Social media is a low-cost, highly scalable way to promote your independant bookstore to both current and potential customers. While a full social strategy & campaign can involve a lot of time and investment, you can get started on your own with just a few posts a week.
One of the biggest questions we hear is “what should I be posting on social media?" We do a social brand deep dive for our clients to identify the most effective social messaging they should be using. But the most essential, ‘evergreen’ (e.g., always relevant) campaigns boil down to content based on these 3 categories:
1. Highlight your physical space
The atmosphere of a bookstore is a special one among brick-and-mortar retail. Social media is an effective way to introduce your store to new customers, and offer subtle (or overt!) reminders to your existing customers. If you depend significantly on seasonal or tourist traffic, then high-quality images that highlight the appeal of your store can encourage new visitors. And for your existing fans— a beautiful image of your shelves can remind them that they’d like to stop in this weekend.
2. Talk about your staff as a resource for your customers
In the age of Amaz*n, your booksellers are one of the key elements that set you apart. They have deep knowledge of frontlist and backlist; they have specialized expertise in their favorite genres; and they’re in tune with debut and underappreciated authors. The experience of being personally assisted by someone with this kind of knowledge is something an algorithm can’t compete with; and this expereince is worth promoting.
3. Promote your unique offerings
Every bookstore is highly unique. Even in our home city of Seattle, which has a healthy slew of indie bookstores, each one has a distinct energy, focus, and set of offerings both in terms of inventory and programming. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Are you sharing your store’s unique qualities with your followers?
What sections or genre specialties are unique to your store or region?
What do your author readings, book clubs, or community event programs look like?
Do you partner with another local business or organization for a specialized offering?
Are you carrying unique small press titles, self-published books, or artisan sidelines?
Does your staff make recommendations?
Do you have seasonal offerings?
It all boils down to this— your store has many unique aspects that customers are excited to hear about, and social media is a quick, effective, and low-cost way to get your store’s content in front of your audience.