Consumers are turning to social networks to connect with local businesses more and more today. Shopping centers and malls can leverage this trend by accessing powerful social networking and reach new customers as well as increase trust and loyalty with existing customers.
The baby boomer generation, especially women are involved in social medial, but Generations X, Y and the Millennial Generation have grown up with social media as a key way to stay in touch. They don’t use phone books anymore; their method of choosing a local business to visit is through search engines such as Google and social networking. They want to know what is close by wherever they may be that can provide what they want at the moment. They want to know where their friends like shopping, dining, going to movies, and festivals , events and other entertainment.
Facebook and Twitter are extremely popular social network sites where people search for local businesses but LinkedIn, FourSquare, Yelp, Google+, YouTube and Flickr are some of the other social networks relied on by huge numbers of users. Blogs and microblog are also great ways to reach out and your social network pages can refer readers to your blog.
Brick and mortar businesses often think that social networking isn’t for them, but notice other businesses in your area as you go by. How many now post a “Like us on Facebook” or “Follow us on Twitter”, “FourSquare”, or several social networking notices on their front windows or front doors. You’ll see that many businesses are reaching out to access the power of social networking and reaping the benefits of growing their businesses to new levels.
In a recent interview, Web Times spoke with a small business owner who has learned about the power of social networks. Jennie Coons, Owner of a women’s clothing retail shop said, “I will always continue to utilize social media sites, it’s a great way to keep all my customers informed of any sales that might be going on, as well as always showing them the new merchandise…as it arrives.” She went on to say that a customer may see something posted on her social media page that they want. It’s only logical to continue this thought that the customer will come in to see the new item or, if you also sell online, visit your website to make a purchase.
Statistics really show how many small businesses are turning to social media. According to BIA/Kelsey’s Local Commerce Monitor, Wave 17, 72% of the small businesses contacted in a recent survey already use social networkingwith 52.1% using Facebook Page. LinkedIn and video websites were also popular while 24.3% of these small businesses also used Twitter to reach consumers. Today, 32% of small businesses included in this survey use some form of mobile advertising with another 12% planning to join the trend within the next 12 months. Obviously, businesses not joining this means of reaching new customers and staying in touch with existing customers are missing a powerful advantage in marketing their businesses.
As a small business owner of a store in a shopping center or as the owner of a mall or shopping center, you may be wondering how you could manage to find the time to take advantage of all these powerful social networking tools to brand your business and reach local customers. The answer lies in utilizing tools especially designed to help business owners just like you to managed social media advertising and reach local customers. One such easy to use tool is Claire-Voyant, which allows a business to build a profile and a library of information and makes managing and posting to various social sites fast and easy. These tools are designed specifically for neighborhood shopping centers and malls to increase traffic and identify target audience to reach.
Contact us if you’d like more information about how to craft a winning social networking program for your shopping center.