Crystal Media Live Episode 13: Social Media Interview Recap

This past weekend I attended the summer gift and home show at AmericasMart in Atlanta. While at the show, I was interviewed by AmericasMart and on this week's episode of Crystal Media Live I'll be sharing a few on my answers from the questions below.

  • You work with hundred of retailers. What's the most common mistake most are making with social media?
  • What's the biggest misconception about social media for retailers?
  • What is your favorite thing that you have seen at Market so far?

These three questions stood out to me the most, and I truly feel everyone can benefit from hearing what I have to say about each of these points. Stay tuned, I'll be sharing my complete interview on this blog post once it becomes available!   

Be sure to catch new episodes every Monday at 10 a.m PST on our Facebook Page. Replays will be available on the blog each week.

Crystal Media Live Episode 12: 4 Tips for Better Facebook Marketing

Are you taking advantage of all the Facebook features that are available to you? Chances are, you're not. That is why this week's episode of Crystal Media Live focuses on 4 quick and easy ways you can better use Facebook to market your business online. 

These four tips focus on making sure you're using the correct business page template, knowing when to migrate a personal Facebook account to a business page or when to merge business accounts together, creating event pages for any and all store events and why it's important, and lastly why you should tag your products on your Facebook posts. 

With Facebook being one of the best tools to market your store and products on, it's crucial to your success that you know everything you need to get more reach, interaction, traffic and sales. Interested in learning more ways you can better use Facebook for your business? Check out our Facebook Marketing Mini-Series.

Be sure to catch new episodes every Monday at 10 a.m PST on our Facebook Page. Replays will be available on the blog each week.

Crystal Media Live Episode 11: Creating and Marketing an Online Store

This episode is the final part of a four-part series on competing with big box stores called Giving Online Stores a Run for Their Money.

One way you can compete with online retailers is to join them online. This allows you to then provide your customers with a digital experience that lets them shop from the comfort of their own home. Consumers are all about convenience and e-commerce sites meet that need which is why they are so popular. 

In this week's episode of Crystal Media Live, we'll share with you common platforms you can use to sell online if you don't have a website of your own. We'll also focus on why driving traffic to your website through different marketing techniques is crucial to see success selling online.

Share with us in the comments what platforms you use to sell online!

You can watch this week's episode below:

Be sure to catch new episodes every Monday at 10 a.m PST on our Facebook Page. Replays will be available on the blog each week.

Crystal Media Live Episode 10: Selling on Social

This episode is part of a four-part series on competing with big box stores called Giving Online Stores a Run for Their Money.

We often find retailers are posting to their social media accounts as stuff comes up, for instance when they get a new shipment of items or right before an event that is coming up, and there isn't really any sort of strategy behind it.

When posting to social media, do you have a strategy for selling products? Share with us in the comments below.

WhatsYourStrategy?.gif

When you put context behind a product, create a theme or even bundle products together this can ultimately help you sell these items through social media. In this week's episode of Crystal Media Live, we share with you some ideas on how to sell your products leveraging social media and give you suggestions on which tools to use if you don't have a website you can directly sell on. 

Be sure to catch new episodes every Monday at 10 a.m PST on our Facebook Page. Replays will be available on the blog each week. 

Crystal Media Live Episode 8: Signature Events

This episode is part of a four-part series on competing with big box stores called Giving Online Stores a Run for Their Money.

Most independent retailers we've talked to have seen great success from hosting in-store events. Yes, they require more work and more time but putting in that little bit of extra effort can go a long way.

SignatureEvents1200x1200.png

Hosting in-store events helps you connect with customers, both old and new, and is a great way to build recognition in your local area. Events can play a part in how you create a fun and unique customer experience (this should ALWAYS be top of mind!) that your customers will always remember.

In this week's episode, we share some ways to add an extra touch to your events to stand out and be memorable, as well as a few examples of signature events from other retailers. 

What kind of events are you currently doing? Share with us, we'd love to hear all about them!

Watch the full episode below:

MemorableEvents1200x1200.png

Be sure to catch new episodes every Monday at 10 a.m PST on our Facebook Page. Replays will be available on the blog each week. 

Crystal Media Live Episode 7: What Are You Doing to Build a Digital Experience?

This episode is part of a four-part series on competing with big box stores called Giving Online Stores a Run for Their Money

We're sure that you've ALWAYS got customer experience at the front of your mind. That's why you hire qualified employees, encourage them to be friendly and helpful and work to give your customers the best experience that you can offer. But do you realize how many opportunities you have to create an amazing DIGITAL experience for your customers?

Today's episode tells you exactly how to do this, through your website, social media sites and emails. Don't miss the story of how a retail pro used an NFL jersey to get $4,000+ in sales!

