Focus 2019: What Makes Kearney Unique?

www. LIPSPRINTZONE .com 824 W. 24th St. 234-2319 800-498-9580 When it comes toprintingmaterial for your business, we’ve got it covered. We can provide virtually any product or service imaginable to communicate with your clients, employees, stockholders, or vendors made right here in Kearney, NE. WE’RE YOUR PROFESSIONAL PRINTER w i t h l o c a l r o o t s . Kearney Hub • Saturday, February 9, 2019 • Page 4 WHATMAKES KEARNEY UNIQUE? FO U S Social media storm By TIFFANY STOIBER Digital Editor KEARNEY — Sure, you can take a walk down Central Avenue to see what’s for sale at local shops. Or you can stroll down a virtual main street on Facebook and have a similar experience. While retail locations across the nation are struggling because con- sumers now may purchase virtu- ally anything online (yes, you can even buy toilet paper on Amazon now), small business owners are catching on and looking to surf for sales themselves on the web, particularly on social media. “My goal this year is to be even more interactive on social media,” said Shopping Tripps owner Stacy Schwartz. “It’s a huge value because retail, in general, is struggling due to the internet. So anywhere an owner can save money is always great ... There’s just not much cost in Facebook or Instagram.” Schwartz isn’t alone in her social media ambitions. According to Social Media Examiner’s “2018 Social Media Marketing Industry Report,” which surveyed more than 5,700 marketers, 62 percent of respon- dents planned to increase their Facebook activity during the next year. Of those respondents, 67 percent said that Facebook was their most important social media platform. For Schwartz and other busi- ness owners the Hub interviewed, Facebook allows them to connect with their customers every day, sometimes even multiple times a day, for free. They also can pay to “boost” a specific post, and appear on the newsfeeds of hundreds or thousands more Facebook users, even if those users don’t follow the business on Facebook. Posh Shoppe owner Erin Bass says she tried more traditional forms of advertising three years ago when she opened the busi- ness. However, they just didn’t show the same value. “We’ve tried some traditional marketing; we did a radio ad, we did some advertising on the back of receipts ... Those are fairly expensive,” she said. However, for $5, Bass says she can reach anywhere from a couple hundred to a thousand people on Facebook. Plus, that’s a simple process, as opposed to the steps required to create, for example, a billboard ad, which requires hiring a graph- ic designer, planning the perfect message, and generally more work to ensure money effectively is spent. Many local businesses also are seeing that their customers now are coming from more than just the Kearney area, thanks to the expanded reach they have on social media. Bling, a new women’s clothing store at the mall, only has stores in Nebraska and Kansas at this time, but Director of Operations Sammy Grollmes says they still sell clothes around the country. “We have shipping orders that go out daily from our stores,” Grollmes said. “That’s been something that social media has helped us with, getting repeat customers that don’t live close to our stores.” For customers who don’t live in Kearney, social media is a way of seeing what’s in the store without having to drive however many miles to browse the product selection. Business owners also agree that if you’re going to reach younger clients, you’re going to have to do it online. “Personally, I am the generation (where) I like to see, touch what I buy, but the generation that is buying are sitting at their desks or in their PJs in the evening, click- ing away. They have busy lives, jobs and family,” CountryNest owner Pamela Robbins wrote in an email. Robbins was set to close her storefront Feb. 9 in downtown Kearney, in favor of operating exclusively through her Etsy shop, . She writes that having both an online and brick-and-mortar shop was like running two whole business- es. To reach even younger clients, business owners say Instagram is the place to do it. “Instagram is definitely the younger, high school, college-age (demographic),” Diva’s co-owner Megan Axmann said. “Facebook’s been great for our main target audience.” Being a photo-centric platform, Instagram particularly is effective for showing off products. Recent- ly, the platform also has added a feature that allows users to tap on a photo to see the price of, say, a shirt and then click on the link to visit the website of the business to purchase it. According to Social Media Examiner, Instagram is growing in popularity among marketers. While in 2017, it was the fourth most important platform for marketers, it jumped up in 2018 to take the No. 3 slot, dethroning Twitter. Whether using social media to sell products, to connect with customers, to find new employees, or, in Posh’s case, to find con- signors and the products to stock the store, business owners all agreed that being on social media is essential for a small business today. “I think social media is abso- lutely necessary, especially for the younger generation,” Schwartz said. “I personally feel like you’ve got to do both marketing ... on the radio and newspaper to reach the older generation that still goes to those to find out what’s going on, but the younger generation is all about social media.” @TiffanyStoiber Digital ads still most effective KEARNEY — While busi- nesses increasingly are growing their presence on social media to draw in customers, digital adver- tising, or even more traditional advertising methods, remain the most effective ways to reach potential buyers. According to an Admall 2018 Audience Scan, less than 14 per- cent of adults across the US find social media ads on Facebook and Twitter useful. This means the majority of “useful” ads still are coming from other places. “Even though social media is a great medium for connecting with your customers, growing those personal relationships, from an advertising standpoint, it doesn’t provide a lot of value to your customers,” said Zach Brown, digital sales supervisor for the Kearney Hub. Chances are, Brown explained, even boosting a post on Facebook is only helping you reach people who already like or follow the page. Whereas robust digital advertising strategies help businesses reach potential customers outside that existing circle. In recent years, digital ads have become more advanced in how they are able to target internet users and in the ana- lytical data digital advertising campaigns can provide. According to the results of a 2015 study, targeted ads based on intent, rather than demographic, are now the most effective way to advertise. The study, from Micro-Moment, Wave 3 and Google/Ipsos, found that marketers who rely only on demographics to reach con- sumers risk missing more than 70 percent of potential mobile shoppers. Targeting based on intent means reaching out to potential customers based on their online actions rather than their age, location or gender, the demo- graphics Facebook lets business- es target for. From reaching potential customers based on “geo-fenc- ing,” or the locations people visit while location services are turned on their phone, to target- ing customers who have recently searched for an item your busi- ness sells, advertising is more specific than it ever was before. By no means does social media not play a part in a digital marketing strategy, Brown said, but “it’s only one cog in the wheel of the whole landscape of advertising.” “The key to successful advertising is reaching as many potential customers across the greatest variety of channels as possible,” Brown explained. “I would never sit there and put all my eggs in one advertising basket.” SUBMITPHOTOS Contribute photos and videos at Click My Photos under the Multimedia tab. POSH EMPLOYEE Brittany Lerbakken creates a flatlay, a display of an outfit arranged on a flat surface, to post on social media for Posh Shoppe. Tiffany Stoiber, Kearney Hub LERBAKKEN TAKES a square photo of an outfit she put to- gether. She then posted the photo on Instagram, a form of social media where square-shaped photos dominate newsfeeds.