3 industry experts look at the best way to use social media to grow giveaway business

Social media can be a valuable part of the gift retailing toolkit, but for some businesses, creating a social strategy is limited by time, money, or staff.

During the first GDA Gift Retailer Playbook webinar, Tara Riceberg, Tesoro Beverly Hills, Dawn Brinson, Media Matters, and Jackie Moon, Next Step Reps, joined GDA Editor-in-Chief Lenise Willis to discuss their recommended best practices as well as simple steps to start a social media strategy.

Know your goals

According to the panel, the first step in creating a relevant social media strategy is to develop key objectives. Each member agreed that effective social media campaigns have one thing in common: they are aligned with the brand’s specific needs and audience.

“Social media has taken our business to the next level over the past three years,” Moon said. “As a multi-line agency, we are the supporting arm of our brands and provide brand representation in our six-state territory. When someone walks through our showroom door, we want them to remember something they saw. Our end goal is to always have brands that make the retailer successful. »

As a retailer, Riceberg approaches its social media strategy from a different angle.

“I think of myself more as a connector than a retailer,” she explained. “I use Instagram to get to know my customers and as a tool to connect with them passively. I also post shows and share ratings and numbers; we only help each other when we share links.

As part of a full-service marketing agency, Brinson said her company takes a holistic approach to social media when working with clients.

“Most people don’t know what their social media goals are and why,” she explained. “It’s about creating communications and telling stories. Instagram is a great platform for that, but we also create content for Facebook, LinkedIn, and TikTok, which is one of the few places you can still go viral.

The importance of authenticity

While setting goals and creating subsequent strategy is key to social success, every panelist agreed that maintaining an authentic voice is equally important to building engagement. Riceberg offered an unofficial case study through one of his personal experiences.

“Technically, I have two different store brand concepts under one umbrella,” she said. “So I have multiple Instagram channels. Initially I joined Later and paid for Instagram scheduling and hired a photographer because I wanted my feed to look like a branded feed. C was beautiful, but people weren’t interested in it.

“Now I’m a shower, get out of bed, and go girl, so I started posting reels for myself at shows and the engagement grew,” Riceberg continued. “Now I pay attention to how people interact with my reels because I want them to save and share the content. It also helps me buy when I’m at a show – if something is popular on a reel that I published, I increase my purchase.

Brinson said the biggest mistake people make about social media is “they just don’t.” She advises Media Matters clients to “be really authentic and be who you are.”

“If your store is a little quirky, show it off,” Brinson said. “I always tell our customers that people don’t really buy products, they buy people they like. Your relationship with your customer is important and social networks are a communication channel.

Moon noted that maintaining an authentic voice allows companies to delineate their brand in a crowded market.

“The giveaway community is huge, but social media allows us to get to know each other,” she said. “There may be examples of someone like me selling something on Instagram, but we can show different ways to market certain items.”

Platforms and strategies

Deciding which social platforms will generate the best return on your time investment is another key part of developing a successful strategy. Every panelist agreed that it’s impossible for most small businesses to be on all social channels and encouraged a deliberate approach.

“Start on one or two platforms, do it well, and do it consistently,” Brinson said. “If you can only post once a week, then post once a week, but post weekly. Think about the platforms that are important to your messaging and your customers. The great thing about social media is that it’s never about “just that”. One of the things we see is that Instagram is a strong platform, but so is Facebook. LinkedIn is having a real resurgence, especially in the B2B space. It’s more of a story platform, so it’s a perfect place to put [third-party] articles about your business.

Riceberg agreed.

“If you want to write, Facebook is awesome,” she said. “All channels can be overwhelming, so you can link your Instagram posts to your Facebook page. And if you’re doing SEO, creating fresh content on a blog is a great way to improve engagement.

Moon added that Next Step Reps has changed its strategy and will continue to adapt as learnings evolve.

“Since we’ve been B2B, we’ve mainly used LinkedIn to search for staff, but now maybe we’ll search again,” she said. “For Facebook and Instagram, we started from the assumption that Facebook was for an older person or maybe a more traditional retailer and Instagram was for hipper retailers, but our original theories didn’t held on. Now we’re releasing the same thing on both, and we’re doing a lot of reels.”

Last takeaways

When asked for advice, each panelist offered key insight.

“Just do it,” Brinson said. “And don’t be afraid to hire a videographer!”

“Be consistent and flexible,” Moon added. “If something isn’t working, try something different.”

“Be authentic,” Riceberg concluded. “You don’t have to be the best retailer; just be the best version of yourself.

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