Be sure to catch new episodes every Monday at 10 a.m. PST on our Facebook Page. Replays will be available on the blog each week.

Crystal Media Live Episode 6: Four Retailers with a Unique Experience and How to Leverage Using Social Media

This episode is part of a four-part series on competing with big box stores called Giving Online Stores a Run for Their Money

When you make customers feel as though you've gone out of your way to meet their needs, they will go out of their way to shop with you.

During this (pre-recorded) episode of Crystal Media Live, we give you example from REAL small businesses and how they are standing out from eCommerce stores with their top-notch customer service and proactive social media tactics.

The other topics we will cover in this series include:

  • Events
  • Selling on Social
  • Selling on Your Own Website

Be sure to catch new episodes every Monday at 10 a.m. PST on our Facebook Page. Replays will be available on the blog each week.

Crystal Media Live Episode 5: Establishing Your Unique Selling Points

This episode is part of a four-part series on competing with big box stores called Giving Online Stores a Run for Their Money

Of all of the challenges that have popped up in the past few decades, few have given local retailers as many issues as online competitors. Buying online allows customers to get products to their doorsteps as quickly as in a few HOURS thanks to programs like Amazon Prime, while giving them the option to compare prices seamlessly.

How can the little guy compete?

We answer this question in a 4-part series called Giving Online Stores a Run for Their Money. In this episode, we cover experience, as in the experience your customer has when they shop with you. We help you figure out your unique selling point and why this is so crucial to competing with online sellers. Click below to watch the episode!

The other topics we will cover in this series include:

  • Events
  • Selling on Social
  • Selling on Your Own Website

Be sure to catch new episodes every Monday at 10 a.m. PST on our Facebook Page. Replays will be available on the blog each week.

Crystal Media Live Episode 4: 3 Tips to Successfully Manage Your Social Media

Last week, we went over who should manage your social media (Hint: It's not the owner).

But for many retailers, hiring a social media manager just isn't an option at the moment. It may be because of budget issues, their social media not being where it needs to be or staffing problems.

Don't worry, retailers who are doing it all! We have some tips for you, as well.

Catch the full episode below.

Be sure to catch new episodes every Monday at 10 a.m. PST on our Facebook Page. Replays will be available on the blog each week.

Crystal Media Live, Episode 3: Why Store Owners Shouldn’t Manage Their Social Media

You're the store owner, buyer, manager, janitor, accountant... that's a lot of hats to wear on one head! As a retail store owner, you shouldn't have to add the task of managing your social media to your long to-do list. 

The latest episode of Crystal Media Live goes over WHY you shouldn't be managing, who SHOULD be and what to do if you're not quite ready to hire someone to take over the job. 

Be sure to catch new episodes every Monday at 10 a.m. PST on our Facebook Page. Replays will be available on the blog each week.

Crystal Media Live, Episode 2: Worried About Being On Camera?

Are you someone who's dreamed of being on the big screen, or someone more likely to enjoy a job behind the camera? No matter what type of personality you have, video can do GREAT things for your business.

videoforretail

This week's episode of Crystal Media Live covers how to conquer your fears and get in front of the camera. See what we say about self-confidence, tripods, authenticity and more!

Be sure to catch new episodes every Monday at 10 a.m. PST on our Facebook Page. Replays will be available on the blog each week.

Crystal Media Live Episode 1: Which Social Media Platforms You Should Market Your Store On

Don't you love the feeling of starting something new and exciting? Our office has been BUZZING with the launch of Crystal Media Live, a weekly Facebook Live show where we dive in to your most asked-about topics and give you actionable tips to boost your social media results.

Our first episode aired Monday, April 17th at 10 a.m. PST and covered which social media platforms you should market your store on.

You can catch the full episode, including a live Q&A session, below!

Be sure to catch new episodes every Monday at 10 a.m. PST on our Facebook Page. Replays will be available on the blog each week.

A Checklist for Spring Cleaning Your Social Media Accounts

Spring cleaning probably brings to mind a mountain of laundry and visions of an organized junk drawer. But spring cleaning can apply to your social media accounts, as well! Your business is constantly changing, even in the most unnoticable ways. But these small changes can leave a lot of outdated information on your social profiles.

It’s smart to schedule quarterly “maintenance” on your social media profiles so that information is never too out of date. Before you begin, you should make sure you know exactly where you’re looking. Make a list of all your social accounts, even ones you aren’t active on. Include email addresses and website URLs in this list. We’ll cover them, too. As a safe check, Google your business to see if there are any surprises, and if you see fake accounts, incorrect listings, or anything else, make a note.

