If you’re anything like me, you inevitably buy almost everything you use online. From food to that Santa who twerks to Jingle Bells. You’d likely be shocked to learn that stores are still a thing. But despite the fact that it seems like everyone shops only online these days, April 2019 was the first month in history where online sales were more than brick and mortar; this does not include restaurant and auto sales. And this was only by .006 percent.(₁) This doesn’t change the fact that consumers are spending more time engaging with brands online than ever before.
Because brick and mortar stores still play an important part in the shopping journey, we are going to explore ways to bridge the gap between the online world and IRL (in real life); capitalizing on the online traffic your consumers are already giving your brand. Hashtags on social are the easiest way to curate the images and messages your audience shares related to you. It’s easy to pull those into a display and showcase those posts in a social wall, but how can you go beyond a simple wall of images and actually engage your audience?
Everyone loves free stuff. Perhaps one of the easiest ways to engage your audience in the real world with their online activity is with a contest. TJ Maxx did this perfectly with their “Maxximizing” campaign. Each day a TJ Maxx influencer curated items from their store and displayed the items in a huge glass box in the middle of popular outdoor spaces in Los Angeles and New York, creating an interactive game called “The Game of Maxximizing.” People walking by were invited to play and guess how much all the items in the box cost for a chance to win the displayed items or a gift certificate of equal value.
Users posted their guesses on Instagram using #maxximizing #contest to enter. TJ Maxx then displayed those posts on a screen showing in real time what other consumers were doing and guessing. This also provided a chance to highlight customers who won, which encouraged even more participation and positive conversation around the event.
2. Announce Partnerships
If you have a high profile collaboration happening, there’s a good chance you’re doing a lot of press around it. Your audience is probably highly anticipating it. So why not get them even more hyped by showing them behind the scenes with action from launch events, how the collab came together and a peek inside the VIP parties. When Kenzo + H&M launched their long awaited collection with a star-studded party, fans couldn’t get enough.
The event featured a display behind the DJ on the main stage showcasing photos from the red carpet, so everyone in the party didn’t miss a look. It made a dramatic, live backdrop and a chance for those in attendance to see the whole collection in a real world setting; not just a runway.
It doesn’t have to be the next hot collection coming to a store. You could announce any partnership your brand would be interested in. Think about REI’s #OptOutside campaign. While it helped to push their outdoor essentials, it also highlighted the beautiful scenery their audience was out admiring. Imagine if they had partnered with the National Park Service. The reach would have been even larger.
3. Feature Real People Using Your Product
The easiest way to connect with your audience is to feature them using your products and interact with them directly. Sephora Greece has a living embed on their website constantly updated with real shoppers showing their favorite eco-beauty brands. It highlights loyal shoppers, appeals to a sense of wanting to do good, and encourages shoppers to engage in hopes of being featured in such a large, public forum. It also helps to foster a sense of inclusion rather than seeing airbrushed photos again and allows Sephora to like/comment on the posts.
This concept also works for product launches or other types of events. Rather than featuring more models in flawless makeup, Yves Saint Laurent asked their fans to share photos of themselves in their favorite shades. The brand then displayed them at the launch event, much like the H&M event, highlighting how to wear in a real world situation and not a runway. This gives that same sense of inclusion to those in attendance by making them actively a part of the release.
4. Real-Time Displays
Encourage content creation within your store or event space by providing photo opportunities and showcasing posts from within the space. At an All Saints store opening, a large screen displaying pictures from the campaign as well as influencers, brings together the consumer conversation as they shopped the new collection. These screens not only rotate through content, but they promote a central hashtag call to action to connect consumers directly, bolstering the level of conversation.
This type of display can also be used at festivals, concerts or any other type of event. By highlighting real people, in real time, at the same event it brings a greater sense of inclusion and social awareness. Imagine watching your favorite band and seeing your Instagram post pop up on the screen behind them? It then becomes a shared moment.
Taking this to the next level, you could not only highlight your actual customers, but you could drive new revenue by featuring posts from sponsors who have partnered with your business; offer exclusive deals to attendees or announce upcoming events. It’s not just a social wall; it’s an advertisement and announcement space that can return revenue in a big way.
5. Highlight Reviews
If you aren’t already leveraging your online audience to leave reviews of your product you are missing out on huge potential. “Word of mouth is directly responsible for 19% of all purchases and influences as much as 90%.”(₂) Those are massive numbers. Consumers are more likely to buy a product recommended by a peer than they are due to marketing. If they are saying good things about you online, you should be showcasing that to other consumers who haven’t made a decision yet.
Within Tagboard, executing this is as simple as dedicating one of your dashboards to review posts and dropping that into your display timeline. The display itself can even be customized to specifically highlight these reviews outside of other content shown on screen and influencing new purchases.
6. Easily Pull Together Promo Videos
Once you have gathered all this social content, one of the best ways to get it out if you are not having an event, a store opening or something else going on is to make a promotional video. This can be emailed, embedded on a website, or shared on social networks.
An easy way to capture this video without having to build out an entire production team is with Tagboard Composer. Composer allows for curation of social posts into a moving display with a library of styles that are sure to match your brand voice. Once you’ve gathered all the content you wish to display simply do a screen recording of your tagboard showing what your audience is sharing about you and you’re done. You have a high quality video ready for sharing anywhere your consumers are.
7. Blend Social Posts with Static Images or Sponsorship Promos
Don’t limit your display to just social posts. Composer also allows you to add Smart Panels that let you display static images, gifs, videos and more. This is an opportunity to tell a story about your brand and drive engagement in new, deliberate ways.
Rotate between different buckets of content, promo graphics for new products, countdown timers to your next event, hashtag battle voting, influencer videos, and much more. The possibilities are endless and easily customized on the fly.
Tagboard has express permission from the social networks to republish public content their users post there. We follow all terms and conditions with regard to privacy and only allow our clients to feature public posts. This is for display purposes only. If you intend to make a live feed, video or other type of content that will be used for marketing efforts on behalf of yourself it is important to check with your legal department that you will not need further approval from the original content creators.
Don’t get stuck in the rut of simply running through hashtag content your display screen again. Discover the most impactful and relevant content to your brand, and use that content to tell your story. Use it to engage a wider audience. Use it to drive new revenue. Your audience is already online and it’s not hard to find the bridge to bring that online experience into the real world. If you’re interested in learning more about Tagboard Composer, you can sign up for a demo here.
₁. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/04/02/online-shopping-officially-overtakes-brick-and-mortar-retail-for-the-first-time-ever.html. This number also does not include restaurant or automobile purchases.