Bike Shop Marketing

Social Media Marketing 101: Turning Your Customers Into Your Champions

For some bicycle retailers, social media is a big question-mark. But in a time when more customers are spending more time on social media platforms than ever before – it pays off to be present

Not using social media to market your business? You could be missing out…

As of 2019, 3.5 billion people, or 45% of the world’s population, are active social media users, with the average user spending 3 hours a day there. While users are mostly going to be interacting with their friends, some of that time they’re also going to be interacting with the brands and companies that they’ve followed and formed a connection with. That includes bike shops like yours.

From connecting with your customers (and potential customers) to driving traffic to your website, social media can become an incredibly valuable component of your marketing strategy. It helps you listen to and engage with your audience, and can be used to serve laser-focused advertisements to the people most likely to need your services. Better still, there’s always built in tools to track and tweak the impact you’re making.

For example

A bicycle shop can leverage visual platforms like Instagram, YouTube – even Snapchat – to post pictures and videos of rides you or your employees have gone on, new bikes you have in stock, and your favorite local routes. 

Or, you can use group-based channels (like Facebook Groups) to build a community around your riders.

Get creative. The possibilities are truly endless. If you have relationships with your customers offline, there’s a good chance they’ll welcome some connection online. But it doesn’t need to just be product or riding-oriented. Social media is a perfect place to remind your audience that your shop employees are the best of the best.

For any industry where skill, technical ability, and attention to detail are paramount: social media can be an incredible tool to build trust with prospective customers.  Are you proud of your skills? Social media could be the perfect place to show them off.

That might sound silly, but there is an entire channel on YouTube dedicated to cutting random objects in half just to see what’s inside of them. That channel has millions of views and subscribers. If social media has taught us anything it’s that there is an audience for almost everything.

If you build it (and promote it) they will come.

It’s just a matter of knowing who your audience is, what they’ll view, and where you should post it. But before even thinking about that – it’s helpful to think about what your goals are in general. That’s where your strategy begins.

Have no idea where to start? Find an expert! Members of The Bike Cooperative have direct access to marketing experts that can help put a plan in motion. Learn more about marketing support from the co-op.

Before you get started…

Before you can start scheduling posts on your platform of choice you need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

If you don’t have much (or any) social media presence at the moment, make your first goal increasing brand awareness to start gaining followers. The bigger and more engaged your audience is the easier it will be to fulfill your marketing goals. You’ve got to start somewhere.

Don’t forget: this takes time. Encourage your customers to connect with you with emails, newsletters, and even on your invoices and receipts!

Social media can help with a number of your goals, including:
  • Increasing website traffic

  • Driving leads and sales

  • Increasing brand awareness

  • Creating a brand identity and fostering a community around your brand

  • Improving communication and interaction with key audiences

Grow and engage your audience by posting content

So what kind of content should you post? Articles and blogs (your own or from websites you trust), pictures, videos, infographics, how-to guides – anything you think will attract your target audience and work towards achieving the goals you’ve set.

For some, even a short video addressing a common question or problem (shot directly from your smartphone) can work wonders. 

Answer your most common questions: What are the most common questions you get? Try starting there.  Based on that, think about the best way to distribute that content. Are your customers and potential customers going to be more receptive to reading or viewing it?

Thinking about how to improve?

Members get access to a wide variety of tools designed to give your store an edge.
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“So you’ve  posted some content. Now what?”

Putting the content out is just half the battle. If you aren’t taking the time to check on how your posts are performing, then it can be hard to hit the goals you’ve set. You need to be studying results.

Many, if not all, of the social media platforms that you’ll be using offer tracking that will allow you to see how your page is performing and how your individual posts performed. Those analytics pages will show stats like:

  • Reach: The number of unique users who saw your post.
  • Clicks: The number of clicks on your content, business name, or logo.
  • Engagement: The total number of social interactions divided by the number of impressions.
  • Likes: The number of paid and organic likes your paid and organic posts have gotten.

For even newer social media pages with smaller followings, consistently posting comments with a mind for your audience will exponentially increase your reach over time.

Some will get even more granular, giving you information on your followers like what age groups they fall into, percentage of men and women that make up your followers, days and times they’re most active, and so on.

All of this information can and should be taken and used to refine your content and posting strategy. Try to post during the days and times your followers are most active for maximum engagement. If one of your posts has a higher engagement than the others compare that with your other posts, and try to figure out what you did or didn’t do to get such a high engagement. If you want to increase reach, invest a little bit of money into running some social ads to grow your page’s awareness.

When it comes to going with your gut or going with data, go with data. The numbers don’t lie. Your gut could just be gassy.

Follow these basic best practices as you get started with your social media strategy:

  • Post consistently

  • Audit your competitors. At the very least, try to exceed the local bar that they’ve set

  • Respond to customer questions and shout-outs ASAP. You’ll gain respect as a brand by being present and talking to your followers

  • Listen socially. Monitor social conversations about your brand and respond to those conversations

Social media isn’t going anywhere. And as the old saying goes, “if you can’t beat em, join em.” Get your business on social media, set your goals, set a strategy, and start posting content.

Ignoring social media is like ignoring your customers. Your customers want to interact with your business, and they will if you give them a chance and a reason to. Not only can this lead to more sales, but social media can forge a bond between consumer and brand that many other traditional and digital platforms can’t. It can turn a customer into a champion for your store.