Canadian Music Trade - April / May 2018 - Page 9

FROM THE FLOOR... G ary Bennett Music is a music store and school serving the commu- nity of Corner Brook, NL; however, owing to Newfoundland and Labrador’s geography and population density, the store services an unusually wide radius and is the closest music store to some communities that are literally hours away. Because of that, the store’s social media presence – Facebook in particular – is a valuable tool that helps them to keep in constant contact with customers who can’t just drop in on a whim. We caught up with Gary Bennett Mu- sic’s Nick Hamlyn to talk about the store’s approach to Facebook and how it’s serving their needs. CMT: Gary Bennett Music’s Facebook page gets a good amount of engage- ment across all kinds of different posts. First off, I’m wondering if you think Facebook and other social media plat- forms are particularly valuable tools to you since the store serves a very wide geographic area, and thus may not have the opportunity for consistent contact with some regular customers as retailers in denser urban areas? Nick Hamlyn: The Facebook page has become invaluable. It’s great for advertising new products and specials, but everybody knows that. The major advantage that we draw from it comes from putting up everyday items that are always in stock and that regular drop-through customers have seen a hundred times. Almost half of our client base lives more than a one-hour drive out of town, so they may only get to walk through the shop once or twice a year when they happen to be in town. Putting up older items basically allows us to provide the browsing experience for our remote customers through their phones or com- puters, which leads to new sales – whether it’s remembering they need new strings, or realizing it’s time for a new keyboard or guitar they may have seen. I specifically remember that when I started at the shop, I’d get yelled at for being on my phone. Now, I respond to Keeping Close with the Community on S ocial Media Q&A with Nick Hamlyn of Gary Bennett Music more Facebook messages every day than I do emails. It’s become an important part of our daily opera- tions and overall success. CMT: You’ve got a great balance between shots of products and promotions, along with instrument demos, fun community-related posts, and even utili- tarian announcements like lessons being cancelled on account of weather. How do you plan the frequency of the posts, what type of content to share, and so on? NH: We try to have at least one new product, a few staples that have been in the store for a while, and a video of some sort every week. Then, we amp up the frequency leading into Christmas, music festivals, and before our various summer camps. CMT: How do you strike a balance between sharing product-based posts that are interesting and appeal to people’s curiosity vs. being overly “selly,” which is a common social media faux-pas? NH: Basically, we try to keep the post to a sentence or two. Anyone looking for specs or more information will Google the prod- uct, or hopefully make direct contact with us for any questions they might have. CMT: You’ve also benefitted from some cool posts thanks to your suppliers, either sharing content they’ve generat- ed, or having someone like Terry Hume from Yamaha demo a product in the store for an informative vid. How do you suggest retailers go about engag- ing their suppliers and other partners to get more substantial social media content? NH: Just ask! In the example of the demo video we did with Terry, he was in the middle of training us on the Yamaha Silent Piano, and I thought to myself, “You know who would find this interesting? Literally everyone.” So we shot the video with a good mic to capture the best sound from the instrument, and it is now one of our most viewed posts. To go along with that, make sure you follow all of your suppliers and brands on Facebook and check their feeds regularly for new content. They typically love when content they’ve created gets some extra mileage, and it’s a good way to get more interesting stuff in front of your followers without taking up much time or resources. CANADIAN MUSIC TRADE 9