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November 1, 2014

What would you pay for an advertising resource that reaches over a trillion users each month, who will view your ads multiple times every day?
Facebook may be a trend that will weaken over time, but from 2012 to 2013 it grew by 22 percent1 and looks to be increasing by double digits again in 2014. So why aren’t more pet stores taking full advantage of this inexpensive advertising asset?

The vast majority of pet store Facebook pages have no focused content. Their business page is being treated like a personal page, with pictures of pets and likes from other sites and funny pictures, with maybe a few posts that pertain to their business mixed in. We’ve found very little page promotion or event implementation being included.

The strength of a business Facebook page is simple: It gives access to customers at virtually no cost other than your time. Yes, there are apps that are very reasonably priced that will enhance your reach and add followers to your page, but even if you never do anything more than just maintain your business Facebook page with useful information; you will have done something that will inform consumers about your store.

A website is great, but it won’t be seen by as many people as a Facebook page and it certainly will not show up on customer’s mobile devices or desktop computers every time you post to your established followers. Try these three  simple ideas with your Facebook page to see if you bring in more repeat shoppers and build consumer loyalty.

First, get someone to shoot an exterior and interior video of your store, showing your products, aquariums, pets and staff. Let the consumer who runs across your Facebook page see what you have and who you are. The video can be shot from your smart phone; it doesn’t have to be professionally done, just in focus and showing a slow circuit of the store or broken up by department.

Pictures are also good, but unless you pin an album to the top of the page, it will move down the page as you post newer information, whereas if you shoot 1 to 3 videos, they will always show in the upper left hand area of the page so customers will notice them.

Second, set up a system to get likes for your page. Every follower you get is a potential customer you can reach with your message. One way to increase your followers is to offer in-store promotions. Always let your customers know that you run exclusive Facebook promotions and take a moment to encourage them to like your page. A handy trick is to add your Facebook Title to your business cards or as bag stuffers that will let the customer easily find your page and click on your like button.

Third, take the time to post promotions and information on your Facebook page daily. You should already know what your customers like about your store, so key into those strengths. Feature a popular fish or dog food on sale every few days for a 24-hour period. You can also add apps such as Offerpop2 that will let you run a pet photo contest with a grand prize for the best picture. You can probably get a manufacturer to participate with free goods to cover the cost and at the same time build interest in your Facebook page and your store.

You might consider adding other apps to your page. There is generally a small usage charge for these, but they will allow you to run interactive photo contests—as mentioned above—and other useful apps such as email subscribers3, customer feedback ratings4 and even merge an online shopping cart5 to name just a few.

If you ignore social media, you do so at the risk of sending customers to your competitor. Whether or not you maintain a Facebook page regularly, it is at the very least worth your time and effort to create one and to add the basic information about your store and services along with some pictures of your store and an invitation to stop in for a visit.

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