I grew up in the small town of Nephi, Utah. In this town, start up businesses come and go. It is often hard to get things going unless you hit the right market at the right time and/or reach the right people in the right way. In this article I will explain how a small town thrift store reached people the right way. This was done using social media which consequently more than doubled the business! The thrift store has been in Nephi for about 6 years now and has had 2 different owners. The current owner is my mom. When she started managing the thrift store, about 3 years ago, she would put in long hours running the cash register, sorting through countless items, getting rid of things that were too worn to sell, helping deliver furniture to the elderly, and keeping the store organized. I saw her working super hard but with few customers.
At the time I was working next to a marketing team at the company I work at. They were talking about the numbers of “likes”, “shares”, “comments”, and “views” they were getting from social media. They talked about the amount of high traffic they were getting to the business website from their Facebook business page. They also talked about how these metrics had a correlation with sells! At that time, I knew social media was powerful and worked but I had no idea HOW to do it RIGHT. I followed the Facebook page of the company I work at and looked at the posts that were most successful. I saw the content they were creating and how they were measuring success. I want to share with you my journey of helping my mom’s thrift store gain customers.
It all started with me creating a Facebook Business page. To start it off, I created a basic logo and set it as the business profile image. I then set the cover background as a picture of the front of the thrift store. I then invited every friend I had to the thrift store page. Less than 5% of my friends liked the page and after a few weeks nothing really happened. At this point I knew there was probably some more things I could do. So I began posting items that were in the thrift store. I would post pictures of shirts, pants, and books. Not long after that, I got my first comment! Someone asked “What sizes of pants do you have?”. I replied with the sizes and they replied “Thanks”. After a few days, I asked my mom if she had a new customer that came in to purchase pants. She said “No, just someone who got some books and someone who purchased some shirts for their kids.”
Not giving up, I continued to think of new ways I could improve the content of the Facebook page. I started looking at other thrift stores that had likes in the hundreds and thousands. I notices they were posting inspirational quotes and wishing people a happy holiday. I then decided to start posting a “Happy Friday” post image early in the morning on Fridays with the thrift store address. To my surprise, 3 new customers showed up at the thrift store. One of them mentioned they saw the thrift store on Facebook. Hurray! The first customer from social media! I then continued by posting positive quotes each day that I new would resonate with most people. I also put hash tags on the posts and mentioned the address and hours of the the thrift store. I also continued to post items found in the thrift store as well. Not long after that new people started visiting the store almost daily. The word was getting out that there was a thrift store in small town Nephi, Utah.
I continued to listen to the social media tips that I overheard at work from the marketing team. They were talking about doing paid advertising on Facebook. They were talking about how you can target customers within a geographic area. I decided to give it a try, but didn’t want to spend too much money. I spent 2 dollars a day for a week and targeted people living in Nephi. To my surprise even more new customers came to the thrift store. I’m about 5 months into learning about social media marketing and a holiday is coming up. Halloween was just around the corner and it just so happened that the thrift store had some fall decorations. I then decided to create a Facebook post that said something like “Get Ready for Halloween With These Fun Holiday Decorations!”. I also attached an image of the items found in the thrift store. That same day people arrived to look at the decorations.
It has now been a few years since I started that Facebook business page and now the thrift store has over 2,000 likes! In summary I want to list what I learned.
1. Setup Your Facebook Business Page
Begin by setting up a business page with a logo, cover photo, and business hours. Then being posting your products and offerings.
2. Create Posts that Resonate with People
Never underestimate the power of relating to your customers. People generally want to have a good day. Wish people a good day and post an inspirational quote. Some pages have had great success with sharing articles that relate to their business as well.
3. Create Posts that Relate to the Season
People tend to love and live their life around holidays! Be sure to create posts about the holidays. Wish people a “Happy and Safe Halloween” with a halloween image and be sure to put in a “call to action” such as “Also be sure to check out the Halloween decorations at the thrift store located at…”. Recognizing holidays and calling out your business location, website, or phone number will often go a long way.
4. Learn How to Schedule Posts at the Right Time
People open their Facebooks on their phone or computer at certain times of the day. Be sure to post things during these times of day. Some people even say to post the hour before an active hour. I’ll leave this up to you to experiment with but lets say your most active hour is early in the morning at 7am and you will be sleeping then. Well, the great thing about Facebook Business Pages is that you can schedule when you want a post to go up. Set the time and day and it will post at that time!
If you would like to see the thrift store Facebook business page, check it out at https://www.facebook.com/tgtbtstore/
I hope you have great success with your Facebook business page. Comment below about ways you have seen work for your business on social media!
Jay Jenkins, Marketing Lead @ Creative Business GURU