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
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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.

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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

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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!

Why You Need a Social Media Manager

“I’m just not sure we need one.”

“I’m ok doing it on my own.”

“I don’t know what I’m looking for.”

We hear these statements all of the time when we ask retailers what is holding them back from hiring a social media manager. Often there just isn’t room in the budget at the moment and they're making due with what they have - having an employee run their social accounts or doing it themselves. This is completely understandable! But no matter where you are now in your business, hiring social media manager should be a plan for the future.  

Here is why:

1. Time

Time is precious, especially when you own your own business. And it takes time to stay updated with social media. A social media manager has already put in the time to learn all of the major social media platforms, and they have the time to learn about your business, saving you, well… time! With your knowledge of your business and their knowledge of how to use social media to market that business, you and your social media manager can be an unstoppable team that wastes no time.

2. Skill

No one ever said that just because you’re the boss, you need to be great at everything. If you didn’t grow up with the technology or don’t feel like you have enough time to dive in as deep as you’d like, learning and managing social media on your own can be difficult. But when you choose to hire a social media manager with relevant experience and a passion for social media, you’re adding skill to your team that you don’t possess yourself. Typically, you want to look for a social media manager with a background in marketing, public relations, journalism, communication or a similar field.

3. Efficiency

We commonly hear from retailers that they have found “someone young” to handle the social media in their store. This may be an employee, a son or daughter, a niece or a neighbor. While this is a smart way to get a little bit of help, this isn’t a good plan for the long term.

Every minute that an employee is managing your social accounts is a minute that they aren’t able to interact with customers, stock shelves or do another task that is a part of their daily duties. In contrast, family members or friends who offer to help you with your social media probably don’t know a ton about your business’s messaging, most commonly asked questions or products. They may not even have the skills to use social media as a business. It's better to stick with someone who has the experience.

That being said, we know that sometimes an additional employee, even at part time, just isn't in the budget. We work with store owners who are doing their social media with plenty of success. Typically, these retailers are able to put in the time that it takes to learn and implement strategies and they have a personal passion for social media. If this doesn't sound like you, it's important to start thinking about how you can delegate these tasks in the future. It may not be in the cards today, but it should be somewhere down the line.

If you ARE ready to hire a social media manager, then you’re ready for Social to Sale, the exact 7-step system we teach to store owners and their social media managers to get better results on social media. The course has two tracks, one for the store owner and one for the social media manager. Learn more at courses.heycrystalmedia.com

During the month of January 2017, you can enroll in Module 3 of Social to Sale for FREE, or enroll in the entire course if you're ready to fully commit to your social media. Enrollment closes January 31st, so don't wait for the "right moment" to take action. That moment is now! Learn more about Social to Sale.

We want to hear from you! Leave a comment below telling us if you:

  1. Do have a Social Media Manager. 
  2. Are the owner managing your social media.
  3. Are looking at bringing on a Social Media Manager in 2017. 
  4. Other (Please explain!).

3 Social Media Takeaways from 2016

Another year of selling, marketing and seeing success is behind us… but there is still a lot that we can learn from 2016. As we look forward to the year ahead of us, I wanted to talk about a few of the biggest trends in 2016, and why we need to pay attention to them in the new year. Here are my top social media takeaways from 2016:

Video is Huge

You know the song “Video Killed the Radio Star”? Well, video on social media is definitely beating text and image posts. Some experts say that video is the future of Facebook - meaning that users would do away with text and image posts and only use video clips to tell their story and sell their products.

While we aren’t there yet, 2016 saw some major growth when it comes to video, mainly in the live streaming sector. While apps like Meerkat and Periscope made headlines in 2015, they were overshadowed by Facebook Live in 2016. Facebook Live allows users to live stream everything from events to unboxings, all within the borders of one of their most powerful marketing tools - Facebook.

Users can comment on the video and have their comments addressed live, and anyone who wasn’t online for the live stream can watch the video on the streamer’s timeline later on. It’s a powerful tool for small businesses, and we’re looking forward to the new video apps and features to come in 2017!

A few interesting 2016 video statistics from Hyperfine Media:

  • After watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online.
  • 92% of mobile video consumers share videos with others.
  • ⅓ of all online activity is spent watching video.
  • 5% of viewers will stop watching a video after 1 minute, and 60% by 2 minutes.
  • Enjoyment of video ads increase purchase intent by 97% and brand association by 139%.

Mobile is Trending

We connect with others on our phones. We search for information on our phones. It makes sense that we would want to be marketed to on our phones, right? Mobile marketing has been steadily growing for years, and while I’m sure it hasn’t reached its peak yet, there have been a lot of advancements in mobile in 2016, specifically with location-based marketing and text campaigns.

