Our friends at ‘Take it Away’, the scheme that provides interest free loans for the purchase of musical instruments and equipment, has written this useful and interesting article about how Twitter can help attract new customers and sales. MIA Members Just Flutes and Howarth of London are also interviewed… 

No matter the size of your business, Twitter can help attract new customers and sales, but it depends on a consistency of use and knowing your audience.

We spoke to two of our Take it away music retailers who are successfully using Twitter to broaden their audiences and drive sales.

Free guide for Twitter for music retailers
Using any social media tool when you’re a busy retailer can be a challenge. As well as the tips and information from our retailers here, we have put together a basic guide to using Twitter to boost your business. Please email us to receive a free copy of this guide.

Our retailer’s use of Twitter

“We definitely get sales directly through social media and we’ve broadened our audience. You affect so many people more with what you post and are able to speak more directly to potential customers.” Just Flutes

We spoke to Tim Bingham, Flute Consultant, at Just Flutes and Olivia Wild, Deputy General Manager, at Howarth of London about their use of Twitter.

How do they manage the account?

Howarth of London has two people managing social media. Between them, they devise content and maintain a consistent tone of voice. The amount of time they spend on Twitter per week depends on what events or activities they have going on. To help manage posts, they use a free version of Hootsuite. This allows them to line up several posts and schedule them to post automatically in advance.

At Just Flutes, it’s currently only Tim who manages Twitter, he does so from his phone, spending about an hour per week. In this time, he is able to create a couple of original posts, plus share content from their network.

What to tweet about

Just Flutes tweet about activities and events going on in the shop; interesting existing or new stock, events coming up or special deals. “There’s always a lot going on in the shop and we find that our customers are interested in seeing that.”

The most popular content they post is the photos of the professional musicians that come in. These always attract new followers. Tim says “potential customers like to see that the top end professionals are using your services, it builds trust”. Plus, if you mention these musicians in Tweets, they are likely to share posts with their followers.

They are always careful to check that the musicians, customers or staff are happy to have their images or information shared.

Howarth of London also post a wide variety of content. From something fun that’s happened in the shop to new products, offers, general news, articles of interest from the music industry and chatting directly to people they follow.

Twitter allows Howarth of London to extend their personable reputation and customers care.  Olivia finds that the most successful and engaging tweets are those that are more conversational rather than salesy. They do get sales via Twitter but Olivia stresses that they don’t put pressure on their team to acquire sales via social media. She says “Twitter is more about maintaining a relationship with your customers rather pushing adverts in peoples faces. Users switch off to that sort of tweeting”.

Knowing your audience

You need to know what your audience is interested in and it’s useful to note when they’re most active. There’s no harm in sharing the same content a number of times on different days or times of the day. It will help reach a wider audience. Both Just Flutes and Howarth’s are a really good example of clearly knowing their audience and posting relevant content, they are also tapped into relevant networks.

Part of a community

Being on Twitter enables you to engage with a wider community, be that your local environment or broader music provisions. We know that there are challenges of being an independent retailer and to music education at the moment, being part of a network, supporting colleagues, local provisions, fellow musicians, can reap rewards and help you feel more connected. You can do this by following and re-tweeting others in your community, and engaging directly with like-minded organisations or people.

Just Flutes follow a lot of music teachers and music centres in the area, they, in turn, have a huge client base. These are the type of people who will share your news with their followers. Howarth’s are active in searching for content or people that are relevant to their business and engage with them. Music hubs, musicians and music teachers are all important to them. They find it’s vital that they’re in touch with them in a social and approachable capacity. They also do their best to show support to causes where they can.

Negative comments

Many retailers are concerned about receiving public negative comments and what to do if this happens. Both retailers stress that this is extremely rare, but that if it does happen, they would approach this in the same way they would any other type of comment, by responding in a reasonable and appropriate manner whilst maintaining the personal element.

Retailer tips

Tim would advise other retailers, who don’t yet use Twitter to “post little and often, don’t post too much text because people won’t read it. Post photos and links, photos are particularly key. Consistency is important. Support others by retweeting their news and thank people for sharing your news.”.

Olivia suggests that you keep content organic “I find that social media strategies succeed when they are treated as a personal and engaging way of interacting with potential clients, whilst appealing to your current customer base in a genuinely interesting way”.

You can find these retailers at: @justflutes and @howarthoflondon.

www.takeitaway.org.uk