After opening last year in Fenton, MI, Feast Gourmet Kitchen & Cooking School has seen quite a bit of success. However, said owner Sean Gartland, that doesn’t mean one can rest on their laurels. Besides the innovative cooking classes he has put on the agenda and the array of housewares that just keeps growing, Gartland has employed social media promotional and marketing tactics to bring his customers back into his store.
Case in point: Gartland recently offered a promotion which allowed customers 20% off for interacting with the store on social media, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. According to Gartland, the idea was sparked when deciding what to put on sale and ended up being inspired by all of the effort the team had been doing to grow the store’s social media presence.
“Every month, we try to run a 20% sale on a specific category to bring customers into the shop. We have been working really hard on our social media presence lately, and I thought this would be a great way to get our customers to engage with our store’s Facebook and Instagram pages,” he said.
To get the promotion, Gartland said that a customer just needs to come into their phone and check-in at the shop, or post a picture or comment during a class.
“These are customers that are right here in my shop. It’s like getting an instant positive endorsement before they even leave. The customers have been really appreciative of the discount too. Most of our customers are in Feast because they want to support a local business, so this gives them an opportunity to be part of our marketing efforts while saving some money on a sale at the same time,” he said.
And, he said, the increase in followers was immediately visible, increasing engagement on his social media outlets.
“Our Facebook page has seen modest increases in page views and page likes, but since starting this promotion our post engagements are up 170%. Instagram has had similar results, we are up 32% in post engagements compared to last month,” he said.
While Gartland isn’t sure that this translates into sales, he said that it has definitely translated in exposure, as the store still gets new people stopping in that didn’t even know the retail outlet was there.
“We want to try and increase exposure on social media through people sharing experiences, pictures and comments to extend our reach. If someone has been driving by for the last six months and not stopping in, perhaps a preview of our shop popping up on one of their friend’s Facebook feed will entice them to stop next time they drive by,” he said.
Gartland said that he would recommend a promotion like this for other independent gourmet housewares stores because it expands reach and lets your best customers advocate for you. However, he said, while it may be enticing to run a promotion like this all the time, it will take away the element of exclusivity, which is important to customers.
“I think it’s something you need to be judicious with and not over play your cards. If once a year seems like a right fit then go for it, but overall it should be just like any other sale or promotion, it needs to feel exclusive and not just an everyday thing,” he said.