Say you’re eating lunch in a busy shopping plaza. You open up an app to leave a nice review, and you get a notification that a local jewelry store just a few doors down is having a 50% off sale. You’re already in the area… why not stop in?! Location-based marketing is so powerful because it focuses on convenience. What is ALREADY around a consumer that they may be interested in? What offer can you provide to them to make the deal sweeter? Location-based marketing is a win-win, as it provides traffic for local retailers AND growth opportunities for large apps.

Text marketing also feeds on the desire for convenience, though not location-based convenience. Once a consumer opts in to a text marketing campaign, they get promos and important information sent to their phones regularly. This is convenient because it gets rid of that pesky “where did I put my coupon?” problem, while also keeping customers aware of your latest promotions.

Ads are a Must-Do

Ads used to be a nice way for businesses to stand out from the crowd. But in 2016, ads were a must if you even wanted to be INCLUDED in the crowd. Facebook is  constantly making algorithm changes, and several of the most recent updates have been bad news for businesses. Facebook has been pushing for users to see more from friends and family and less from businesses, leaving advertisers with only one choice:  To use Facebook’s advertising platform.

And it’s not just Facebook! Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram all have advertising options that promise to get posts more exposure.

If you’re feeling frustrated by ads, we’re here to change your mind. While it’s a bummer to have to “pay to play,” social media advertising (when done correctly) typically has a good return on investment. By learning the advertising platforms and optimizing your results, you can spend less time and less money, while still seeing results. I’ve worked with so many retailers who were hesitant to put any of their budget into social ads, only to have them see immense success and do away with ALL other advertising channels, like newspaper or radio. Talk about a success story!

The future is now… and video, mobile and advertising are a huge part of it! While I’m sure we will see some new trends in 2017, these strategies will be sticking around for the long-haul! If you want to stay updated about the biggest topics to pop up in 2017, be sure to like us on Facebook!

5 Things You Can Do in 5 Minutes to Boost Your Holiday Marketing Results

You DON'T have a lot of time during the holidays. You're worrying about merchandise, displays, traditional marketing, employee relations... not to mention your life outside of the store! But chances are, you DO have five minutes to spare. Here are five things that you can accomplish in five minutes that can get you better results during the holiday season.

1. Run an Ad

Ads can be SO beneficial for your business, and they really don't take much time to create! We recommend doing what we call a "Most Recent" ad, where you regularly advertise your newest post so that you're always putting out fresh content. We give you EACH step you need to create this ad inside of Social Edge.

2. Create an Event Page

Many, if not most of the stores we work with have some sort of event during the holidays. But many of them completely forget to create an event page! Event pages are great because:

  1. They keep all of the event information on one page. This comes in handy when you need to make changes to the event or add important updates.
  2. They are a great place to put teaser photos and videos.
  3. You can advertise your event page to get more people to attend! Run an ad to people who already like your page and users in your area.
  4. They help you actively track how many people will be attending your event.

3. Schedule Your Posts

Use Facebook's scheduling feature and a third-party app like Hootsuite to schedule on Twitter and other sites. By taking some time to schedule, you save yourself a LOT of time later trying to come up with something to say!

4. Double Check Your Store Info

It seems like one of the most simple things on this list, but it is one of the most overlooked things in retailers' social media strategy. Go through your social profiles and make sure your website (if applicable), phone number, address and email address are ALL listed. Do you have extended hours during the holidays? Be sure to list them. Are you closed additional days around the holidays? Don't leave customers in the dark! This is also a good time to make sure that your About or Story section includes the keywords you need it to, including consumer-known brands.

You can also check if your hours, contact information, etc. are correct on your online listings by scanning your business with Get Listed.

5. Snap Photos of Your Holiday Best-Sellers

Walk around your store and snap a photo of each item your store that is a best-seller/anything you think would make a great gift. Upload the photos to an album and add rich descriptions, including brand and price. Title your album as a gift guide!

You can get a ton of templates like the ones above, PLUS post ideas and training videos inside the Holiday Marketing Bundle, inside of Social Edge. Click here to learn more about the Holiday Marketing Bundle.

5 Social Media Post Ideas to Create Action (Holiday Edition!)

With the holidays fast-approaching, we wanted to give you five quick tips to help you get more action - comments, share, likes, traffic, and sales - through your social media marketing this holiday season.

1.  Video is HUGE. And there are a ton of ways to engage customers with video during the holiday season. Some ideas:  Film you and your employees caroling at local businesses, film gift guides based on age or hobbies, or recreate a popular Christmas story in your store. Be sure to include calls to action. Donate $1 for every video share, ask them to call the store to reserve a gift, or tell them to stop in the store and mention the video for a discount. You can also stream a live video tour of your store. Tell customers to ask questions about the products and why they make the perfect gifts. They can also ask questions about your holiday hours, gift wrapping, sale dates, and more.

