Using Social Media to ‘Sell’ Grills

Social media is trumpeted as being able to move everything from cars to soda to the newest diet book craze. But can social media help a dealer sell grills? This is a great question that brings up an important aspect of social media. My immediate answer is I’m not sure social media can help you directly sell more grills. It’s unlikely to tweet something, sit back and then see sales skyrocket as a result. The process simply doesn’t work that way.

What you can use social media for, however, is to engage people in conversations, raise brand awareness for your store and increase loyalty and a sense of community. Social media also broadens the field for you to provide excellent customer service that encourages repeat business. To some, this sounds like work with no payoff. Au contraire! The payoff comes when people see you as the thought-leader in your industry, the expert they turn to for advice or the dealer they recommend to family and friends who mention they’re in the market for a grill.

If I want to engage customers online, how much prep is needed?

The biggest mistake I see dealers make is jumping into social media without a plan. For social media to take hold, you have to know who you’re talking to and on what platforms they engage. This requires some market research and is also trial-and-error. Do you have a lot of beautiful images of mouthwatering food and shiny new grills you want to showcase? Try Instagram. For grilling recipes, outdoor living inspiration or an online store – then get on Pinterest. Thought leadership blogs are perfect for Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn. Recipes do well Google+ and Twitter. Of course, Facebook is still a big player across the social media landscape, but you may want to have a budget set aside for promoting posts and running ads.

Can you give me some quick advice on how to get rolling?

Once you’re ready to dive in, follow the tips below:

1. Engage. Social media is about asking questions and having conversations over blatant promotion. Start conversations around what types of grilling your customers prefer, their favorite tips and recipes and the No. 1 tip they would offer to new grillers.

2. Consistency is key. If you have a blog, Twitter or Facebook page, regular updates are crucial. Aim to post daily in order to pop up on people’s feeds and to remain fresh and relevant.

3. Partner up. Invite experts and guest bloggers to write for you. Offer to write for them in return. Find a food blogger, expert griller, chef or local celebrity and have them promote your store and products via their social media channels while you do the same for them. Saber Grills recently engaged in a cross-promotional partnership with YoungHouseLove.com. The partnership was a win-win. The site owners were able to give away a free Saber grill while Saber had the benefit of being introduced to a younger audience demographic.

4. Stay focused. Unless you hire a coordinator, you won’t have time to stay on top of the many social media channels and trends available. Pick one or two that resonate with your customers and focus energies there. Use automatic scheduling to help with time management. Clearly define your marketing goals from the get-go to maximize results.

5. Have fun. If you see social media as a chore, try having some fun with it. Show a little humor and personality! Ask yourself what type of post/tip/discussion you would be interested in seeing – and then post that. Chances are strong that if a topic interests you, it will interest others as well.

Schedule at least 20 minutes daily where you devote yourself to social media outreach, listening and engagement. It takes time to build a following, but the more consistently you engage your audience with relevant content, the more audience there will be for you to sell to in the end.

Keep Grilling,

Rob

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