Social media is a proven way of connecting with potential new customers, says Talia Sasson, managing director of Bridesmaids Only.
Bridesmaids Only, a 250 square metre retail showroom specialising in made-to-order bridesmaid dresses, leveraged social media to effectively become a national operation overnight, without leaving the single showroom.
“It has been a fabulous marketing tool in promoting what we do and what is important to us. In that way, through our growing audience (which has been an entirely organic process), we’ve been able to establish a sense of trust and a reputation of being the ‘expert’ in our field,” Sasson says.
In order to generate interest and gain followers, posting regularly about different industry related topics is most effective, she says.
“Even though we specialise in bridesmaid dresses, we post about all aspects of the wedding whether it be bridal gowns, cakes, flowers or men’s suits. This has enabled us to reach girls that wouldn’t necessarily be looking at our business but would find us through these broader subjects,” she says.
In addition to building relationships with customers, SMEs can use social networks to understand a customer’s needs. Unlike some forms of traditional media, social media allows you to connect with people in a personal way, says Sasson.
“We use social media as a market research tool, asking our audience what styles and or colours they would like to see in our collection. In a way, we are democratising our business in that our audience is determining our designs and direction,” she says. “We’ve also made an effort to foster strong relationships with other wedding vendors for cakes, photographers, and wedding gowns and so on, and tag one another in posts to build our audiences together.”
But it’s important to be selective with your platform at the beginning to save time and money, she says.
“Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are all very different platforms and require a slightly different approach. For us, we started with Facebook, have since embraced Instagram and are only now (perhaps a little late) discovering Pinterest!”
But Sasson warns that your posts need to focus on your business and not get side-tracked by other topics.
“Too often you see businesses swaying between popular subjects of the day. These businesses very quickly become ‘generalists’ and lose any true sense of branding and individuality,” she says.
“Perhaps most importantly, don’t oversell. Have respect for your audience, they are not necessarily there to buy from you; they are there to engage with you. The buying will naturally follow that.”