When you’re ready to get started, get out a pen or highlighter and cross off these items as you go along:

Facebook:

  • Is your profile photo an accurate depiction of your brand - typically a logo or photo of your storefront?
  • Have you been swapping out your cover photo monthly? This should be a part of your usual social maintenance
  • Do all your photos have captions, including your profile and cover photo?
  • Are you posting AT LEAST several times per week? If not, try to schedule out some posts
  • Do you have the blue call-to-action button enabled on your page and is the link correct?
  • Are your hours correct?
  • Is your address correct?
  • Have you listed the parking options at your business?
  • Have you provided customers with an email address?
  • Is the map enabled on your page?
  • Is your phone number correct?
  • Do you list your website and is it linking over correctly?
  • Do you have both the “More Info” and “Story” sections filled out, complete with keywords such as current brands you carry, types of products you carry and your location?
  • Do you have the right template selected? Facebook now allows you to choose from regular, business, shopping, service, venue, politician and restaurant templates within settings
  • On the “Video” tab, are you featuring your top or most recent video?
  • If you are running any ongoing ads, are the graphics and text up to date?
  • Do all the tabs on the left side of you page link correctly?
  • If you have an email list, do you have a tab where people can sign up?
  • Are you regularly responding to questions and comments? Don’t leave anything unanswered
  • If you have a group for your page, is all the group information correct?
  • Have you been approving people into your group?

Pinterest:

  • Is your website listed in your bio?
  • Is your location listed in your bio?
  • Does your bio properly summarize your business?
  • Does your profile photo match your Facebook profile photo, or is it a logo or storefront?
  • Are you regularly following Pinterest users, including ones who follow you?
  • Have you set your featured boards (You may choose up to 5)?
  • If you’ve created cover images for your boards, are they all displayed?
  • Are all your boards relevant to your business and are you regularly pinning to each of them?
  • Are most of your pins sending people directly to your website, Facebook Page, blog, etc?
  • Have you pinned any pins from vendor websites that send customers directly to them? Be sure to fix them to go to your website
  • Are the images you are pinning branded to your company?
  • Are the images you are pinning optimized in size (735 px wide x 1102 px tall)?
  • Are you regularly responding to questions and comments? Don’t leave anything unanswered

Instagram:

  • Do you have your account set up as a business (You’ll see a business type listed under your name)?
  • Is your business type correct?
  • Does your bio properly sum up your business?
  • Do you have your website/blog/Facebook Page listed?
  • Do you have your location listed?
  • If there is room, do you have your phone number listed within your bio?
  • Does your profile photo match your Facebook profile photo, or is it a logo or storefront?
  • Are you updating several times per week to several times per day?
  • Are you using hashtags in your photo and video descriptions?
  • Do you have your call to action buttons enabled and are the links correct?
  • Are you regularly following users?
  • Are you regularly responding to questions and comments? Don’t leave anything unanswered

Twitter (*Note: Many retailers have told us that they are not seeing results from Twitter. If you're not seeing results either, it might be time to focus more of your energy on other networks where more of your audience is.):

  • Have you updated your header photo recently?
  • Does your profile photo match your Facebook profile photo, or is it a logo or storefront?
  • Is your website listed?
  • Does your bio properly sum up your business?
  • Are you regularly responding to questions and comments? Don’t leave anything unanswered
  • Do your tweets include hashtags?

Multiple Location Accounts:

  • Is the name of your business consistent across all accounts?
  • Is the branding of your graphics consistent across all accounts?
  • On Facebook, does your description include information about your other locations?
  • Is the content on each page unique (It can be similar, but each page should have unique posts)?

Additional Considerations:

  • Do you have the same username across all social platforms? This is great for brand recognition.

  • Do you regularly cross-promote your social accounts - sending people to Instagram from Facebook and to Pinterest from Instagram?

  • Do any print materials you have include the right links for your website and social accounts?

  • Is your business information correct in online listings like Yelp and Yellow Pages? You may need to claim your business to fix the information.

BONUS: Website and Email:

  • Does your website have a contact page or place to contact you?
  • Do you have your address listed?
  • Do you have your phone number listed?
  • Do you have an email address listed (Even if you have a contact form, in case there is an error)?
  • Are all your social accounts listed?
  • Is your website copy accurate?
  • Have you updated your photos recently?
  • Is your branding consistent across all your platforms, from website to social?
  • Do all the links on your website work?
  • Do your email signature and your employees’ email signatures contain the correct address, phone number, hours, etc. for the store?
  • Can you delete email addresses of past employees?

Congratulations! Your spring cleaning is done… at least on social media. Mark your calendar to check these items off again next quarter. Don’t wait until next spring!

