Top tips to give a brand personality & maintain customer loyalty by @KitschenSink #Indieretail

The predominantly online retailer may never physically meet their customer. A pop-up retailer may need to continue momentum between events. Using their personality to build rapport and keep their customers returning using social media is the key, says Rowan Grant, author of this blog.

People like people, businesses must treat people well…

The basics are people like people. And people like businesses that treat them like a real person.  As many businesses become predominantly online or home-based to reduce running costs, the personal interaction between business and client or customer can often become overlooked.  But with the many options of social media available – there are so many ways to engage with the customer online when face to face is not always a possibility.

Here are my top tips for using the most popular social media platforms to build yourself an online personality and engage with your customers:

Do be personal:

Don’t just update about business. No one would subscribe their telephone to a cold caller. As people use Twitter or Facebook in leisure time, they don’t want to just know what products you have added or new service you’re offering.  Is the boss taking the team out for drinks? Preparing to run a marathon? Kids first day at school? They’re all things that make your online business ‘human’ and not ‘faceless’, don’t be afraid to update on them!

Do keep your voice consistent with your brand:

If you run a joke shop, you could be as silly as you want! But keep it professional if you run a professional service.

Don’t use logos as your main avatar:

Users of social media sites are more likely to interact if it’s with a person they can see – and therefore you need a face. It will increase their trust in you if they know what you look like!

Don’t limit yourself to just one platform:

If you can, try using a variety of platform to network.  Many of these link up so you don’t have to do too much work to manage a few.  I really like Instagram as it has its own users but also links really easily to Twitter and Facebook and is a smart way of quickly updating with photographs of your current whereabouts and doings.  YouTube, Linked In and blogs are also great places to make your personality present.

Don’t be negative:

This really is key. Keep it professional and don’t use your business’ social media platforms to rant or whinge.  Pity updates will alienate your customers so if you have the sniffles – keep it to yourself!

Do listen:

Social media is a two-way conversation.  It is not just about your updates, but also listening to the updates of others and responding to the ones you find interesting – or even funny!

Do be polite!

If you are recommended by a tweeter, or your page is shared by another business, if you’re retweeted or given a Follow Friday – make sure you say thanks!

Do encourage participation:

By asking relevant questions you can start to have conversations and discussions with your customers and followers.  Encourage them to leave feedback, comment and perhaps even upload their own photos and videos you can comment on (make sure you use an identifiable hashtag on twitter!).  By creating a buzz around a particular subject and getting involved in discussion your presence will become more genuine and trusted.

Give something back:

This is doubly beneficial to you – find other brands, services and companies that offer products and services that are interesting and useful to your customer group.  By retweeting and sharing them and giving a personal recommendation you are showing your customers your interest in the area and also promoting other companies who will likely return the favour.

Don’t over sell:

Constantly updating about your product or service is like walking into a store and being given the hard sell from a pushy salesman, and no one would subscribe to that in store, so no one will out of choice on a social media platform.  Mix your virtual sales pitches up between more ‘chatty’ updates!

Do use a variety of media:

If you can, try to use sound and video as well as just updates.  Allowing your customers, clients and followers to hear you and see you talk will build much more trust and will create a much more engaging mix for them to want to come back to your page for more.

Don’t stop… be patient!

Updating a couple of times and then disappearing for weeks in the virtual world appears like a shopkeeper only opening once a month in the real world.  It takes time to build up a rapport, so just keep at it!

Do use your online contacts for real-life opportunities to network:

This is golden rule!  If you ever have an opportunity to meet your online contact in real life, use it.  If you are promoting at an exhibition tweet an invitation so your followers can meet you.  Perhaps organise your own tweet-up.  If a contact is hosting an event, make an effort to go.  Always use real-life opportunities.

And finally… Let your own personality really shine!

