Conor Lynch outlines three ways the hardware sector can use digital and social media to grow its business.
Nowadays, consumers are constantly communicating online with each other and researching products and services on their computers or smartphones. Having an active presence on digital and social media means showing people you’re open for business 24/7/365. With so many buzzwords and new applications floating around in the world of digital and social media, it can seem quite daunting to the uninitiated; however, success is possible if you take small steps.
Three ways to increase your online presence and develop an alternative sales channel are as follows:
Social networks have surpassed local media as the most efficient and cost-effective way for businesses to target consumers by demographics, geography and interests. Popular social networks include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.
Your digital marketing should include attractive digital content which will be informative, educational and engaging while helping convince consumers to buy from you.
Having an online store works for many retailers as more people can access your store from more locations at any time of the day or night.
The experiences of HAI member Joe Connolly from Stakelums Home & Hardware, Thurles, Co Tipperary, show that digital marketing can be effective for hardware retailers: “We are on Facebook with 5,700 fans and we are also on Twitter and on YouTube. We are considering Instagram and Pinterest too. We have started to promote some of our posts and also the page itself through Facebook Ads. We find that we can engage with our customers easily through Facebook and also that the content we use has a bearing on the effectiveness of the post.”
Joe added: “Social networks can be vital in helping you capture potential customers’ email addresses, which then can be added to your database so that you can regularly email newsletters to them. It can also be used to help drive traffic to your website, which is your online shopfront. It’s all about top of mind awareness.” Websites and social media are crucial for hardware businesses to keep and find new customers. It’s all about bricks and clicks as they say!
Conor Lynch is CEO of SocialMedia.ie and won the Irish Internet Association Netvisionary award for the ‘Best Use of Social Media’ in 2011.
This Business Support article featured in the March/April 2015 edition of The Hardware Journal.