We’re curious, how often do you currently do a full check of your social media? Tell us in the comments below!

Instagram Ads: Choosing the Best Objective

We talk a lot about Facebook Ads and how beneficial they can be for your business. But Facebook’s sister network, Instagram, has a lot of opportunity as well!

There are two ways to set up Instagram Ads:  On the Instagram app on your phone or where you set up your Facebook Ads. We prefer to set them up through Facebook because you have more options. No matter which option you decide to use, you’ll choose a new campaign for your first ad.

You’ll need to choose an objective for your campaign. You may notice that not all of the objectives available to you in Facebook Ads are options for Instagram Ads. These are the objective you have to choose from:

  • Brand Awareness
  • Reach
  • Traffic
  • App Installs
  • Engagement
  • Video Views
  • Conversions
  • Lead Generation

Your objective will depend on your end goal:

  • If you want to increase overall awareness of your brand, you’ll want to choose Brand Awareness.
  • If you want to reach as many people in your area as possible,  you’ll want to choose Reach.
  • If you’d like to send people away from Facebook, to the app store to download an app or to your website, you’ll want to choose Traffic.
  • To get people to specifically download your app, you’ll choose App Installs
  • To get more post engagement, you’ll choose Engagement
  • To get more views on a video, you’ll choose Video Views
  • To increase conversions on your website or app, you’ll choose Conversions
  • To collect new leads for your store, you’ll want to choose Lead Generation
Screenshot_20170316-121829.png

If you’re not sure which objective you’d like to start with, here are a few ideas:

  • Choose the Traffic or Video View objective, film a new product arrival video and link a “Shop Now” button to your website, blog post or contact page. If you sell online, consider running a conversion ad. 
  • Choose the Traffic objective and send people to a special offer on your website. Be sure that you have the Facebook Pixel set up on your website, and you can use it to retarget the people who visit your website from your ad.
  • Choose the Engagement objective and feature locally made products, or products to support your local team in the graphic. For text, try something like, “Tailgating this weekend? Cheer on the {team name} in style!”
  • Choose Engagement and target users who have a relationship status of “engaged.” Feature your top wedding gifts to appeal to couples prepping for wedding season.
  • Promote your spring cleaning sale with a Video View Ad. Under detailed targeting, you can choose the partner category of “homeowner” or “renter” to target people who may be sprucing up for spring.
  • If you’re running a contest, you can share the details in a Conversion, Engagement or View View ad, depending on the contest, or put in-store contest details on your website and send people there with a Traffic Ad. Be sure to review Instagram’s contest guidelines.

It’s important that you test all of your ads. Not performing well? You may need to adjust the graphic, text or targeting. Paying attention to what is working and what isn’t can help you keep your costs lower and help you become a pro at targeting YOUR perfect customers on Instagram.

Have you tried Instagram Ads yet? Which ad type have you found works best for you? Have you tried a video ad yet? Comment below!

Ad Targeting and Finding Your Perfect Customer Groups

You’ve heard it before, but it’s important enough to repeat:  When you market to everyone, you market to no one. In our previous post, “3 Things You’re Doing Wrong with Facebook Ads,” we talked about why failing to target your ads can lead to less-than-stellar results. One of the biggest factors that decides whether your Facebook ads will perform great or terribly is the audience you choose to target. Before we dive a little deeper into targeting capabilities within Facebook, let’s talk about who’s going to see these ads.

When marketing your business, all the content you put out needs to be targeted, in my opinion. How many people you’ll target will depend on your business, and to reach all your targeted users, you may need to create several advertising pieces with diverse messaging to make sure your content resonates with them.

I call these groups our Perfect Customer Groups, or PCGs. These are the people, whether they are familiar with your business or not, who love the things you sell. They’re people who are easy to work with. When they leave your store, you smile and think, “I wish all my customers were like that customer.” They’re loyal, booking appointments to shop at your store, or coming in anytime they need something new for their home, closet, pet, or a gift. They might be a “sneezer” who spreads the word about your store to all their friends and always bring someone new in.

Do you know who your PCGs are? Can you think of an actual customer? Hopefully you can, because I want you to think of that person while you read this post and while you set up future marketing pieces and ads.

If you haven’t figured out your perfect customer yet, pause and take a moment to define them. Where do they live and work? How old are they? Do they have kids or pets? What are their hobbies? What keeps them up at night? What do they Google? What magazines, books or blogs do they read? These are just a few of the questions I ask marketers to research and fill out in the Customer Profiling Worksheet found in our Facebook and Instagram Ads Course and within Social Edge.

