n an era where technology and consumer behavior are in constant flux, the power to capture audiences' attention online, then drive them to the point of purchase has become paramount for retail brands. The answer to this complex challenge lies in two concepts: hyperlocal social media marketing and omnichannel retail marketing. Together, these strategies enable brands to target audiences more precisely and offer an integrated shopping experience that boosts customer loyalty and sales.
Hyperlocal social media marketing is the act of focusing your marketing efforts and spending on social media on a specific geographic area. Social media is the predominant way to get in front of consumers today, but unlike a lot of its offline predecessors, social media is not naturally geo-targeted (regional tv commercials, billboards, mailers), it can be hard to narrow down your marketing efforts to a specific geography in the great big world of the internet.
Why is this important? Because although the marketing landscape has shifted so rapidly towards digital and specifically social, sales channels have still lagged behind for many industries like food & beverage, jewelry, and furniture — the majority of sales for these items remain at brick & mortar retail locations. So then there is a mismatch, the most efficient marketing channels are seemingly broad-based and the sales channels are predominantly geographically limited, it is rectifying this tension with hyperlocal social media marketing that will be the subject of this article.
By focusing on a particular region or area, businesses can create more personalized and relevant content, resulting in a more engaged audience. This strategy not only saves on marketing spend but also increases the effectiveness of marketing campaigns by targeting the audience where the product is readily available.
In the retail universe, we often hear the term 'omnichannel.' But what does it mean exactly? In simple terms, omnichannel retailing is the practice of selling your products across multiple sales channels — online, in-store, and everything in between. It's like having multiple doors to your store, each tailored to the customer's preferred shopping mode. On the other hand, omnichannel marketing ensures a seamless and consistent customer experience across these channels. While omnichannel retail focuses on the selling points, omnichannel marketing emphasizes the customer touch points during the purchasing journey. This dual approach allows brands to meet customers where they are and provide a harmonious shopping experience.
Now, imagine the power of combining these two strategies. Hyperlocal social media marketing allows brands to target customers in specific regions, and omnichannel retail gives customers the convenience of purchasing through their preferred channel. This synergy is particularly beneficial for brands in sectors like food & beverage, fashion, and beauty, which market and sell across various channels: social media, retailer websites, marketplaces, and physical stores.
For instance, a food brand that's launching its product in a specific region can leverage hyperlocal social media marketing to target potential customers within that area, driving them to the nearest retailer or their website. This targeted approach not only reduces wasted marketing spend but also boosts effectiveness by focusing on areas where their products are available. With the average consumer spending around 2.5 hours on social media daily and 78% of TikTok users reporting purchases based on their discoveries on the platform, the potential for this integrated approach is immense.
In this article, we're going to dive deeper into these concepts, providing you with five actionable tips to harness the power of hyperlocal social media marketing for your omnichannel retail brand. Whether you're a seasoned marketer or new to the game, there's something here to help you up your marketing prowess.
In today’s world, many brands are utilizing social media to drive brick and mortar sales for their business. In this article, we will refer to the journey from discovery through social media to in-store purchase, as the omnichannel funnel. Let's break down each stage of this process and its importance in the context of hyperlocal social media marketing.
The first step in any marketing funnel is building awareness, and in today's digital age, social media is one of the most effective platforms for doing so. The three best strategies for getting the most out of social media are user-generated content (UGC), paid social, and influencers.
UGC involves brands sharing content created by their customers or fans on their own social media channels. This approach is cost-effective and can drive high engagement because it's seen as more authentic and relatable than brand-created content.
Paid social, on the other hand, involves running paid advertisements on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. This approach allows brands to reach a broader audience and segment their targeting based on various factors such as demographics, interests, and behaviors.
Influencer marketing involves partnering with influencers, people with large followings on social media, to promote a brand or product. This strategy can be highly effective due to the trust and authority these influencers have with their audience.
No matter the strategy used, don’t forget to include a clear call to action (CTA) in your content. This CTA should guide the viewer on what to do next, whether that's visiting a local retailer to find your product, learning more on your website, or visiting a link in your bio to discover more.
Getting decent viewership and exposure for many brands is already difficult, but after that many brands just cross their fingers and hope that the buzz and hype they've built on social media will translate to sales over time. However, a more thoughtful approach would be to put effort into what happens next in the purchasing journey after someone is exposed to your brand through social media. What do you want the viewer to do next?