2. Encourage Facebook fans to sign up for your email list using an email list signup app. if you’re using an email service provide like MailChimp or Constant Contact, they should have an app. Or, you can use a service like LeadPages. Set an email to go out right away when they join that includes a coupon to save this holiday season.

3. Promote a "One For You, One For Me Too" sale, with a BOGO deal on a few major gift items.

4.  Create a Facebook event for a holiday open house. Include holiday music, food, and exclusive discounts. Advertise this event to warm leads, like fans, your email list and/or website visitors Be sure to live stream the event on Facebook as well!

5. Get more customers into your store by having a couple costume contest + sale. Any two people that come into the store together in costume get a discount on their purchase for that day.

A small amount of time planning out your holiday marketing on social media can yield BIG results. And the best tool to get those results? Social Edge's Holiday Marketing Bundle. It is a complete guide filled with everything you need from October to January, like: 

  • Dozens of editable graphics to support your holiday marketing efforts
  • Pre-written social media posts to promote the 12 Days of Christmas and Small Business Saturday
  • Access to 5 training videos on holiday social media and marketing campaigns
  • Access to the Holiday Checklist and Monthly Checklist to keep you organized

Happy holiday prep!

The Key Pillars of the Social Selling Mindset

In November we're releasing one of our most exciting products to-date, which will be available to Social Edge members only. One that gives retailers more time, and empowers both them and their social media managers to feel more confident and see better results on social media.

It's called Social to Sale, and it's a the exact 7-step implementation process that Crystal has taught retailers to boost sales and drive traffic to their store.

One of the most important strategies we teach in Social to Sale is the Social Selling Mindset - the mindset that retailers need in order to succeed on social media. Below you'll find a few of the key pillars the Social Selling Mindset is built on.

How do you measure up to these pillars? Do you have the Social Selling Mindset? Does your staff? How can you improve? Let us know in a comment below!

Attitude

A positive attitude is the key to getting ANYTHING done correctly, and social media is no exception. If you think you can succeed, you will. If you think you can't... you won't. Helping retailers get into the right mindset is the first step to helping them reach sales goals and drive more traffic. But getting in the right attitude has nothing to do with cheesy inspirational quotes and pep talks. Instead, we help you find focus and clarity while using the personality traits you already possess to improve your business.

Learning

The next pillar forces you to sit down and learn something. But don't worry! Learning how to boost sales is clear and fun with Crystal Media, as long as you are motivated enough to invest in yourself, your employees, and your business. Something to remember about this pillar is that EVERYONE, from a complete newbie to a long-time pro, always has something new to learn about the ever-changing world of social media. 

Trying

You never know until you try. So many retailers undervalue the experimentation process - where you try new things and face the possibility of making a mistake. But it's within THIS pillar that you often learn the most. Taking the steps and strategies we teach you and putting your own spin on it is truly where the magic happens in your business. As the saying goes, "He who never made a mistake, never made a discovery."

Commitment

It's easy to get swept up in a program or course that looks and sounds exciting... and then lose motivation when the time to be consistent. The Social Selling Mindset focuses not only on finding the right attitude for success, but on keeping your motivation to impress yourself (or if you're a social media manager, your store owner), month after month. We make it as easy as possible to learn and implement, and in return, we ask that you leave your fear of commitment at the door! You must be willing to commit to your social media through learning how to successfully use it for your business, by being consistent with your posting strategy, campaigns and ads, and continually tracking and measuring your responses.

Confidence

Confident social media managers get results. And as a store owner, confidence in your products, your salespeople, your customer service AND your social media manager ALL help you feel more at ease with how your marketing and business are being handled. Confidence is key, which is why it's a key component in the Social Selling Mindset. 

Want to learn more about the Social Selling Mindset and all of the other information, tools, and resources you'll get with Social to Sale? 

Click here to learn more about Social to Sale, and email [email protected] if you have any questions. This program will be available to Social Edge members only, and will be live in November 2016.

5 Tips to Increase Engagement on Social Media

Time is money. And many business owners feel like they are wasting both when they invest in social media with no results.

Crystal has worked with thousands of retailers to identify the business tactics that lead to positive results on social media. The result? A little tactic called “The Social Selling Mindset.”

The idea of The Social Selling Mindset is putting relationship building first, so that profits can follow. We have an upcoming post on the pillars of the Social Selling Mindset, but in this post, we wanted to cover a few of the goals you'll set along your path to success.

Focus on Building Relationships

They have to know you in order to love you! Loyal customers will typically be some of your biggest spenders, but you need to put in some hard work in order to build that level of trust. This means offering great customer service, consistently answering questions over the phone, via email, and on social media, and posting engaging content that will keep customers coming back.