I cannot express how important knowing who your PCGs are and what drives them to shop is to your marketing and growth of your business. Failing to recognize your PCGs can make the difference between open for business and closed for good. We live in a digital world where it’s incredibly easy for businesses to get in front of today’s consumer. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to get them to buy from you.

Seeing your ads are one thing, while acting on them is another, especially when users are being inundated by ads from your competition. Creating content – including social posts, emails, commercials, newspaper and radio ads, billboards and -  that appeals to your PCGs will help your brand stand out to the consumer, increasing the chances that they choose you over the competition.

Your business may have one core customer group or have more varied products that many types of customers buy. Sit down and identify how many groups your business has, and create an example customer to represent each group. This real, or fictional, person should have a name and personality, and possibly even a photo! Create as complete a profile for this person as possible. When you’re writing any kind of customer-facing content, you’ll write to this person or these people.

Alright, do you have your PCGs in mind? Have you created, named and written a profile for your sample customers? Ready to start connecting with them online and building a relationship? Heck yes you are! The next step is figuring out where to find these people.

With print marketing, it’s much harder to target a very specific group of people than it is using online tools. For this reason, we’re going to focus on Facebook and Instagram ads here.

Let’s say you’re a jeweler. You’ve done your homework and you’ve identified a perfect customer you call Jennifer. Jennifer loves fashion, accessorizing, follows fashion bloggers and influencers and loves being on-trend. She also loves to travel and decorate her home. She’s a girly-girl who loves pink, loud colors, lipstick and bling. She’s 36 and makes $75,000/year as a marketing director for a small boutique firm run by women and lives within 10 miles of your store. Knowing more about Jennifer helps us create content for her, and makes it easier to find her through ads.

Here’s an example from Elizabeth Cole Jewelry. They’ve done a great job with their content, connecting with Jennifer.

The above example has a blend of content, some showing people, some showing products in the “flat lay” position, one showcasing a stylish living room and one from beautiful Anegada in the British Virgin Islands. Jennifer would love to follow this brand because the content fits her personality and lifestyle.

So, how do we find Jennifer? We can plug some of her demographics in Facebook Ads, choosing women, 34-38 who live within 20 miles of your store, and have an interest in shopping and fashion, fashion accessories, jewelry and fashion blogs. Depending on the size of the audience group, this could be all you need. With the right image (or video) and copy, you may start to drive all sorts of Jennifers into your store. But if you try to advertise to this audience and the ad isn’t performing well, or the audience is large (over 150,000), you’ll want to add in some more details.

Let’s take it a step further to find Jennifer on Facebook and Instagram. In addition to all the demographics and interests listed above, lets also target brands that are similar to Elizabeth Cole Jewelry. Let’s pretend you carry this brand in your store, and you know Jennifer would love it. If Jennifer loves Elizabeth Cole, she’ll also love Elizabeth and James, Elke Kramer, Ella + Mila and Ella Moss, for example.

Because you’re a jeweler, you’re an expert and are familiar with these similar brands. But because my expertise is social media, I turned to my friend Google and typed in “brands similar to Elizabeth Cole.” From this search, I also learned that Anthropologie carries Elizabeth Cole. Anthropologie is a brand of its own, so it’s safe for me to assume that Jennifer may shop at Anthropologie as well.

Now, we take these brands over to Facebook Ads and plug them in under detailed targeting to see which how many fans follow them on Facebook and Instagram and if we can advertise to them. Of the brands above, I could advertise to fans of Ella Moss and Anthropologie.

Do you see how we’re tying it all together, learning who our perfect customer is, using content (image, video and/or copy) that resonates with that person, and creating incredibly targeted ads to reach our perfect customer?

We’ve done this with many retailers we work with at Crystal Media, and the results have been incredible. We’ve seen results like selling out of items in just two days and helping the store achieve their highest sales month in the store’s 15-year history. It’s been awesome to watch and be a part of. And we did it using the tactics in this article:

  • We understood our clients’ PCGs
  • We gave them direction on what kind of content to post to resonate with their PCGs
  • We advertised to these people using detailed targeting
  • We monitored the ads’ performance and made changes when we needed to

Excited by the opportunity to reach your PCGs today and drive them into your store… but don’t have much (or any) experience with Facebook Ads? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Click here to learn more about our step-by-step training, “ Click Your Way to Customers: Facebook and Instagram Ads Training.

Tell me who your PCGs are! Comment below, and maybe I can help you zero in on them further. Or, list some content ideas that this article has helped you brainstorm for your social media and ads. I can't wait to hear what you came up with!

3 Things You’re Doing Wrong with Facebook Ads

Running ads on Facebook is one of the best ways to ensure your posts are being seen by your audience in order to grow your local exposure and increase store traffic and sales. But with so many ad types and targeting capabilities, we’re consistently seeing retailers miss opportunities to significantly increase their results.

