A few weeks ago a friend of mine took me to a small record shop in Rockford. That record shop was Culture Shock Records, and as soon as I entered the store I fell in love. In addition to an awesome vinyl selection they had a selection of unique trinkets and gifts, and irresistibly cool clothing.
Besides all of that awesomeness, as I was paying for my items I was handed a business card and told about all of the social media accounts that Culture Shock is active on. I was blown away by this personal invitation to follow Culture Shock online (plus, the business card was adorable!), so once I got home I followed them on every social media account I have. As you’re about to see, they are rocking social media in a big way.
Just look at these adorable business cards! How could you resist?
I was able to get a hold of Culture Shock’s lovely co-owner and social media manager Lauren Davis to ask her some questions about their social media strategy. Keep reading to find out how Culture Shock uses many social networking sites to be engaging, authentic, and fun!
Culture Shock is active on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, LinkedIn, Instagram, Youtube, and Pinterest. Which social media site do you find you’ve had the most success with?
We have definitely had the most success with Facebook. Not a day goes by that a customer doesn’t say, “I saw that (fill in the product) on Facebook, and I just had to come in!” We have been building our facebook image for around 4 years, and the success and brand building definitely came with time and a lot of work!
What kinds of content do you share on social media?
We try to share statuses, updates, tweets, and photos that engage our fans. It could be a picture of a really cool new product that we think may have “viral” qualities or shareability, or of us goofing around in the store. It is human nature for “people” to want to know what “people” are doing. We find that putting us into our posts and pictures make the update more personal which engages our fans and customers more.
I really love how your brand uses Instagram. How long have you been using Instagram and why do you think it’s a good fit for Culture Shock?
We started using Instagram just after Christmas of 2011. Culture Shock is such a visual store, and Instagram is a great visually driven social media outlet. We have so many unique gifts, clothing, funky housewares, jewelry, and records. Sometimes it is hard for customers to get a feel for what is inside our store, just by reading the name. By showing them pictures of all of the fun items we have in stock, and tagging the right keywords, we are able to reach a broad audience and give all inquiring minds a glimpse inside the doors of Culture Shock.
How do you encourage customers to get involved with your brand on social media?
The most important thing is engaging our customers. We encourage them by talking to them honestly. Customers do not want to see fake, scheduled statuses, tweets, photos. They want to hear from us and want to feel like they are special enough for us to talk to them. We post in real time, answer all questions, messages, and add a little fun to their days. We ask questions to get more responses, and look at our social media objectively often, asking ourselves, “Would I want to read/watch/look at/comment on this?”
Have you run any promotions on a social networking site? If so, what was the promotion and was it successful?
We have not run any paid promotions on social networking sites. Once a year, we will choose to give away a $100 gift card, or gift basket to reach a fan goal on Facebook. We team up the contest with some kind of viral, shareable graphic that we create that leads to our page, and the results are always successful because we care about our fans, and in return they show us gobs of support. We couldn’t be more grateful.
Do you use social media to drum up new business? Or do you mainly use it to engage with current customers?
I would say we definitely use social media to drum up new business. Many times, when fans are sharing our statues, pictures, or tweets, we gain new fans who have never heard of our store. Those fans end up stopping in because their friends posted about it on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, and the cycle goes on and on.
I’m really impressed with your presence on Youtube. As a small business, why do you think it’s important to have a video presence?
In reality, YouTube is owned by Google. What is the most popular search engine? Google. When people look up keywords associated with your local business in Google search, videos appear at the top of the page. Having an online presence with proper and smart SEO can help you move up in the popular search engines. In addition to this, it is FUN to make videos and show people again, MORE visuals, of what your place is like, and also what your personalities are like! We have had a lot of fun with our videos if you can tell!
What do you do to keep a consistent brand image across multiple social media platforms?
We feel the most important part is having a professional logo and branding description. Having a logo and description of the business that customers can identify your business with is priceless. If our business were to have a different picture in each online social outlet, customers might get confused if each place represents our store. Having a consistent logo helps our customers identify us.
Do you manage all of Culture Shock’s social media accounts on your own? How do you find the time to do it all?
I do, in fact, manage all of it. How do I have time? I haven’t figured that out yet. It does take a lot of work, but the customers and the fact that it is the most useful form of free advertisement makes it incredibly worth it.
Other than social media, what other online marketing techniques does Culture Shock use to establish a web presence?
We make sure that all of the major search engines have all of our correct information. We search ourselves constantly, finding ways to make us more available to customers and make sure that all of our information is consistent any which way we might get looked up online. Simply doing this generates many followers and fans to every social media outlet we are on, which indirectly helps us in all ways.
What plans do you have in store for Culture Shock’s social media/online presence in the future?
We plan to start blogging more. My husband Skyler is going to start working on his music blog, and I would love to write a fashion blog. That is the last ingredient in our social media cocktail.
Why do you think it’s important for small businesses to be active on social media?
The most obvious reason is that it is FREE, and it is the most effective way to see instant gratification of the work you put into it. If you can make it a goal to keep things fresh and new and engage your customers and fans, it will pay off.
Encourage customers to get involved with our brand online when they stop by your brick and mortar shop.
“People want to know what people are doing,” so make your posts personal and authentic in order to engage your fans. Remember that you’re making these posts for people, so only post things that you would want to read yourself.
Be real. Talk to your customers honestly and respond to all questions and comments your customers leave for you.
What do you think about Lauren’s advice? Does your brand follow any of these same strategies? Which ones do you need to work on? Sound off in the comments below!
Jenna has a much easier time writing about the media and pop culture than she does writing about herself. She enjoys the simple things in life, like puns and typography. She is an avid fan of pop-punk, Halo 3, Spider-Man and origami, with a slight Taco Bell obsession. Her spirit animal is either a bulldog or a panda bear. You can also connect with Jenna on Google+ and Twitter.