Three ways to become part of the community conversation

For big retailers with multiple locations it is often difficult to deliver localised messages from centrally operated social media accounts. But there has never been a more necessary time for all brands to get closer to their customers and their communities.

At the recent Retail Transformation Live event  a panel discussion featuring Clare Bailey, Graham Soult, Sean Snyder and Roger Smith discussed the future of the UK High Street. In it they encouraged the importance of local communication, especially for large retailers. Here’s 3 things any retailer can do on social media to become part of local conversations.

Listen to conversations about place

Any retailer big or small can listen to the conversation about a place by adding the hashtag for any town or city in the UK. For example #Edinburgh.

The conversation about #Edinburgh reveals that over half the content is a local initiative to reduce food waste by local donations. People want to know retailers care about them, and relevance to your audience is crucial. Find out what people in any local area are talking about in relation to the place, and create localised content. 

The Maybe* What’s being said report showing topics of conversation in content about #Edinburgh March 1- March 30 2020.

Let local branches operate their own social media handles

It’s scary and risky but retailers like Waterstones do this really well. Provide guidelines, train the right people and use collaborative tools to ensure everyone stays on message. Why not test it with just a few locations and see what works? Afterall no one will know your customers better than your teams on the ground who serve them every day.

Interact with the shopping centres

Shopping centres want to support their tenants, it helps them increase footfall and engagement in conversations too.

If you are anxious to let local stores have their own social media voice, following all your shopping centres, resharing their messages and encouraging them to do the same helps you build local and community relationships by proxy.

They can also help get your urgent messages to local customers. Vicar Lane Shopping Centre in Chesterfield is a great example of a shopping centre with a strong and active voice in its community, interacting with both national and indie businesses.

Key takeaway

Increasingly customers want to shop and support local businesses who invest in their community. This is especially true at the moment where people face losing their livelihoods and businesses. Independents are able to move a little more nimbly in this space because they don’t have the internal politics or red tape that larger organisations are battling with. However even the big names must ensure that red tape doesn’t get in between them and their customers.

Maybe* is providing free business resources and webinars to support you during this time.  Sign up to Maybe* and stay connected to your customers on social media.