Here are the three things retailers are doing wrong when it comes to Facebook ads.

1. Not Targeting.

One of the main reasons Facebook ads are so incredibly powerful are the targeting capabilities. You can not only target current customers, but there are several ways to target new customers as well. However, if you don’t target or if you’re not running ads that are relevant to the audience you’re choosing (Your perfect customer group(s)), you’re wasting money.

We have a Social Edge member who ran an ad for $20 that received over 10,000 impressions, which seems like a lot for just $20. However, only two people clicked on her ad. This tells me that only a couple of people were interested in the content she was advertising. She asked me if her results were good, and I said, “It’s a lot of impressions for just $20, but what was the goal of the ad? If it was to get more people to your website, and you only had two clicks, then $10/click is not a good result. That’s pretty high for a website click.” I learned that she advertised to anyone 18-65+ in a 20-mile radius of her store, which is located just outside of a major city. In the end, she wasted money advertising to people who will not shop with her and who are not interested in her products.

Get familiar with the targeting options available, and strategically plan who you want to see your ad, as well as what you want them to do. Then make the ad relevant to them using an image or video that relates and copy that connects. Some examples of the targeting capabilities inside of Facebook:

Target users who:

  • Are on your email list
  • Are similar to the people who currently like your business page
  • Have been to your website
  • Purchase luxury items
  • Purchase dog food and are a pet owner
  • Have engaged with your Facebook Page in the past 7 days
  • Have watched your video on Facebook

These are only a few examples. There are many more options out there, with the ability to combine exclude audiences, improving targeting even further.

2. Not Testing.

Most of the retailers we work with are incredibly busy. They’re trying to run their business, purchase, stock and sell inventory, train and manage staff, clean the store and market it; just to name a few tasks. :) Because they’re so busy, they don’t have much time to test the ads they’re running and analyze the posts and ads that are successful to understand why or make changes to see if it performs even better.

WIthin Facebook Ads, you can test things like images or videos, copy, audiences, placement and ad types. For example: You’re trying to raise awareness and increase sales for a new product line you just brought in. You’re advertising to a targeted group of people who would love the new line (like we discussed earlier), but you’re not sure which image of the product will capture the audience the best. So, you test three images: One from the manufacturer that’s more of a lifestyle shot of someone using or wearing the item, one from the manufacturer that’s on a white background and one that you took in store. You keep everything else the same, using the same ad type, placement, audience and copy. Let the ad run for at least 48 hours and check to see which image is getting the most activity, for the lowest cost. You can then pause the other two ads that are not performing as well.

When we test, we have a better understanding of the content our audience responds to best on Facebook, which saves us time in the long run as we know what type of content, ad or audience  will perform the best. This will optimize our budget so that we spend less for better results.

Testing tip! As I’m writing this blog post, Facebook LOVES video and puts a heavier weight on video posts, meaning this type of content is typically shown to more people than other content types, like images or text posts. If your ads are not performing well, or ad cost is high, try advertising a video instead. We’ve seen ad costs drop by up to ⅔ by changing a product image to a video.

3. Only Boosting.

I get the opportunity to travel the world and speak to retailers about how to successfully use social media to market their stores and products. I often ask my audience, “Raise your hand if you’re advertising on Facebook.” A few people out of 100 will raise their hand. Then I ask, “Raise your hand if you’re boosting posts on Facebook,” and half the room raises their hand. Boosting IS advertising, but there are several other ad types available to help support your business goals.

Screenshot 2017-02-27 11.52.09.png

If you’re only boosting, you’re missing out on other opportunities to reach people near your store and build local awareness, get people on your email list to like you on Facebook, build website traffic or increase attendance at your event. Boosting is the fastest and easiest way to advertise, which is a major reason retailers are only boosting. But to have more of a well-rounded ads strategy, you should be using other ad types to support goals.

Boosting can also add up if you’re not planning boost spends. For example, if you don’t have an allocated Facebook ads budget, and you’re just boosting a post here and boosting a post there, you might add up the cost to see you’ve spent over $400 this month boosting some posts. You may not be sure if this is high or low, or what the results were (Can I get an “Amen!” in the comment below if you know what I’m talking about?!). When you set an ads budget based on your current marketing budget, goals and audience size, and allocate it appropriately to goals (For ex: Building foot traffic, increasing web traffic, selling items online), you’ll know if what you spent was worth the result.