Most interested viewers will likely do one of the following: view other videos and comments on your page, visit your link in bio, Google your product and visit your website, or if you are lucky they make a note and go straight to the grocery store or the grocery stores website to buy your product.
The challenge is to make it easy for them to take one of these steps more easily. Links in the post description are not allowed on most platforms, so one way to overcome this, brands should provide a CTA, next step to viewers verbally in the video content.
Your website should also be aesthetically pleasing, informative, and easy to navigate, especially if you're an omnichannel brand. Remember, many users will discover your product on social media, then search for it on Google, so proper SEO is crucial to ensure your brand pops up when they search your name.
The final step in the funnel is to convert these potential customers into buyers. This involves several tools and strategies.
One strategic approach to driving social media viewers to in-store locations is the utilization of 'drive-to-retail' content. This involves influencers not only demonstrating the product's use but also their journey to the specific retail location, and even locating the product in the particular aisle within the grocery store. This type of content offers viewers an explicit, easy-to-follow path to find the product themselves.
Another useful tactic is the integration of verbal call-to-actions (CTAs) within your videos. For instance, ending your content with statements such as "Find us at your nearest Walmart location" can significantly drive in-store purchases.
Additionally, brands can use social media to direct potential customers to a store locator on their website. Here, users can input their zip code to find their nearest retail outlet stocking your product.
Finally, to bolster conversion rates, consider leveraging digital promotions and rebates. Platforms like Aisle, iBotta, Shopkick, and Fetch Rewards are excellent resources for offering discounts, attracting more customers to physically purchase your products in-store. This integrated approach connects online interest with in-store actions, maximizing the potential of social media for your grocery products.
Many retailers offer online platforms where customers can purchase your products. These platforms often also include an option for in-store pickup, or click-to-collect, providing convenience for the customer. For brands in industries where the majority of purchases still happen in-store, such as food and beverage, it's vital to have a prominent store locator or retailer logos on your website's homepage.
Finally, your products might also be available on third-party marketplaces like Amazon, Instacart, or DoorDash that handle last-mile logistics. Utilizing one of these platforms can offer seamless transitions from product discovery to purchase, reducing potential drop-off. By incorporating direct links to pre-populated shopping carts or grocery delivery options, you can directly increase sales from digital channels. By keeping consumers within the digital realm from discovery to purchase, the convenience and immediacy may further drive sales. These platforms handle last-mile logistics, ensuring quick and efficient delivery of your products, thus enhancing the overall customer experience.
It's crucial to ensure each customer journey, no matter what tools you use in the middle of the funnel, leads to one of these conversion points. The customer should always know how to progress to the next step in the funnel, ultimately leading to a purchase. By understanding and strategically utilizing each stage in the omnichannel funnel, you can effectively guide your potential customers from awareness to purchase, maximizing your hyperlocal social media marketing efforts.
This section offers five practical tips on how to approach each step in the omnichannel funnel, with a hyperlocal lens in mind.
When engaging in influencer marketing, the geographical relevance of your chosen influencers is vital. Start by narrowing down your search to influencers based in regions where your products are available. Influencer sourcing platforms, like GRIN, often provide options to search by state or city, and many influencers include their city in their bios. This tactic not only gives you a higher chance that the influencers' followers are from the target regions, but also simplifies product logistics because the influencer can find and buy the product in their local area.
Consider using tools like the Upfluence Chrome Extension to verify the geographic distribution of an influencer's followers by city. Moreover, try to find influencers who already shop at the retailers where your products are available. Especially if your products are sold in membership-only stores like Costco or Sam’s Club, partnering with influencers who shop at these stores increases the likelihood that their followers will as well.
While these tools are helpful, it is still tedious and time-consuming to filter, vet, outreach, engage, and manage influencers — especially within the constraints of a specific region. Crafted has a pre-vetted, geo-located network of food, drink, and lifestyle influencers, and are able to handle hyperlocal influencer campaigns from start to finish, without you ever having to talk to a creator.
When running ad campaigns, make sure you're serving ads only to people in the regions where your products are available. Advertising engines on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok offer sophisticated geo-targeting tools that ensure you don't waste any spend in areas you aren't serving.
