Remember when social media was all about sharing pictures of our food and liking photos of our family? Well a lot has changed over the last decade and now all of the popular social platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, are much more than just food photos and #TBTs. Nowadays, these social media platforms act as the most powerful community tools on the planet and offer businesses the most direct way to connect with existing and prospective customers.
Local bike shops, like a lot of small businesses, need to find creative ways to sustain and grow their business because as internet retailers and direct-to-consumer brands increase in popularity, consumers have less of a reason to make their next purchase at a brick and mortar bike shop.
I mean think about it…
Free two-day shipping, a better price, and the shopper doesn’t even need to put on real clothes to get their products?
Why wouldn’t they order online?
This is where social media can make a huge impact for your business. Here are the top four reasons why your local bike shop needs to start focusing on social media marketing.
Your customers are always connected
Everyone and their brother uses social media to at least some extent. Some people are logging in and refreshing their feeds daily while others are refreshing their feeds a few times every hour. The point is that your customers are active in the social media space. That’s where their attention is, so that’s where your brand needs to be. Putting your company name in front of customers has never been easier thanks to engagement opportunities on the various social media platforms. All it takes is a little time, creativity and a modest budget to make it happen.
Now, to take things a step further, it’s important to realize that social media ads can be used to hyper-target the right customer for your store. Are you selling beach cruisers and hybrids to college students? Great, you can target college students. Are you selling high-end Pinarellos to doctors and lawyers? No problem, you can target them, too. Thanks to all of the audience targeting mechanisms that each social platform offers, we are able to create ad campaigns that relevant to your customers, creating increased engagement, resulting in higher sales and a better return on your advertising investment.
Social media is about community building and bike shops are all about community
A major reason people walk into their local bike shop instead of shopping online is due to their sense of community and the relationship they’ve built with your shop. Social media is a great way to extend that community feeling beyond the physical walls of your shop, allowing your customers to engage with you and your staff even from the comfort of home.
Here is an example. If your shop is leading a group ride on Saturday morning, you can share details of the ride on Friday, reminding your customers to come join in. Then, you can share photos from the ride on Saturday afternoon. People love to feel valued and part of the community. Sharing their photo from the ride is a great way to reinforce their connection to your shop and show your appreciation for their support. An added bonus is that they will likely share your photo on their social media page to show off their distance accomplishment. This extends your reach to their friends, positioning your shop as the go-to bike shop in town.
This is an example of viral content that can not only be incredibly cost effective, but can also help build long-lasting relationships with your customers.
Social media is where you can showcase new products as soon as they are available
With 2020 right around the corner, new products are being released almost daily. New winter gear, new components, and new bikes are already being put out on the sales floor. It’s important for your shop to stay on the cutting edge of the hottest new trends in the bike industry. Your customers are going to find new products sooner or later, so wouldn’t it be nice if they found and purchased them from your bike shop?
Showcasing the latest products via your social media channels not only will make you look like the most well-informed shop in town, but being first to market the new items to your customers has the potential to increase your sales. Sharing new products as they arrive at your shop, or even before they arrive, is an excellent way to build excitement and engagement on social media that can translate into more foot traffic in your store and more sales in-person and online.
Easily create a compelling call-to-action
A call-to-action is when you ask your audience to do something. This could be as simple as sharing your post on Facebook or coming into your shop to look at the new Specialized S-Works Tarmac that you just got built up.
Special offers are one of the best ways to create a call-to-action and inspire people to come into your store. Most people love a deal and giving them a discount for their loyalty allows you to compete with internet prices, build your community, and even upsell with complementary products while they are at your shop.
Here is an example of how your bike shop can create an incredibly profitable call-to-action today.
“When you come into XYZ Bike Shop this weekend and buy two new tubes, get a CO2 cartridge for free!”
Not only is the customer coming in to buy something (two new tubes), but there’s a good chance they will buy a few more to have on hand because they feel like they’re getting a great deal. Plus, while browsing, they might see something else they need (or want) to buy as well, such as nutrition, apparel, or maybe a new light because theirs isn’t quite bright enough for the upcoming shorter days. Finally, by getting prospective customers into your shop, your employees have the opportunity to make an amazing impression so that when they have a need in the future, your bike shop is the first place that comes to mind.
So what are you waiting for? You might think you’re just a “local bike shop,” but no matter how big or small you are, your customers are looking to communicate with you in the world of social media. Make social media work for you. Post the right things and connect with the right people by using hyper-targeted back-end advertising tools to reach your customers and increase your sales.
Using social media properly is a lot of work, but it can pay huge dividends for your business. As a business owner, you know that no form of advertising is free. But, you can spend $1,000 on a radio spot to reach thousands of listeners who may or may not be paying attention or you can spend $1,000 on social media, targeting people who want and need your product, and make a trackable impact that gets customers to your shop.