Sept. 21, 2023

Seaside retailers can navigate the uncertain waters of social media with these strategies.

In the balmy air of the coast, amid the rhythmic ebb and flow of the waves, coastal retailers craft unique experiences for their customers. However, with the vastness of the digital ocean, many of these retailers find themselves adrift. The culprit? The underestimated potential of social media.

Too often, retailers put social media on the back burner, or have no plan outside of posting when they think of it. This isn’t solely a coastal dilemma. Independent retailers worldwide agree, confessing their sporadic posts about new items, events or sales, executed in an almost haphazard manner. The reality is that while the store might be an organized haven, their social media is the back room where everything is just thrown in.

Resistance and fear: the digital storms

“Isn’t TikTok for kids?” or “I’m not tech-savvy, I'll mess it up.” These are refrains echoing through retailer discussions. There’s an underlying fear on social media — of appearance, of technology, of making mistakes.
But here’s the crux: To ride the digital waves, one needs to do it afraid. The vast reaches of Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and more aren’t mere platforms; they’re thriving marketplaces and communities waiting to be tapped into.

Independent retailers must set sail on the social seas!

Consumers today stand at crossroads flooded with choices. From global e-commerce giants like Amazon to the big box stores offering everything under the sun, competition is fierce. However, this is where the strength of independent retailers shines through. Unlike the giants, indie retailers don’t merely sell; they connect.
Being local and rooted in communities, they have trust in spades. Every customer isn’t just a transaction but a neighbor, a friend, a story.

And this narrative deserves the spotlight, especially on social media. When a customer sees a familiar face presenting a new product on Instagram reels or shares a laugh over a quirky TikTok, they don’t just see a store and its products. They see people. They see the community. They see stories.

Embracing short-form video content: the new wave

Scroll through any social media platform today, and it’s evident: Videos dominate. Especially short, engaging clips. Tools like reels and TikTok aren’t just trends; they are powerful communication channels. They capture attention, tell a story in seconds and most importantly, build relationships.

The reality is that while the store might be an organized haven, their social media is the back room where everything is just thrown in. — Crystal Vilkaitis

It’s one thing to post a beautiful photo of a product. It’s another to show its creation, the hands that crafted it, the laughter that went into its making and the proud store owner presenting his or her hard work. That’s the power of short-form video content.

Charting the Course

So, how should seaside and coastal retailers navigate these waters?

  1. Embrace the power of people: Put faces to the store. Share stories, behind-the-scenes moments and build a narrative that focuses more on the people side of your business than your products.
  2. Plan and be consistent: Social media isn’t a one-time affair; be consistent with posting. Create a calendar. Plan content. Stick to a schedule.
  3. Do it afraid: Mistakes will happen. But the beauty of social media lies in its forgiveness and the ability to pivot and learn. Plus, when we mess up, it’s relatable and creates even more trust and connection.
  4. Engage and build: Respond to comments, share customer testimonials, and cultivate an online community that mirrors the in-store experience.

In the vastness of the digital realm, the uniqueness and authenticity of independent seaside and coastal retailers can be their compass. In the world of algorithms and data, human connection is the true north, and that’s what indie retailers have in abundance.

It’s time to harness the tides of social media. Don’t merely try to stay afloat; aim to soar. The digital horizon awaits, and it promises vistas of connections, communities and uncharted success. So, anchors away, dear retailers. The social seas beckon!