Retail environments are challenging, fast... One thing is for sure, your business needs to know a thing or two about technology today and how to leverage social media platforms.
"In youth we learn; in age we understand." Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach
I love working with interns and recent college graduates because they're the future. While I might know a thing or two on how to partner, manage, lead, etc. they know a thing or two about who's who and who the latest influencers are causing people to do what you need them to do - buy stuff!
As an early adopter of LinkedIn, I've grown my personal brand from 0 to 10k+ followers. While I've acquired a diverse network working across various industries, I've kept one thing consistent, articulating thought provoking perspectives to engage those loyal to me and giving them bold advice to reach their goals.
While LinkedIn is a must for every business owner to connect to others, Instagram is a must if you are in the retail environment. In a recent report, Instagram reported having over 800 million users with expectations to reach One Billion year end - that's a lot of people!
Another article I read suggested millennials are the most narcissistic group in history as they consume copious selfies and images highlighting every area of their life. While it's easy to label people, there's a harsh truth that this generation has been mentally conditioned to behave this way by the players controlling the tech-economic ecosystem.
Billions of dollars are poured into smartphone technology and research, down to the feeling of the glass itself causing lawsuits between Apple and Samsung. Think of a smartphone like this - it is the casing of the ecosystem, as is the syringe to a drug user. What's inside the phone is designed to get you hooked, deeper and deeper into an endless scroll to buy things. The smartphone was a genius solution to driving economic action.
Today, smartphone addiction is real as people spend hours on their devices. While this is terrible from a societal standpoint, it benefits business owners who understand there's no turning back unless public policy really changes the needle on screen time for health concerns that outweigh retail driven economic activity.
Now, back to the discussion on Instagram. Data is key to making decisions as a business owner today. If you're running an emotional business model, it's great to have passion, but it won't last as online competition challenges brick and mortar retailers. Let's look at the data on Instagram users across the web. What do you notice?
The bulk of users are between 18-34 years old and drop off quite a bit. If you're in the food and beverage game, go a layer deeper to understand what taste buds do as people age and craft a menu or food pairing that is sweeter for the younger crowd (remember $2 buck chuck and how popular that was with young winos?) and something a little more sophisticated for your post-college crowd.
Millennial consumers also love telling their story, so you need to learn how to tell your story! What's your WHY! Why do you:
Believe in the community you serve
If you haven't answered these, take a minute to do this. Without this, your social strategy will be a miss.
Next, lookup people on Instagram who live near you via SEARCH #oakland #foodie #cafe and see what comes up. You can do this with any industry to find people who love what you're all about! Then, follow them so you can comment or send them a message. Better yet, invite them into your place and ask them how you can improve your social media presence to attract more people like them. These people are giving you FREE advertising and testimonials to reach people you normally don't talk to! Did I say, FREE! Don't be cheap underestimating the reach of influencers.
Here's the deal, if you're ready to take your Instagram game to the top level, you need to learn about waterfalls! An Instagram account that looks beautiful is thoughtfully curated and planned out to cascade you deeper and deeper into their page, liking and engaging more and more - get it?
The color pallet is consistent
Images have the right depth to draw your eyes in
It's modern and minimalist, which is in - hint, hint...look at Apple's growth and what consumers like; perhaps it's time for a refresh of your brand?
There's a video showcasing a product they want to sell, i.e. move inventory
There's a good lifestyle focus on how their coffee fits into my day to day
There's the selfie of the coffee making me think I might have a chance to have my IG selfie featured
Social media is here, and it's here to stay and evolve. If you're not on Instagram, you're missing an easy opportunity to engage with people; and, if you have beautiful products or a tasty menu, why not get it out there for the online community to see?