It’s simply expected that retailers today have a social media presence. The challenge for small business owners is to determine if social media is worth the investment for their company: are their customers active and comfortable using social media and, if so, on what social media channels should they spend their time?
These are all important questions to examine before launching a social media presence, in order to ensure a return both of time and money invested. It doesn’t have to cost a lot, but it does require a small time commitment.
Here’s how one pair of small business owners launched their business into the social media space in a way that fit their needs. It has continued to evolve and serve them well.
The Shirt Box is a single-location men’s clothing store located in Farmington Hills that has been a trend-setting haberdashery for more than 30 years. Known for its Cheers-like atmosphere, the owners know their customers by name.
The owners sought a way to keep in closer contact with their existing clientele when the shoppers weren’t in the store, and to expand visibility among prospective customers. The shop’s owners had a limited budget, both time and financial, and limited social media experience.
Shirt Box initially worked with a public relations and digital media firm for guidance to establish free personal profiles for each owner, as well as a store page on Facebook. The owners then spent time during the workday exploring Facebook’s features on their own. They created an informal outline and timeline for posting content to pages and made an effort to check for Facebook messages and page posts several times per day.
The store owners displayed in-store signage to alert customers to the store’s presence on Facebook and distributed e-blasts with that information. They also shared the store’s new presence with the fans of their personal pages.
The shop’s owners became very comfortable in the social media space and within a short period of time made posting and reviewing content on their pages part of their daily routine.
Shirt Box customers demonstrated an affinity for interacting with the retailer via Facebook almost immediately. The shop started receiving direct messages from customers, regarding sizes of garments carried, shipping gifts to other states and requests for special orders.
The Detroit News published a story about an $800 sale that was arranged completely through Facebook. The article was picked up by other media outlets and even the blog of an unrelated media firm lauded the shop for “getting” social media.
While this isn’t the norm, the owners feel the time they put in is worth the effort (and in this case they even generated some valuable publicity). Since starting on Facebook, they are in increased contact with their customers who have opted-in to be updated on the happenings of The Shirt Box. They also now have a database that enables them to shoot out an impromptu sale bulletin at a moment’s notice.
The Shirt Box owners found it easy and fun to share what they were working on. All postings were done during the workday, in lulls between customers, minimizing expense. They began to identify opportunities for content that extended beyond their informal outline, including photographs of customers trying on outfits, surveys on types of tie knots and more.
They share the arrival of new merchandise, upcoming TV appearances, news articles about the shop and men’s fashion, as well as upcoming trunk shows on a regular basis.
For The Shirt Box, Facebook just makes sense. It’s where their customers are and expect them to be. It’s become an important piece in their marketing toolbox.
Jennifer L. Cherry is senior vice president at Marx Layne & Co., a Farmington Hills-based marketing, public relations and digital media agency. She leads Marx Layne’s digital and social media division.
Jennifer Cherry Blog
Retail, stores likes Foursquare social media Jennifer Cherry posts The Shirt Box Smartphones Facebook Facebook Places ads Twitter search boosting sales men’s clothing geolocation Retail marketing customers Jennifer L. Cherry Marx Layne
- ads (1)
- boosting sales (1)
- customers (1)
- Facebook (2)
- Facebook Places (1)
- Foursquare (1)
- geolocation (1)
- Jennifer Cherry (1)
- Jennifer L. Cherry (2)
- likes (1)
- marketing (1)
- Marx Layne (2)
- men’s clothing (1)
- posts (1)
- Retail (1)
- Retail, stores (2)
- Smartphones (1)
- social media (3)
- The Shirt Box (1)
- Twitter search (1)