Today, it’s easy for customers to make purchases online or at their local big box stores. It’s the unique products and great relationships that they build with small business owners that keep them coming back for more!

Have a Consistent Brand

While copy and keywords are important to a business, branding is all about being recognizable - without saying a word. By using the same colors, fonts, and graphics, you can “train” customers to know your brand, which makes them more likely to remember it.

Your branding should be consistent both offline and on, which means that your in-store signage should look similar to your email templates, social media graphics, and even posts. Posts with text on them or posts that include your logo should also fit your brand.

Know Your Story

Of course, having the right words matters. Similar to having a consistent brand, you need to have a consistent story. Sit down with your staff and come up with a list of words that describe your store. Write them down and refer to the list when you are writing your social media descriptions, posts, and advertising materials. Ask yourself, “Does this fit our description of the brand? What do we need to change in order for our tone to be consistent in all of our marketing materials?

It’s also smart to think of a tagline or “elevator pitch” to use for your store. An elevator pitch may be as simple as, “We are a home and gift store focusing on products made in the USA.”

Show, Don’t Just Tell

We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again:  Photos and videos perform great on social media. They consistently get more views and interactions than text-only posts, and there are hundreds of resources out there to help you snap, edit, record, and add effects to your visuals.

The next time you go to post, ask yourself, “How can I SHOW this instead of just saying it?” Stick with text for giving details and links, but try to incorporate photos and videos as much as you can

Be Easy to Find

It should be simple for a customer to find your contact information, including email, phone number, and address. And it’s up to you to make yourself easy to find!

All of this information should be included:

  • On your website
  • On your social media accounts
  • On all of your online listings

If you don’t know what online listings are, they are sites that collect business information for customers to search for. Google listings are one example. When you search for a business online, the results that show up in the upper right-hand corner of your screen, that include things like a map of the location and business hours, are that business’s listing. Yelp, Bing, and Foursquare also provide online listings, but there are more than 60 listing sites available.

Having consistent listing information is important because it boosts the chance that you will show up in search but also makes sure that once a customer finds you, they know how to get to you. Crystal Media offers a listing management service called Get Listed, and you can scan your business to see your current listing results FREE.

Running a store isn’t just a business. It’s a mindset. Get in the Social Selling Mindset and stop wasting time online now! Comment below with the biggest goal YOU are currently working toward.

Who Should Manage Your Social Media? (+ Hiring Tips!)

Should you be adding your social media marketing to your to-do list? Nope.

We actually recommend to most retailers that they hire someone to manage their social media accounts on a regular basis. This may be someone who already works for the store, a new part-time employee, or someone who works on a freelance basis a few hours a week. For most business owners, hiring someone to manage their social media is an overwhelming task. You’re nervous to give control to someone else, you aren’t sure what to expect, and you don’t know how to gauge success.

Here are three tips to make the hiring process less stressful.

1. Choose Passion Over Pro

When we discuss hiring a Social Media Manager with our retailers, we almost always hear the question, “Should I be hiring someone with a marketing background?” While marketing know-how definitely helps save time and avoid a learning curve, there is no need to hire a marketing professional to manage your social media. The key to a great social media manager? A love of your store, brand and industry. Your perfect social media manager may be a marketing pro with a love of fashion and accessories, or a retired nurse who has great work ethic and loves the products you sell. Social Media can be taught (with resources like Social Edge), but you can’t teach passion.

2. Discuss Your Expectations

It happens often:  A business owner fires their social media person stating they didn’t do anything, but the social media manager insists that they were seeing success. The issue? There are SO many ways to measure success on social media.

One retailer may tell us that they don’t care a lot about engagement, they just want to keep up with their competitor when it comes to likes. Another may say that likes mean nothing if they aren’t seeing engagement. Another still may not care about either of these things… they just want to see their likes convert to sales.

Let your social media manager know - even as early as the interview phase - what your definition of success is so that they can work toward the right goals.

3. Know Which Questions to Ask

You know how to hire a great salesperson, but do you know the questions to ask when you are looking to hire a social media manager? Here are a few basic questions to get the ball rolling:

  • Do you use social media personally?

  • Which social media platforms are you familiar with?

  • Are you comfortable with checking in on our social profiles throughout the week?

  • Do you plan to work remotely or from the store?

  • Are you comfortable tracking and reporting on social media analytics? Are you willing to learn?

  • What experience do you have with the retail industry?

You’re busy - build a social media team that you can trust to rock your social media strategy.

If you need help finding the right person to manage your social media, need help training this person, and need the exact steps to take to see success with social media, click here to learn more about Social to Sale; the exact 7-step system used by retailers and their social media managers to increase profits.