Social media can be a strong driver of traffic and revenue for music retailers. But a social media strategy takes a real devotion to the time-consuming tasks of posting, reading comments, responding to fans, and not getting lost in a never-ending pile of notifications.
Don’t give up. Social media is worth it, especially if you follow some best practices. Here are 5 ways you can use social media to build audience and support the long-term success of your business.
#1: Tag, Like, Follow, Retweet, and Repeat
There no shame in being new to social media. Music retailers don’t need to explode onto the social media scene. When starting from scratch, it’s okay to tiptoe in quietly, learn the ropes, and build connections – in fact, it’s the polite approach. Take time to understand the lingo and norms of each social channel.
To build audience, do friendly, social things like tagging people in public photos from events and concerts, following local bands, and sharing updates about what’s new, like deliveries of high-end instruments. Make it seem like there are interesting things going on at your store/site, but don’t be too pushy or salesy about it. Act like a person, not a brand.
If you don’t get a lot of attention at first, that’s normal. Social media tends to follow a bandwagon pattern, where nobody seems to like things until suddenly everyone seems to be liking them. Your goal is to slowly build critical mass.
#2: Shout-out Your Gratitude
Great music marketers operate under the philosophy that their clients are the stars, not themselves. It’s a philosophy that flows perfectly onto social media, where the focus should always be on your fans, followers, and customers.
Shout-outs are a good way to show gratitude on social media. When a customer buys a new instrument or uses it at a gig, share a simple, fun post that shows the connection. If you do it right, they might send a shout-out back – but be careful about outright asking for shout-outs, because it can come across as rude.
For example, if you see a social photo of someone playing a guitar they bought at your store, post a comment like, “Glad the Fender has been a great fit! #guitarlove” and make sure you like their other photos of the instrument.
You can also give “quiet shouts” simply by sharing Instagram photos of people who are somehow affiliated with your store and brands – customers, local bands, celebrities. Think of it more as a photo collage than a promotion.
The music service Tidal does this well. Their Instagram posts are basically just a long series of beautiful photos of people enjoying music. When you follow them long enough, you start to feel like part of their world.
#3: Have a Holiday Plan
The holidays bring big business for music retailers, but it can also be a time when social media suffers. When business is booming, other things get pushed to the side.
This holiday season, dedicate yourself – or someone on your staff – to maintaining a strong, consistent holiday presence on social media. Seize the opportunity to capitalize on seasonal excitement and customers’ needs for gift-giving.
It’s also a good time of year to make connections through Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and other consumer holidays. Join organizations that celebrate local businesses, follow them on social media, tag them in photos, and include info about them in your content plan for the season.
#4: Be Unique, Shareable, and Authentic
Nobody will want to interact with you on social media if you’re always repeating the same boring offers or being too pretentious. They also aren’t interested in you because you’re saying the same things as Best Buy and Wal-Mart.
Reach new customers by being unabashedly local and down-to-earth on social media. In fact, it’s okay to be a bit of an oddball. Highlight interesting instruments in your store, quirky staff members, and customers who are having unusual experiences.
When you use this strategy, you’ll find that people like and share your posts purely because they’re unconventional. You’re different than what they’re seeing from other music retailers. You have entertainment value. You’re shareable – and share-ability is highly-correlated with loyalty.
You’re also being authentic, which is extremely important to millennials. This is proven over and over again in music research. Alixandra Barasch, an assistant professor of marketing at NYU, examined how music festivals and music brands are connecting effectively with young music lovers.
“Millennials are embracing that idea of having both the authenticity and wanting to make a profit,” Barasch said. “But they are skeptical about how you go about that.”
As an example, Barasch pointed to an impromptu music festival promotion by Tito’s Vodka. When it started to rain, Tito’s gave out free ponchos that had been selling nearby for $5. It came across as a genuinely generous act by a company that cared.
You can use the same kind of strategy on social media by stepping in to fill the needs of your audience. When your followers are complaining about the crazy shipping costs of a competitor, for example, give out a code for free shipping on their next order with you.
#5: Convert with a CTA
Don’t waste your social media interest by not having a good call-to-action (CTA) waiting around the corner. When one of your followers is motivated to learn more, you should have a bright, eye-catching CTA nearby.
In day-to-day social posting, this means sharing a blog post on Facebook, and putting a bright CTA button prominently on the blog post page itself. All it needs to say is something short and intriguing, like “Send My Free Guitar eBook.”
When you do it correctly, the whole process feels very natural and helpful to the viewer. This is the key to smooth, consistent audience conversion, which is really what your social media strategy is all about.
(photo courtesy of Omkar Patyane from Pexels)