How a Shoe Store Owner Gets Free Facebook Advertising

I was meeting with the owner of an upscale ladies boutique in a southeastern state. Although the store sold all manner of women’s clothing, the largest revenue driver was shoes.

Apparently, ladies love shoes. Who knew?

The conversation had just turned to social media, and I asked the owner how effective the store Facebook page was as a marketing tool. “It’s okay, I guess,” he said. “But I found a much better way to use Facebook.”

He had my attention. I bit. “How do you do that?” I asked.

 “My customers all have cell phones, and just about all of them have a camera. Whenever a customer tries on a pair of shoes and decides to buy them, we ask if they’d like us to take their picture — with their phone. Women like to show off their new shoes, so most of them say yes.”

“Do they let you post those pictures on your Facebook page?” I asked.

“Some do, but I don’t really care about that,” he replied. “What makes this work is that as soon as they go home, they post that picture on their own Facebook page. And they usually mention that they got the shoes at my store.

That means that we just got a free Facebook ad, and it gets seen by 500 of my customer’s friends. Two or three times a week, someone will walk into my store and ask to try on a pair of shoes that their friend posted on Facebook.

All of this costs us nothing – we don’t even pay for the camera!”

The store owner has stumbled on a great way to use Facebook in its most effective form – to accelerate word-of-mouth. It’s a technique that can be used in a variety of consumer settings:

  • A furniture store can take pictures of a customer’s new couch, in the customer’s home.
  • A car dealer can shoot a photo of a happy couple standing next to the new SUV they just bought.
  • A window company can take pictures of a homeowner posing in front of her newly-installed windows.

The key is to take the picture with the customer’s phone, not yours.

Rather than begging people to “like” your Facebook page, you can intersect with existing consumer behavior. Happy customers love the show off the things they just bought… on Facebook.

Who knew?


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