Sunday, January 30, 2011

42 Ways Retailers Can Improve Their Presence on Social Media

We've just returned from presenting social media seminars at some of our favorite trade shows. Retailers attended the sessions in large numbers as they were looking for tips and tactics on how to create social media strategies for their businesses in 2011. Based on the excitement and energy from the sessions, I can't wait to see the exciting ways that retailers will engage customers using Facebook, Twitter and so many other social media tools this year!

Whether it was the San Francisco Gift show, Philadelphia Gift Show, or the Snow Show in Denver, we were constantly getting asked about how to improve engagement and performance using social media. With all this interest in learning how to create the right type of engagement, we thought we'd repost our 42 tips on how to improve your social media presence. We hope you find it helpful.

1. Be Remarkable - Somebody Worth Making A Remark About
2. Sharing is Caring. Become A Trusted Resource for your Fans and Followers
3. Have Your Own Unique Brand Personality
4. Be Vocal And Opinionated – Politely, of course - Within The Community
5. Don’t Flood Followers With Requests. Follower Fatigue is Not What you Want!
6. Invest Time Into Social Media – Have A Strategy And Stick To It!
7. Produce And Share Content That YOUR AUDIENCE Will Love
8. Listen To What’s Being Said. Monitor Constantly. Respond Regularly
9. Become A Real Member Of The Community
10. Ask and Answer Questions - constantly
11. Provide Value To The Community
12. Get People Thinking- And Talking. Be Controversial when Appropriate.
13. Create Your Own Voice. Me Too doesn't Work in Social Media.
14. Contribute Regularly. Schedule Posts If Neccessary To Remain Present.
15. Don’t Be Negative—Or A Jerk. Neither One Works In Social Media.
16. Make It Easy For People To Share And Bookmark Your Content
17. Listen To The Community
18. Make At Least One New Connection Every Day
19. Engage Yourself In Conversations
20. Become The Conversation
21. You’re There To Make Relationships, Not Hard Selling
22. Take Time To Focus On Building A Loyal Following
23. Give, Give, GIVE!
24. Treat Social Media Like A Cocktail Party
25. Be Supportive
26. Syndicate Your Content Across All Social Media Platforms
27. Encourage Others To Syndicate Your Content Onto Their Sites
28. Fully Research The Community To Understand Your Market
29. Be Fun
30. Get To Know The Unwritten Laws Of The Community
31. Create An Attractive, Unique And Professional Profile
32. Use A Cool Avatar/Picture
33. Use The Same Avatar For Each Social Media Service
34. Don’t Disparage Others ( No Trash Talking Allowed)
35. Know What Your Followers/Friends Want And Give It To Them
36. Form Reciprocal Arrangements With Others
37. Monitor Your Noise Level
38. Never Cheat The System
39. Help Others Unconditionally
40. Be Yourself
41. Gain Credibility. Establish Trust.

There are certainly more ways than we have time to list, but we hope it's a start. If you have others, please leave a comment and tell us how you are successfully engaging your customers. (and don't forget to leave us your fan page or twitter address so we can follow you too!)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Revitalize Your Retail Business in 2011

For most retailers I have talked to, 2010 ended with a healthy December sales trend that will add some much needed profits to the coffers this year. Signs point to this upward trend continuing into 2011 for retailers across many product categories. We look forward to the positive momentum continuing and for 2011 to be the year where retailers return to strong sales and profits all year long.

But what if the year didn't end with a bang, but instead, finished with a wimper? What are you going to do differently for your business in 2011 that will garner different results all year long? As we end 2010 and head into a new year where you have another 365 days to make all things possible for your retail business, CBCG offers up 5 ways to revitalize your retail business - and yourself in early 2011~

  1. Make time for a strategy day. Take 1 FULL Day AWAY from your business early in the year to sit down and PLAN the coming year. Take yourself and any staff you think are needed to help you think strategically about your business. No phones, no customers, just the focused effort that your business deserves as you head into a new year. Think about marketing, staffing, sales goals and products you want to add or get rid of this year. Remember the 5 P 's of EVERY successful business: Prior Proper Planning Produces Profits for all!
  2. Talk to the best. Choose 10 of your best customers and ask them to tell you what your businesses' biggest shortcomings are. These are people that love your business (and probably shop frequently) They are not fleeting and won't stop shopping (even if they think you can do some things better) Most importantly- they will give you honest feedback. Assuming these big spenders are like your typical average customer, asking them for ways to make the business even better will certainly help your business in 2011 -  and well beyond!
  3. Get SOCIAL If you haven't started a social media program for your retail business, 2011 is MOST DEFINITELY the time to start. It's no longer IF you should engage customers with these powerful tools, but HOW OFTEN. If you are already using social media, set goals for your programs. How often will you participate? What types of programs will you run? How will you engage customers regularly with your programs? As with any marketing program, if you are spending time using social media, you need to establish goals and you need to be accountable toward making them!
  4. Go to school. Take some classes that can help you and your business grow in 2011. Need to know more about marketing and using social media? Attend a trade show seminar or a local business seminar on the topic. Are your lack of computer skills holding your business back? Find sessions that can give you tips and the tools you need to make your business prosper. Don't let your lack of knowledge (or your staff) hold your business back in 2011.
  5. Take a break. You must find a way to take a short vacation (or long one) early in the year. Time away from your business will help you recharge your batteries and will allow you to see the big picture even better. Extend your trade show trips one day - or take a long weekend somewhere. The additional energy you will have when you return will do great things for your business in 2011!

Do you have other ways you plan on revitalizing your retail business in 2011? Drop us a line and let us know. We'll make sure to share!

We wish all of our retail partners the best of luck in 2011! We hope you go out and make it a spectacular year. We'll be here along the way to cheer you on with ideas and solutions to your retail problems.

Lynn Switanowski and the CBCG Team.