Page 48

R E TA ILER R E B E L

Everyday Extraordinary By Gabriel O’Brien

I’ve written about topics like customer service, store design, content marketing and social media over the years. One of the things I think independent music stores struggle with most is telling their story, having a sure sense of their unique brand message and making sure they present it to customers. Recently, I experienced a very clear example of the sort of defining characteristics many great independent stores possess but fail to talk about in a public-facing manner. This all began with a problem and finding the solution. One thing was clear: I definitely needed a chainsaw. That was the defining solution to a whole lot of overgrown shrubs and small trees in my yard that needed to go away before winter. There are two problems with this scenario: I know nothing about chainsaws, and I haven’t used one in my adult life. I had to run and buy some lumber and other larger supplies. En route to buy lumber, I noticed a small engine- and gas-powered tool shop that advertised Stihl products. I walked into the modest shop and immediately noticed a few things. It was incredibly clean, especially for a place in the middle of Amish country where I knew all the local workmen shopped and got things serviced. Nice wood flooring, tidy well-lit displays, great signage and clear sight lines allowed me to find the chainsaws immediately. After letting me peruse a few minutes, the friendly clerk came over and walked me through all the options, giving me his thoughts and experiences on which things would work best for a first-timer and which were easiest to maintain. I was not buying an expensive item, but he treated me like I was. Instead of just taking me to a register, handing me my purchase and leaving me to my devices, the clerk ushered me into the repair area, which was incredible. It was the cleanest, most organized repair shop I’ve ever seen. The clerk took me to his bench and taught me how to replace the chain, adjust the tension, add oil and gas, and everything else I needed to know about operating a chainsaw. 48

“All right, let’s go outside and fire it up.” On a cold, rainy November day, we stepped out onto a covered patio where a large log waited. The clerk taught me how to fire up the chainsaw, then how to make proper cuts. It was so helpful. My stepdad, who was with me, commented on how, if he had a shop like this near him, it would be the only place he’d shop. I spend a large part of my time helping companies and brands tell their stories through video content, and this is exactly the kind of thing a business should be highlighting that sets themselves apart from everyone else. It’s also the kind of thing that seems commonplace if it’s what you do every day. Social media is more about you than it is about products — it’s about telling your story. Sharing your aspirations and the things that you care about will only bring your customers closer into your store family. Any one of the experiences I had in this store would have been great topics for social media posts. A video post explaining how to properly use a chainsaw, followed by one showing what can happen if you use it improperly, followed by a “chainsaw nightmares” tongue-in-cheek post, followed by an invitation to come learn how to cut properly at the store would be a great sequence interspersed with posts about their new displays and other in-store improvements. They could create behind-the-scenes posts showing the making of these videos, posts detailing why they teach people how to use chainsaws, how they set up the log out back, basic safety tips and more. The opportunities are endless, and all those things are sharable. Sharable posts increase reach and build your audience. Then, if you create a post highlighting the specific products you’ve been using in all these videos, you’ll likely begin to see those products that you’re targeting move in greater numbers. This allows you to track return on investment and allows you to determine what people want to see so you can continue to build your online presence. If all you’re sharing on social media are product and event posts, you’re missing a huge opportunity to build a relationship with your audience. This is a great opportunity to exercise the 80/20 rule of social media marketing: 80 percent of your content should inform, educate and entertain your audience, and 20 percent should be about promoting events and sales. This ratio will vary some for everyone, but the point remains. If you’re spending all your time feeding your audience the same thing, you will see engagement drop. If you start breaking up your posts by sharing more personal, educational and entertaining posts, you will see engagement rise. Look at your business’s social accounts. Now look at your personal social accounts, and the things you’ve engaged with. Compare these with the type of posts your customers are most often engaging with, and I believe you’ll find you get far more engagement out of things that seem less promotional and more personal. Want advice on engaging your customers with content? Write to me at gabriel@upperhandstudios.com. DECEMBER 2019

Profile for Music & Sound Retailer

Music & Sound Retailer December 2019, Vol 36 No 12  

In the December issue of the Music & Sound Retailer, we provide a preview of next month’s The NAMM Show, highlight all Music & Sound Award N...

Music & Sound Retailer December 2019, Vol 36 No 12  

In the December issue of the Music & Sound Retailer, we provide a preview of next month’s The NAMM Show, highlight all Music & Sound Award N...