Social media has come to be one of the most essential marketing techniques for all types of businesses, including retail. Although it may be difficult to establish a direct relationship between social media and in-store sales, few would deny the influence that it bears on consumers’ purchase decisions.

Nearly 70 percent of the active Facebook users in the US and Canada follow local businesses. A survey of 5900 consumers by Vision Critical found that 40 percent of them have made a purchase (either online or in-store) after having favorited a product on social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. Those are big numbers, both in terms of reach and conversion.

If you already knew how critical social media can prove to be in growing your retail business, you’ve perhaps also realized that leveraging your social channels for conversions is less than a breeze. Apart from maintaining an active presence, and tracking your page’s performance, here are a few social media marketing tips to send your sales figures soaring.

Share your top-picks

Of all the items you have in store, tell your followers which ones you love most and why. You could also share employee-favorites – feature a favorite pick of one of your employees each week. To build traction, you could also request your employees to share the posts through their personal accounts, apart from publishing it on your business’ page. If your store is frequented by more popular, local celebrities, you could feature their favorite products as well. Recommendations make it easier for your customers to make their purchase decision.

Tell your fans and followers what’s new in your store

Use your social accounts to offer your followers a peek into your store. This could include any new stock that’s arrived, or even changes you’ve made to your store. What may be perceived as ‘new’ to your business really depends on the nature of your business itself. Say you run a boutique salon, and just added a new hair stylist to your team, introduce him/her to your followers through social media.

Send special event invitations

If you’re organizing events at your store, promote them on social media. Share details of the event, the activities involved and even the prizes/rewards, if any. You could run a contest ahead of the event and offer winners special invites to the event. This will also help increase the footfall in your store. Events are also a good way of integrating your online and offline marketing efforts.

Offer exclusive deals

To keep your followers hooked to your social pages, you have to offer them some incentive. What better way to do this than offer them exclusive deals? The frequency of these deals and offers will of course depend on other factors that effect your bottmline. Alternatively you could also consider devising loyalty programs that offer rewards to customers based on the quantity of frequency of purchase.