Social media can be a powerful tool for promoting your convenience store or travel stop. It can enhance loyalty through coupons and sales and make your relationship with your customers more personal – and more effective.
Part 1 of our social media overview looked at the major services – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest and YouTube – how they work and what they offer.
In this post, we’ll look at strategies for making the most out of your social media accounts.
Hashtags and tagging are two things you must know about before getting on social media. Hashtags — a word preceded by a pound sign, like #doughnuts — extend your reach to people looking for those words. They can also be used in a funny, ironic way to enhance your posts.
Tagging is used to mention other people or entities on the social media service, whose handles may be preceded by an “at” sign — for instance, @Southeast_Petro or @JoeSmith. (Our apologies to any actual Joe Smiths using that tag on social media.)
Once you’re on social media, keep these tips in mind:
1. Keep it interesting. You want customers to like your page or account. If your posts consist of nothing but advertising, they won’t want to. Include fun messages about what your store and employees are doing, greetings on holidays, inspirational quotes, and special discounts your fans can get if they come into your store and mention a particular post. Build your brand and identity through enthusiastic, friendly communication. Create the persona you are trying to project.
2. Keep it social and courteous. “Social” means interactive. Respond to comments. Ask your followers questions – fun ones and serious ones related to your business. Share other people’s posts, or the posts of companies with whom you have a business relationship. Consistently posting, sharing and following other users can help you build your followers organically. Don’t just post and never look at the service again. It’s OK to be a bit personal on social media, but do so with care. Some people on social media are “trolls,” who take pleasure in posting obnoxious comments. Ignore or delete such comments, and never respond in anger – your response will live forever on the Internet, because even deleted comments might be saved before you think better of something you said. Think before you respond to legitimate complaints as well, and always strive to be helpful.
4. Post frequently. Your goal should be to post on your company’s social media accounts at least once a day. Posting twice or more a day can help you reach even more people, as long as you aren’t repetitive (don’t “spam” your customers). If this sounds like a time commitment, it is, but it doesn’t have to be a huge one. Services like Hootsuite let you schedule posts in advance on several services so that you can use your time more efficiently. And some services, such as Instagram, let you share one post to several services at once. But as mentioned in No. 2, don’t post and never go back to the site. To build a following, you need to have a genuine presence that involves following others and sharing their posts, too. If all you do is promote yourself, no one will want to follow you.
5. Use visuals. Images always draw eyes to a post. If you can post an image with a link, that’s always better than just a link. Of course, make sure you use an image you took yourself or something you licensed from, say, a stock photography site. Images you find on Google Search are not free – most are protected by copyright law.
6. Pay attention to your stats. If a particular kind of post gets a huge response, look for ways to produce that kind of post again. Hone in on what’s popular and duplicate it.