Rowan Grant is an independent jewellery designer from West Yorkshire under the brand ‘Kitschen Sink’. Kitschen Sink is the result of quality time with Grandma, a fascination of colourful branded toys, and a desire to re-purpose mass-produced materials into handmade, wearable fashion treats.  Designs have been worn by Eliza Doolittle, Russell Kane and featured in national fashion magazines.  Rowan also runs social media workshops for start-up creative businesses. www.kitschensink.com

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About Clare Bailey

Clare Bailey, The Retail Champion (formerly Clare Rayner), is one of the most well-known and respected retail experts in the UK. With unrivalled knowledge in retail, high streets and consumer matters, she offers unbiased, independent content – whether engaged as a professional speaker, for broadcast media, or for a written feature. Clare is a business woman, entrepreneur and founder of several small businesses. Having been born into a family of successful business owners, it was inevitable that she’d eventually jump off the corporate treadmill and step out on her own! Today her brand portfolio includes The Retail Champion, The Retail Conference, the Future High Street Summit and the Support for Independent Retail campaign. In addition, she is co-founder of Mobaro Retail UK and a non-exec director of Beed Virtual Assistant Services. Having started her career as a fast-track store management trainee for McDonalds, she went on to work with leading retailers such as M&S, Dixons and Argos. She moved swiftly into management roles before being headhunted into senior consulting roles with global software giant SAP, and international management consulting brand, Accenture. Her corporate background in senior retail, consulting and technology roles, coupled with her experience of creating and running her own business, has enabled her to be equally capable whether consulting to global brands or micro businesses. This unique blend has not only positioned her as a leading expert in all things retail, but has enabled her to add meaningful commentary and insight to the debate around the future of the high street, and, how technology is driving fundamental change in the way consumers, and businesses, interact. Clare has become an influential voice in her field, which has resulted in her becoming a regular media contributor and sought-after conference speaker. Often seen on Good Morning Britain, BBC Breakfast, Sky News, and Chanel 5 (to name a few), Clare speaks on a myriad of retail, high street and consumer issues – but is particular adept when it comes to explaining the context behind retail trading results, newly released data, and government stats, in a palatable and informative manner. In addition to broadcast and conference speaking, Clare is the proud author of two best-selling business books published by Kogan Page - The Retail Champion: 10 Steps to Retail Success, published July 2012 and How to Sell to Retail: The Secrets of Getting Your Product to Market, published February 2013. She has provided contributions to various academic texts, including Retail Marketing Management (published by Pearson). With an engaging, conversational yet informative style, Clare writes for press and content agencies, providing features, articles, blogs and opinion pieces as well as contributions to white papers and reports. However, when the situation demands a more serious style, Clare can deliver - In 2016 she wrote an extensive report for a major insurance and risk law firm, as a retail expert witness, to support a public liability suit. She found that project particularly enjoyable as it played well to her strengths – assimilating large amounts of data and information, identifying the key points and articulating that in an understandable manner. When not on TV or speaking at conferences, Clare’s “day job” sees her supporting consumer-facing businesses through her consultancy services. When asked to describe what she most loves about retail consulting it is typically the opportunity to “dig deep”, getting “under the bonnet”, in order to leverage the business data to uncover the insights that lead to “lightbulb moments”. She also loves working on business change programmes that centre on improving the processes and systems to increase profitability by supporting more rapid, better informed decision making, improving the customer experience, or simply by become more efficient and streamlined. In this respect she considers herself a “business engineer” with a brain that works like a relational database! Due to her years of experience, her logical, objective approach, her quick, rational thinking, she is known for being able to cut through complexity, seeing right through to the crux of issues, finding creative solutions that others may have overlooked. As if all that wasn’t enough, Clare is a working mum, juggling a home life in rural Lincolnshire with her partner, their 5 kids, 4 cats, and geriatric Labrador! For all enquiries, contact Clare directly on 01727 238890 or email champion@retailchampion.co.uk.
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One Response to Top tips to give a brand personality & maintain customer loyalty by @KitschenSink #Indieretail

  1. Pingback: A blog-a-day for #IndieRetail | Clare Rayner: The Retail Champion

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