A trade magazine for the mindful retailer
 

Social Media Strategy: A Case of Success

Photo Courtesy Sassy Primitives

 

For many independent retailers and wholesalers, it took a pandemic to force us to experiment with new ways of doing business. In some cases, those experiments made the difference in terms of opening new opportunities instead of closing doors.

Wendy Patchett, owner of Sassy Primitives in McHenry, Illinois, has been in business for 19 years and focused on selling her handcrafted candles and home décor items through craft shows and open houses — until March 2020, when the pandemic and lockdown orders effectively hobbled those outlets.

Patchett had been slowly growing her social media presence on Facebook but when she saw an online boutique host a Facebook Live, a feature on Facebook that uses a computer or mobile device to broadcast real-time video to Facebook, she knew that she had to give it a try, no matter how challenging it would be.

“That next week, I assembled a small team to create what was going to be our new way of doing business,” Patchett explains. Since March 2020, she and her team have hosted more than three dozen Facebook Live shows. Many of her videos get more than 28,000 views, something, she says, she never dreamed possible.

While she loves attending craft shows because she enjoys interacting face to face, she admits she really enjoys being connected 24/7 to her customers rather than waiting for the next craft show to come around.

 

SEO & Social Media

Patchett feels social media has provided brands and companies like hers an opportunity to connect to a larger audience. “I believe that the success behind a company’s social media presence is engaging with customers regularly, maintaining interest by providing excellent customer service, and having a WOW factor within your content,” she says.

Although Sassy Primitives updated its website to be more user-friendly this past year, Patchett says that’s not where she gets most of her business. She’s continuing to improve it for SEO purposes, but she prefers to focus on making connections with customers through Facebook. If one would do a Google search for Sassy Primitives, her website is the first to show, followed by Facebook.

“Our SEO tricks for Facebook include having the description of our business as ‘home décor’ that will match us to other pages similar to ours,” Patchett shares. “Possibly the largest way we get online traffic to our Facebook page is by giving our customers an incentive to share and tag their friends on our posts and live videos to create a larger network of people on Facebook coming across our Sassy Primitives page.”

 

Consistency & Community

 One of the reasons Patchett believes their Facebooks Live videos are so successful comes down to how her and her team engage with customers daily on their Facebook page. They don’t wait until show time on Tuesday at 7 p.m. — they’re working every single day of the week, building up the excitement.

“We post sneak peeks of upcoming products for our live shows, share the recipe of our drink of the night so customers can make it with us, and posts that ask them to ‘drop’ their favorite emoji if they can’t wait for our Tuesday live show,” Patchett explains.

“We always include that incentive to have them mark ‘going’ on our live event, share the event with their Facebook friends and even tag them in our posts to be entered into win our end of the night big giveaway! This really makes the Sassy Primitives Facebook page feel like a community and connects us to our customers during these odd times.”

These live events aren’t short. They’re almost two hours — and many customers stay the whole time.

“Creating a drink of the night, designing a fun backdrop that goes with the theme, and doing multiple fun giveaways during the live show keeps people interested the whole way through,” she shares. “Customer service for us always comes first at Sassyland and although our customers cannot touch and physically see these items in person, we try and give the best description and up-close look at each item. We try to answer any questions that come up on the live feed from ‘how tall?’ to ‘can this item go outside?’ and really make them feel like they are having an in-person shopping experience.”

That level of consistency and one-on-one attention helps people come together every week and feel like they’re part of a larger community, which is one of the hallmarks of a great social media strategy.

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Megy Karydes is a Chicago-based writer and communications consultant. She's writing a book about women in the alcohol spirits industry. Sign up for her monthly emails at www.megykarydes.com/newsletter.