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How to schedule your Social Media and what to post.
Social media is useful for an independent store to help keep customers updated about promotions and other news within the store, but …. it can easily take up more time than you have spare, can be distracting, and end up not achieving much for the business. So, here’s a way to help take away some of the burden, whilst still making sure there are enough posts reaching your customers to keep them engaged. Find a scheduler. These are websites or downloadable software that will help you to schedule your posts – you can line up a new post for every day or every other day. Some are free and others make a charge after an initial free period. Some will help you post to different networks at the same time – so one post can go directly to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or other networks at the same time. Look at Hootsuite and Buffer – and research which one is most comfortable for you to use. Once you have the scheduler, you line up your posts for the following week in just an hour or two.

Special Occasions

Plan in advance for the major UK holidays – your post might be the thing your customer needs to remind them to stop for a Mother’s Day card. Of particular importance are the ones that your customers plan for, like Christmas – you’ll want to have Christmas posts running all the way through December. To help you come up with interesting and up to date posts, look for an online Social Media Holidays Calendar – these are lists of special occasion days – like National Sleep Day (19th March) or Frozen Food Month (March) which can help you get a bit of structure to your posts – you can use these to lean the conversation your way… “Our store is open from 5am – so if you’re not getting enough sleep on National Sleep Day, pop in for some soothing chamomile tea”. #nationalsleepday #cantsleep or “Today is International Carrot Day (4th April) so we’re offering a free bag of carrots with every meat pie” #InternationalCarrotDay.

#Hashtags

Use hashtags so your post can be seen by anyone who searches the tag. Hashtags probably won’t add much to your traffic for a national trend, but if there is a local event like #BroadstairsFolkWeek for example – people will be searching the tag to see what’s going on in Broadstairs during the week. It’s good practice to build them into your posts, and help attract attention.
What else can you post?
  • Local information – fairs and festivals, charity events and markets – all of these will encourage people out of their houses

  • Changes to opening hours – if you open early for the Monday morning commuters to pick up a travel ticket, tell Facebook and Twitter

  • New stock – got a white chocolate orange? Shout about it. Or cause some light-hearted controversy – show your KitKat with a bite taken out of two bars at once!! Debate the difference between crunchy and smooth peanut butter (does anyone like both??), the merits of pineapple on pizza, the best or worst flavour of crisps – everyone has an opinion!!

  • New services – if you’ve started offering home delivery, share posts from the Basket page

  • You can share posts from local groups – if there’s a toddler group newly opening in the village hall, tell your customers what they need to know to sign up – they’ll walk home past your store and you could get some regular business – and you’ll help grow your network because the group will (probably) share your posts in future too

  • Share news from local businesses – get to know the nearby restaurants and rave about their onion bhajis or double chocolate pudding or tell people that you can’t wait for the new bakery to open, or that you got a great haircut from the barber – when lockdown ends, these stores can use some support

  • Special offers – whether you’re doing a special meal deal or you’ve got 6 boxes of mini cheddars to clear, it helps if people know about your deals

  • Long-standing services and products – “Did you know we sell useful household items – from spare bathroom plugs to sewing kits, shoelaces and fuses.” Not everyone will know what you offer. Make a list and feature every category at least once over the next few months

  • Have you been in the area for a long time? How about sharing some history – old photographs can really engage a local group – you might find some of these from your local library

  • Regular posts will help your customers to see the friendly and personable side of your business and it’ll help people understand what services you offer.
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