Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Promoting a Mall on Facebook

Robin saw my post about being busy promoting for a second mall.  She left a comment asking for advice about doing social media for a mall with 40 dealers .

Here's what she said -

Hi, Denise. I found your blog and Facebook a couple nights ago and read just about everything you've written! I work in a vendor mall and am trying to build a social media presence for them. I also recently started my own shop space there as well so your vendor posts have been very helpful to me. 

There are some unique challenges to doing social media with about 40 vendors. I hope you will expand your posts to address those challenges for vendor mall type businesses. There really isn't much on the internet that I have found to help with this. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us!

I promote online for two stores -

I have done online promotions for Rockin' B Antiques for about 3 years. 

I have been promoting for The Boneyard for almost a month.

The two stores are similar in size and have about the same number of dealers.  Their style and price points are very different.

My main marketing for both stores is on Facebook, so that's what I'll tell about here.  This is not rocket science, but I am amazed at how many stores don't do it well.

When a customer looks at a store's Facebook page, they want to see what the store has to offer. I could almost stop my post there.  That's it.  That's what they want.

Customers want good photos and lots of them.  They want to see posts on a regular basis.  A post without a photo is almost useless.

When customers see something they are interested in, they generally have two questions about it - How much?  and   What are the measurements?   You might as well answer all the questions you can when you post.

Some malls show plenty of photos but give no prices.  Regardless of whether the prices are high or low, my advice is to put them out there PROUDLY.  If you don't, you'll end up fielding a million questions, but that's not the main reason for including them.  Sales are better when you put all the info out there. Trust me.  One more tip regarding prices - It's wise to show items at many different price points.

I highly recommend including measurements when possible.  It's often hard to tell the size of an item in a photo.  Again, when measurements are not included, there will be questions - either on Facebook or a call to the store.  I do not include measurements for everything I list.  I only give them if the dealer took the time to measure the item and include it on their tag.  Promoting a store well takes a lot of time.  If I had to measure everything I featured, I'd have to up my fee!

The mall Facebook page should not be treated like a personal page.  You can include just a tiny bit about the owner and dealers, but don't overdo.  There's a fine line between letting customers get to know you and turning them off with TMI - political views, photos of your children, sweet quotes, jokes and other odd info. You can share great decor ideas now and then, especially when it includes a piece similar to something you have in the mall.  That's optional.

If you are promoting a mall, you are not only showing customers what they want to see, you are also doing a service for the dealers.  You need to please them, too.  Whatever system you come up with, try to be fair about it.

This challenge of featuring fairly was harder to overcome than figuring out how to post to increase sales.  The store gets more customers in the door when you feature something pretty at a decent price.  Getting customers in the door is the main objective.  BUT, in order to be fair to dealers, you'll sometimes have to feature things that you know are WRONG - ugly, overpriced, and/or poorly displayed.  No matter how hard you try to be fair, there will ALWAYS be dealers who feel their lack of sales is because you haven't featured their items enough.   They'll see other dealers selling like crazy  Instead of examining the real reasons why their item may not have sold, it's easier for some to think their lack of sales is because you haven't featured their things enough.  Be prepared for that.  I have to say that 99.9% of the dealers I feature for are a delight and they are very, very grateful for all I do.  But there have been a couple of exceptions over the past few years.  If you plan to do the mall Facebook page, be prepared for that to happen one day.

If you are promoting for a mall and you are a dealer there, too, do not... I repeat, DO NOT feature your items more than other dealers.

I have learned plenty more tricks over the years for featuring, but I'm not giving everything away about that.  I'll happily share everything I know about having a booth, but I'm holding onto my promoting tricks. :-D  After all, a girl's gotta have some secrets!   You are welcome to follow the two sites I promote and see if you can figure out the method to my madness.