If a customer looks up your store on the internet, what comes up?

A Google map of your location?

A 2018 Yelp review from an angry customer?

Or the 7-year-old Twitter account that you’ve never used?

Social media today is too important to ignore. More than 70% of the U.S. population has at least one social media account, which means that lots of your customers are active on platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and TikTok. The most engaged consumers are constantly online, reading reviews and conducting research. They’re looking for a deeper connection with the places they shop and the brands they buy.

That includes your customers. If you’re not engaging with them on Facebook or Instagram, your competitors probably are. It’s not enough for a business to just offer a wide selection or competitive prices anymore. C-stores need to be reachable and relatable. For many shoppers, especially millennials, a business that isn’t responsive on social media almost doesn’t exist.

Don’t let your store be invisible. Here are three more reasons to make your store social media savvy.

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Engaged shoppers spend more.

Engaged shoppers spend more.

Several studies have shown that customers who regularly interact with a store’s social channels are more profitable than customers who don’t. How much more profitable? Those who regularly engage with a retailer spend 19% more than the typical customer. Lifetime overall spending among engaged shoppers is even higher: These consumers spend 51% than unengaged shoppers.

Considering that staying in touch with your customers doesn’t cost a lot of money, it represents the payback is substantial.

Social media lets you tell your unique story.

Whether your store has been in the family for generations or it’s your first attempt at being an entrepreneur, there’s probably a great story behind it: What made you decide to start your own business? Why did you pick your location? Social media is a great place to tell those stories. Sites like Instagram and Facebook are especially ideal for sharing how your family first came to America or how you saved to open your first location.

Post old photos to show how your business has changed over the years. Upload a short video of your recent expansion project. People love to look at pictures and videos and reminisce about the neighborhood in the “good old days.” Make your store part of the conversation.

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Social media lets you tell your unique story.
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An active social media presence sets you apart.

An active social media presence sets you apart.

Numerous studies have pointed out that up to 90% of social messages to businesses are ignored. For many people, that’s as bad as helping other customers while they stand at your counter. Don’t make that mistake. Ignoring online comments, good or bad, sends the message that you don’t care.

Ignore them long enough and you can be sure many customers will turn their complaint on your store’s Facebook or Twitter page into an angry letter on one of the many online review sites. And once posted, they can be very difficult to get removed.

So address online customer concerns. Promptly responding to social posts (within a few hours) demonstrates that you value your customers no matter where they’re at.

It only takes a few hours a week to create a social media presence that increases business and customer loyalty. Don’t waste the opportunity.

And remember that as a 5-hour ENERGY Retailer Rewards member, you have unlimited access to a free image portal of high-resolution product photos you can use on your store’s social media platforms. They’re a great way to encourage comments and drive customer engagement.