Running a successful business requires forward-thinking and establishing relationships with the next generation of customers, and social media is a great place to begin developing those relationships. Hardware Retailing spoke with Meg Taylor Walbridge from Taylor’s Do it Center and Pleasants Hardware. She has been leading company communications since 2017 and shared social media best practices and insights on the company’s use of influencer marketing and Instagram reels.
Showcase your personality. Have fun by engaging your team, customers, pets and all the aspects that make your store unique.
One way Taylor’s Do it Center and Pleasants Hardware social media brands share their personality with customers is through Instagram reels, 15-second multiclip videos viewed on a special tab in Instagram.
“Instagram reels have been a ton of fun for our employees and allow our customers to connect with them and learn their personalities,” Walbridge says. “Our customers see those same employees when they come into the store, so building those relationships online allows for better, more comfortable in-store customer service because there is some familiarity there.”
To keep everything organized, and to avoid missing any promotions or sales, the business works ahead and creates a batch of reels for each quarter to be posted when needed.”
See examples of Taylor’s Do it Center and Pleasants Hardware Instagram reels below.
Keep it local. Work with social media influencers who are a part of your community and have shared interests in lawn, garden and home projects.
Walbridge and Mix + Shine Marketing, a local marketing company, began experimenting with influencer marketing in 2021 and have found great success. She recommends utilizing micro-influencers, or influencers with fewer than 100,000 followers, to avoid competing with bigger brands or big-box stores who may be competing to land the influencer. Staying local also allows for content to be more tailored to your local community and customers.
“We started by giving a $150 gift card to an influencer to do a project using products from our store,” Walbridge says. “They would film the trip to our store and the creation of the project, then tag us and market our operation to their followers. Sometimes we even gave the influencer a $100 gift card to raffle off to their followers.”
The operation is now at a point where it utilizes influencer marketing fairly consistently and creates content a month in advance so it is ready to go when sales or other promotions are available.
“Instead of only doing a print ad that says we have all these plants coming in, it’s really neat to go this route and be able to showcase our incoming products in a unique way,” Walbridge says. “Influencer marketing is growing. It provides a digital version of word-of-mouth marketing and has a larger reach than traditional marketing.”
See examples of Taylor’s Do it Center and Pleasants Hardware influencer marketing below.
Engage the community. Your loyal customers are your best influencers. Partner with them to support events, nonprofits and organizations that are important to them.
Independent home improvement stores have a long history of supporting their communities, and to Walbridge, partnering with locals or showcasing your community involvement on social media can go a long way in building trust and establishing relationships with the next generation of customers.
“Being engaged participants in the communities you serve allows you to better connect with your customers,” Walbridge says. “And it’s important for staff and owners to be engaged in that effort. That’s something that’s been a fabric of our business since 1927 and has been very impactful to our success.”