A lot of the retailers we work with have a $250-$500 a month Facebook Ad budget, seeing results like more store traffic (One retailer is seeing an additional six new customers a day in her store since starting Facebook Ads at a $350/month budget), busiest events they’ve had and some are selling out of items within days after the ad goes live. These results were achieved with a few ad types, and none were by boosting. So, familiarize yourself with what types of ads are available to support your goals. Then, combine the right ad types with the right audience, test your ads and start tracking the results.

New to ads, or need to know how to leverage what you’re currently doing to see better results? We’ve got you covered in the “Click Your Way to Customers: Facebook and Instagram Ads” training course, which is now available!

Click here to learn more about what’s inside, and email [email protected] if you have any questions about this being a good fit for your business.

Leave a comment below: Are you running ads? If so, successfully? Do you have some room to grow, or are you feeling like you’re wasting money?

mADness: How Two Retailers Boosted Their Social Media Results with Facebook Ads

It seems like we never stop talking about Facebook Ads, right?

That's because they are such an important part of being successful on Facebook. But as much as we bring them up, you may be wondering, "What kind of results can I see if I improve my ad strategy?"

We've got two examples today from retailers we worked with 1-on-1. Though they are different from one another in both location and product selection, both were able to see great results from smart posts and videos promoted with Facebook Ads.

Skirt

Skirt is a high-end women's clothing boutique in Bryn Mawr, near Philadelphia. 

Maureen, Skirt's owner, really wanted to promote a sale that the store was having, and she wanted to make sure that shoppers in her local area knew it was happening. We helped her create a Page Post Engagement Ad, the ad with a main objective to get users to engage - via sharing, liking, clicking or commenting - with the ad. We targeted her page's Lookalike Audience and people who like the brands she carries on Facebook and set the radius to 25 miles from the store.

For the ad image, we used a slideshow of the looks that were on sale in the store, and completed the ad with copy that said, "Shop our Spring Sale now! Tag a friend and save 30%-75% OFF!”

We had a $50 budget for this ad, which ran for 3 weeks.

How did the ad perform? The first two days of the promotion broke store sales records, and the ad engaged customers who had not been to the store for a while:

"I noticed an old customer had liked my video," Maureen said. "I hadn't seen her in a few years. She came in with her daughter later that same day and said that she was not a 'fan' of our page, but it showed up in her feed and she watched the video and had to come in. She spent $4,800!"

Summary:

  • We ran an ad to Facebook users in a 25-mile radius of Skirt who already liked brands that they carry on Facebook
  • The ad ran for 3 weeks with a $50 budget
  • In just ONE transaction, the store covered their ads budget and made an additional $4,750

Coriander

10431411_595031473944540_5316781829743681134_o.jpg

Coriander is a gift, jewelry, home and clothing store with locations in Guelph and Collingwood, Ontario. 

They were prepping for a big 12 Days of Christmas promotion and really wanted to get the word out. We suggested that they announce each deal the night before it premiered on Facebook Live. Each night before a new deal premiered, they would go live with their latest announcement, and promote that video with a Video View Ad to local users who had interests related to store products and brands. 

They had a $45 budget and ran for 12 days. 

In the end, the store had consistently good sales numbers throughout the promotional period. They sold out of several items and had customers calling or commenting on videos asking to put products aside for them to come in and get later. 

Summary:

  • We ran a Video View Ad for Coriander's Facebook Live announcements
  • The ad ran for 12 days and had a $45 budget
  • The store ended up selling out of multiple items and had a record number of people asking to put products aside for them

What can these case studies tell you about your own ads strategy?

  • Ad success is attainable no matter your location or product selection
  • You don't need an outrageous budget in order to see results
  • Ads can revolutionize the way you sell online

If you have questions about ads, you're not alone. That's why we've created the most comprehensive Facebook and Instagram ads course just for retailers. In fact, the latest version of our course is scheduled to launch at the end of the month! Retailers who are members of Social Edge get additional support as they can ask any of their ad questions in our private Facebook group and get responses from fellow retailers as well as the Crystal Media team.

If you're already a Social Edge member, be on the lookout for more information on our updated ads course, and be sure to ask your questions in our Facebook group, which can be easily accessed under "Community" in your Social Edge dashboard. If not, consider joining the Social Edge community!

5 Tips for Going Live

So many retailers FEAR going live. They are nervous to be on the spot, nervous to be on camera and nervous that no one will tune in. But here is the truth: If you broadcast it, they will come.

Customers, that is.

Video is such a strong tool for getting more organic reach as well as building the relationship with your customers.One of the best ways to do this is by going live on Facebook. The process is simple:

  1. Go to the Facebook app on your smart phone.
  2. Go to your business page.
  3. Click on the text box as though you're going to write a post.
  4. Click "Go Live" instead.
  5. Write a short description and BEGIN!