Consider tagging interests, search terms, and attributes that are specific to your target region to improve the targeting of these ads, as geographic data may be incomplete for some users. Mention in your ads the specific retailers where your products are available. Remember, if potential customers can't find your product, they can't buy it.
Creating retail awareness is an essential part of hyperlocal social media marketing. This can be effectively done by showcasing the entire shopper journey in your video content. For instance, influencers can film their shopping experience, starting from the storefront, moving through the store aisles, and finally locating your product on the shelf. This is especially useful for products that don't fit into traditional categories, such as dairy or meat alternatives. By visually guiding potential customers through the shopping experience, you help them understand exactly where to find your product. If your retailer also operates online, you could go a step further and have creators screen-record themselves navigating the website, finding your product, and completing the purchase. This strategy helps demystify the process and encourages customers to take the same steps.
Social media platforms are designed to keep users engaged within their domain. However, as an omnichannel brand, you'll want to direct your audience to retailers' websites or your own. This can be a bit tricky, as explicit calls-to-action (CTAs) in captions or on-screen text might be penalized by the platform's algorithm. One way around this could be to deliver the CTA verbally at the end of your videos, as this is a more subtle way to bypass the algorithm.
Experiment with different ways of directing your audience: you could drive them directly to a physical retailer, to a product page on the retailer's website, to your brand's website for more information, or to a 'link-in-bio' that can lead to any of these options. You could also experiment with offering verbal promotions. Discounts of 20% or more are often compelling. Providers like Pear Commerce facilitate path-to-purchase in this way.
Additionally, there are providers that allow you to take orders directly from the comments section of a post, like CommentSold. Users comment a specific phrase and the provider automates a direct message with a link to purchase or find the product. This isn't as much of an issue with paid ads, as they allow you to attach a link to your post. To determine which method works best, consider running a light A/B test using paid ads. This will allow you to compare which method — directing traffic to your website, to the retailer's product detail page, or encouraging in-store visits — drives the most clicks and sales.
Just as you experiment with different methods to direct traffic away from social media, it's crucial to test various conversion tools to see which drive more sales. While this process is more straightforward online, it is still possible to implement and track offline. We'll delve into specific methods for doing this in the following section.
Working through the omnichannel funnel can seem daunting, especially when considering the necessary infrastructure to track and optimize it. Therefore, it's best to start at the top with 'views', ensuring that your content resonates with social media users and garners sufficient viewership. Coupled with views, the engagement rate is an essential metric, serving as an indicator of potential high Click-Through Rates (CTR). If viewers actively engage with your posts, they are significantly more likely to engage with and purchase your product. Essentially, strong engagement rates pave the way for effective customer journeys down the funnel, which can ultimately lead to higher conversion rates.
For tracking the transition from social media to the consideration phase of your funnel, 'views' and 'engagement' serve as the primary metrics. Both of these metrics are easily accessible through the social media platform's analytics. By observing these metrics, you can assess the efficacy of your content and its ability to generate interest and encourage further exploration of your product.
To effectively track the journey from consideration to conversion, tools such as Google Tag Manager (GTM) links, promotional codes, and website tracking through Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel become invaluable. GTM links, in particular, enable tracking of pass-through traffic to sites you don't own and thus cannot directly collect data for, such as Product Detail Pages on a retailer's website or a promotion page on platforms like iBotta. Similarly, promotional codes can offer insight into which influencers or ads are successfully driving traffic to your conversion tools. This granularity of data can significantly enhance your understanding of user behavior and enable more effective targeting and conversion strategies.
Attributing offline sales in a retailer to a brand's online marketing activities is notoriously challenging. However, several methods are currently employed to bridge this gap:
This article has delved into the integration of hyperlocal social media marketing with omnichannel retail, highlighting its importance in today's digital landscape. We've explored the intricacies of the omnichannel marketing funnel, providing valuable tips to enhance visibility, engagement, and conversion at each stage. From leveraging local influencers and geo-targeted ads to experimenting with unique customer journeys, these strategies can significantly improve your brand's reach and performance. We've also highlighted the importance of tracking and analyzing key metrics to refine strategies and drive sales. As omnichannel retail continues to evolve, mastering these tactics will be pivotal for brands to stay ahead and provide a seamless, personalized customer experience.