In the past several years, vaping has become a sort of cultural phenomenon. People all over the world have caused the new-age pastime to grow massively in popularity — so much so that Oxford Dictionaries named “vape” its Word of the Year back in 2014.
What’s more? The vape wave shows no sign of ebbing: MoreNiche reports that “the e-cig and vaporizer market is predicted to grow year on year at an average rate of 21.8%, reaching $53.8 billion by 2025.”
But even so, vaping and vape stores are still relatively new, which means they often fall prey to some classic pitfalls in the field of social media marketing. And as we all know, a robust social media strategy is key to success in our digital world (in fact, “69% of customers are more likely to visit a local business if it has a social media presence”).
Here, we outline four steps vape stores can take to enhance their social media presences and send sales through the roof. Keep reading for the intel.
1. Create a content calendar.
If possible, you’ll want to build a social media presence on the big four: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. This’ll help you cast a wider net and therefore reach more potential customers. But keeping track of what you post on these channels is no mean feat — so to make your life easier, use a content calendar.
We recommend keeping it simple. Create an Excel spreadsheet with tabs for each of your social media channels, and format your information in columns: date, title or type of post, SEO keywords, etc. Here’s a screenshot of the spreadsheet we use to organize the Vend blog:
Too easy, right? A content calendar is the simplest way to stay on top of the myriad digital platforms at play today, so use it as your social media Bible. Start a company Snapchat account? Just create a new tab on your spreadsheet.
Update it regularly, and consider adding a column to track the results of your posts (clicks, conversions, etc.).
2. Post content relevant to your community.
Two of the biggest mistakes vape shops can make in the field of social media? Failing to post engaging content or posting content that’s irrelevant to their target markets and ideal audiences.
It’s important to fully understand the power of content marketing. Providing your existing and potential customers with a steady stream of intriguing, educational content is a proven tactic in retaining interest, generating repeat visits to your online and physical stores, and upping your sales numbers.
When it comes to content, you have two options. If you or someone on your team has some writing chops, you can (and should) create your own. If original content isn’t feasible for your vape store (or if you don’t have the capacity to come up with pieces on a regular basis), repost killer content from reputable sources.
Or, like Vend customer Palm Beach Vapors, you can do both. The Oklahoma-based retailer regularly posts news articles (many of them local) on vaping, and it recently took the original content idea in a different direction with this compelling customer testimonial.
In the piece, titled “Vaping Saved My Life, and Then Saved My Entire Family,” Palm Beach tells the story of one its customers, weaving in quotes about how vaping helped her quit smoking, lose weight, feel healthier, and get active. For an interested person perusing Palm Beach’s Facebook page, it’s particularly captivating content that could well help push that person to make his or her first purchase.
Use this example as a jumping-off point, and come up with similar ideas for your own social media profiles.
3. Use curated, eye-catching imagery.
Nothing puts people off faster than scrolling through a social media feed and seeing bland, boring stock imagery. So to truly hook interest — and to take your social media presence to the next level — go for curated, arresting images of your own.
This doesn’t have to be difficult, and the pictures don’t necessarily have to look ultra-professional. Just snap pictures on your phone or with your own camera, and upload them to your various social channels. Saturating your feeds with original imagery lets potential customers know that you actually care about your business and your products and gives you a personality people can relate to.
Check out Vend customer Nuage Vapor Lounge’s Instagram. Instead of relying on mundane stock images, Nuage takes its own pictures of in-stock items in order to feature and promote them. To add some culturally relevant spice and humor, the retailer also posts funny, vape-centric memes and videos.
Doing these two things gives Nuage a contemporary, approachable presence on Instagram, drastically increasing the odds that interested parties who stumble across its profile will purchase something — proof that a thoughtful social media strategy can be a boon to sales and overall business.
4. Encourage reviews.
You only have to think about your own shopping habits to realize how important this particular point really is. When was the last time you ordered takeout without first reading the restaurant’s reviews? Or ordered a new product on Amazon without taking into account its star rating?
Online reviews have become inextricably linked to brand reputation; Forbes even notes that “88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation — which is astounding, considering most online reviews are posted by total strangers.”
With that said, one surefire way to enhance your social media presence and boost sales is to make sure your reviews on Facebook and your comments on Instagram accurately (and hopefully positively) reflect your business. But how do you get people to write these reviews?
With incentives! Incentives are by far the easiest way to entice customers to give you reviews on your social media profiles. If you have an online store, use follow-up emails to ask your customers to leave reviews of products they’ve purchased. If you have a loyalty program (which you should), consider offering extra points or exclusive discounts for every review a customer leaves on social media.
However you can, incentivize your customers to leave reviews. The more positive reviews you have on social media, the more likely potential customers are to purchase from you.
The bottom line
These four simple, actionable tips can take your vape shop’s social media presence from nonexistent to vibrant, contribute to brand development and recognition, and increase your sales numbers by retaining existing customers and bringing in new ones. Will you take advantage of them? Let us know in the comments — and include any of your own social media tips, too!
About Nikki Michaels
Nikki is Vend's content and copy wizard. American-born and Auckland-based, she's into reading (a lot), writing (obviously), and travelling (always).