Broadcasting a truly SUCCESSFUL Facebook Live video is also pretty easy as long as you have the confidence to put yourself out there and in front of the camera. While this feature is currently free and easy to access, Facebook evolves with new ways to advertise almost weekly, and you never know when a free tool will be monetized. New advances are happening every day - soon you will be able to go live from your laptop computer via your web cam. Make the most of this feature now with these five tips.

Have a plan.

It's not bad to go live at the last minute. This may actually be a great way to promote that an event is winding down or that a promotion is ending. But in order to get the most eyes on your video as possible, let people know when you'll be going live so that they can anticipate it and make plans to join.

Each month, we hold a member's only Q&A in our Facebook group. We used to do the Q&A through posts within the group, but when Facebook Live launched, we switched to going live each month. The results? We've gone from 3-4 comments and posts during our 1-hour sessions to 60+ questions. And this is in a private group! Imagine the results you could see on your page.

Be yourself.

It sounds simple and silly, and yet so many people struggle with it. People WANT to see store owners and employees on camera. And after they watch a video and come into the store, they want to meet the same person they saw on the screen!

Be authentic to your brand and just as personable as you would to a customer approaching you in your store. If you feel extremely self-conscious in front of the camera, opt to make an employee the host of your videos or do more videos that include a store tour or product demo, where you are not the main event.

Learn for next time.

What did you like about going live and what didn't you like? Were people able to hear you? See you? Did you have more viewers when you went live in the morning or evening? Pay close attention to the analytics given to you after you complete a live broadcast, and use your own observations to improve your next broadcast. One particularly useful insight? You can see how long people watched your video. This is great for helping you choose the right length for you videos.

Rock that description.

Your Facebook Live description is VERY short, but it needs to make a good first impression. When writing it, think, "If I read this, would I feel the need to tune in immediately?" The answer should be yes.

Test your "studio."

It's absolutely fine to do a quick test run of Facebook Live to make sure that people can see and hear you. Find a spot that you plan on doing your broadcasts from each time (unless you'll be walking around your store, at market, etc.) and play with the light and sound in the room. Simply delete the test broadcast when you are done and feel more confident the next time you go live.

Catch Crystal Vilkaitis go live on the Crystal Media page each month by following us on Facebook!

Have you gone live? Leave a comment below on your experience and if you noticed higher reach and engagement than normal.

4 Must-Implement Marketing Strategies for 2017

Change is a part of life, and also a part of how to stay relevant in business. And nothing changes as fast as the marketing world. While tried and true tactics may still be an important part of your toolkit, here are four new marketing strategies that you should implement in 2017.

Make it Personal

Emails should be personalized. Ads should be targeted. When your customer has an interaction with you, they should think, "GOSH, they really know me!" Customers are beginning to expect personalization on websites, apps, in emails, in text marketing. It's important as a business owner to understand how to use technology to give customers a customized experience.

If you're new to the personalization game, start with emails. Most email providers allow you to use "merge tags," codes that serve as a placeholder for a piece of information about a customer (first name, last name, phone number, customer ID) that is populated once the email is sent. 

Work With Influencers

Modern consumers listen to other consumers. They read the customer reviews. They ask friends and family for suggestions. They also respect the opinions of influencers, whether local or national. An influencer may be a local weather woman, a popular member of the community or a teenage blogger who is gaining followers. 

One of the best ways to use influencers is to have them create content. This might be a guest post, a video that you can share with followers, live coverage of an event or a live take-over of your social media accounts. 

Find Your Purpose

"Purpose-driven marketing" has been popping up as a buzzword already in 2017. What does it mean? It's a way for store owners to bond with customers over their shared interests and needs. While shopping for a cause has been trending for a while now, purpose-driven marketing is expected to become even more popular this year.

How do you add purpose to your marketing? Ask customers which local charities they support. Get to know what drives them - career, family, hobbies, etc. and focus more of your content on those things. Focus more on how you can make your customers FEEL before you make them DO. Customers who feel that their interests and values align with theirs are far more likely to take action.

Video, Video, Video

We probably used the word "video" more in 2016 than any other word... but it deserves the hype! Video is an excellent tool for gaining organic engagement, for showing off your store's personality and giving customers a behind-the-scenes look. 

In 2017, you should have videos scheduled out just like you do with social posts. You should have a schedule for going live and incorporate pre-recorded video into your content as well. Experts say that by 2020, 79% of web traffic will come from video. That's a LOT of valuable traffic. 

If you're looking for additional strategies and need ongoing social media education, support and accountability, consider joining Social Edge.

Have you started to incorporate video into your usual marketing plan? Let us know below!