For music retailers, there are many excuses for not doing social media:
- We don’t have time.
- It doesn’t drive sales.
- It distracts our employees.
- Our business plan is fine without it.
We’re here to tell you that all of those reasons are absolutely untrue. Sure, maybe 10 years ago, when social media was still in its early stages, these excuses made a bit more sense. But today, social media dominates the lives of the U.S. consumer audience – and it’s a key factor in driving foot traffic, building loyalty, and supporting the long-term profitability of your business.
Social media has become a must for music retailers. Here’s a look at why it’s so important.
Survival and Competition
Your competitors are already on social media – and they’re good at it. As a music retailer – like it or not – you compete with big name brands like Best Buy, Wal-mart, Amazon, and iTunes. These are some of the most powerful, successful names on social media.
Best Buy alone has 915,000 Twitter followers and 8.5 million Facebook followers – and in 1966 they were just a two-man audio specialty store in rural Minnesota. While you might wince to be put in the same category as a big box store, Best Buy has a solid multi-channel social media strategy that lures people away from your store, day after day.
Plus, in today’s complex marketplace, you’re not just competing with other music retailers – you’re competing for time from very busy people. Instead of shopping for music, they might decide to watch Netflix, make a YouTube video, Facetime with a friend, or ask Alexa to help them buy something from Amazon.com.
To survive, your business needs to be visible in their world: online, on social media, and part of the conversation.
Speaking of conversation, two-way communication is a huge part of why should you be on social media. Gone are the days when you could just blast out information, like a bullhorn making announcements to the public. People now want subtler, friendlier, more collaborative forms of communication.
For music retailers, this is great news. It means your audience wants to chat back-and-forth with you. This has always been your bread and butter: talking to music lovers about music. You already employ great customer service professionals who connect with people in the store; Why not take this strength to social media?
Conversational marketing is the future of consumer sales. It’s what Forbes calls the primary marketing strategy of 2020 and beyond, because it incorporates both human psychology and AI technology. Social media is already a major part of conversational marketing, and experts say it’s being joined by tech-infused channels like chat bots, crowdsourced responses, and intelligent conversational assistants.
Staying on the Cutting Edge
If all this tech-speak is getting on your nerves, you’re not alone. Many music retailers – especially small-market shops and independent stores – struggle to accept social media’s role in the future of their business.
In fact, the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) sees this issue so frequently from their member retailers, they often hold seminars and entire conferences about how to future-proof the music industry. Disruptions like online retailing and social media, according to NAMM, “force us to rethink our commonly-held beliefs about what works today and what the future will look like.”
Showing a Friendly Face
Here’s a very important and non-technical reason you should be on social media: Your fans want to see your friendly face. The world of the internet can be a very cold place – which is exactly what caused the rise of social media. Since the average person spends about 24 hours a week online, social channels soften the experience and make it feel more human.
And what do humans love most? A smiling, friendly face.
Businesses that come across as friendly and human are better at building trust, spreading positive word of mouth, and maintaining loyal fans – all opportunities presented by social media.
Exploring Social Listening
Social media also gives you a great opportunity for social listening – listening to your audience to see what they’re talking about. It’s like another whole level of focus group research, allowing you to get inspiration, hear things directly from fans (and foes), build personas, and understand your audience on a deeper level.
Social listening can tell you all kinds of things about your business, like:
- Whether your advertising campaigns are working
- The sources of new trends and innovations
- Who leads local opinions about music
- What ultimately makes up people’s minds
- How happy people are with prior purchases
- The misconceptions about your store
- Which competitors are your biggest threats
Keep in mind that social media can also help you stay connected with your fans through video, which has emerged as the dominant force in music. YouTube has 1.5 billion users and counting, and it’s one of the top consumer resources for new information about music purchases.
Making More of Your Events
Social media can help you take your events to the next level. Through tagging, sharing, photos, videos, and general online buzz, you can help your events last longer and take on a new life online.
This applies to all kinds of events: in-store, online, community events and festivals, and even day-to-day promotions that just need a boost. Show your fans that you can offer a rich, exciting experience that’s about more than just shopping for instruments.
Storytelling and Testimonials
Telling your story is a crucial part of building customer loyalty. People what to know what you’re about, what you stand for, why you’re the best, and whether you’re a good fit for them. Seize the opportunity social media offers to share your story.
Or let others tell the story for you. Do already have some great customer testimonials sitting around somewhere? Social media gives you a place to share them – a place where people welcome them with open arms. Testimonials and reviews are highly-valued among the social media crowd.
And we’re not just talking about young people. Here’s something that might surprise you: The largest group of internet users who use online reviews for research are people age 55 to 64, 42% of whom have done so in the past year.
Online reviews and testimonials are also quite important to people of all ages: They’re used by 40% of people age 45 to 54, 37% of people age 35 to 44, 36% of people age 25 to 34, and 31% of people age 16 to 24.
The Customer Journey
In the broadest sense, social media gives you a way to expand the customer journey. Instead of being viewed simply as “a music shop,” you can become “a music experience” for your fans – something deeper and more meaningful. This widens both your potential customer base and your long-term business opportunities.
For more about using social media to build your business, see our next blog post: 5 Ways Music Retailers Can Build Audience Through Social Media
(photo courtesy of Tracy Le Blanc from Pexels)