people who were interested in entering your store anyway.

Allow room for in-store social engagement

Make sure your customer’s social experience doesn’t end when she walks in your storefront. The goal shouldn’t be just to get her there — it should be to create such a positive and interactive in-store experience that she comes back again and again.

Molly Moon’s, for example, gets return visitors by asking customers via in-store chalkboards to use the #icecreammakesyouhappy and #mollymoons hashtags while taking pictures of themselves with their sweet treats. Then they go a step further by offering an opportunity for recognition and Instafame with a status like the one above. A great way to get people to come back to a place is to remind them of how much fun they had while they were there.

It also turns them into advocates for your brand. I’d also like to point out the commendable use of cross-channel posting here. In this post, Molly Moon’s uses Twitter as a vehicle to remind people they’re on Instagram. It’s a solid strategy, especially because it’s so hard to build brand awareness on Instagram thanks to the highly personalized feeds.

Which social tactics do you use to get customers into your stores?

How do you define ROI on these strategies? How do you measure your success or setbacks on this front? Let me know in the comments below!
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Lucy Hitz

Lucy Hitz

Holler! I’m the Social Media Content Writer here at Simply Measured, which means I get to research the latest and greatest in social media and shed additional light on what I find with our brilliant reports. I’m from the Upper West Side in NYC (reppin’ it!). I love yoga, prosciutto, peaty scotch, poetry, and Taylor Swift. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.