As a multiple-times winner of the Showroom of the Year Awards’ Social Media Star, the team at Montreal Lighting and Hardware knows all about maintaining a successful social media presence. With more than 19,000 followers on Facebook and 4,000 on Instagram, posting in two languages daily, E-commerce Coordinator Teneisha Collins has her hands full. But as the store’s social media manager for the last four years, she’s managed to grow the following exponentially in this time. She shared her tips to help retailers build and keep a social media following.
1. Give every post a purpose.
Before you even click “create post,” think about what you’re trying to accomplish. Are you promoting a sale? A product? An educational piece? Consider the goal of the post and how you can prompt followers to take action. “Every post should have a call to action related to that post,” Collins says. “For instance, when I create a post about an upcoming or ongoing promotion, I always include a call to action to shop, with a link to our website.”
Focus on the “social” part of social media by actively engaging with your followers.
“The mindset that ‘If you post it, they will come,’ may not yield the best results,” Collins says. “Engage with your audience through calls to action, asking questions with your posts (and responding to the comments,) seeking out related accounts to interact with, and other creative ways.” She also suggests looking beyond your own page to community pages, posts and hashtags relevant to your business.
“For instance, we can search #MtlDesign on Instagram, find some great posts by local designers and non-designers, and leave an engaged, relevant comment. By engaging with your audience, you will not only see your following gradually grow, but you’ll also see your conversion rate increase, as well.”
3. Be consistent.
Consistency across your social media will help your followers know what to expect from you. Be consistent in your tone of voice, your number of posts per week and the types of posts you share. Create a schedule to keep track of your posts, but make sure it’s easily adaptable to your needs and current events, Collins suggests. Be sure to balance your schedule, posting just enough to stay on their feeds, but not too much so as to overload it.
“For instance, we typically post on Facebook four to eight times in any given week,” Collins says. “However with the overwhelming uncertainty that has surfaced worldwide due to COVID-19, we are more conscious with what we post and how often. We still want to keep our audience engaged and informed, but we also don’t want to seem like we are capitalizing on this situation or pretend as if nothing is going on in the world either.”
4. Use the tools available.
Hashtags, post schedulers and translation tools have all been helpful features for Collins, and they’re all built right into the platforms. Hashtags are a two-way street, helping others find your posts and helping you determine what people are searching for. And while many third-party tools can be helpful in social media management, Collins recently opted to use Facebook’s new Creator Studio tool for scheduling posts and cross posting between Facebook and Instagram. Facebook’s multilingual capabilities are also a big advantage for the showroom’s particular needs.
“Being in Quebec and catering to English and French audiences, everything that we post is in both languages, and we take advantage of Facebook’s nifty feature which allows us to include both languages on a post, but the end user will only see the post in the language in which they’re browsing Facebook,” she says.
5. Don’t focus on the numbers.
In the end, Collins says to take a quality-over-quantity approach to your social media. It’s great to see the follower count grow, but only if that growth translates to engagement. One third-party tool not to take advantage of? Buying followers. For genuine engagement, you need genuine followers who will interact with your content in a real way.