At 2016 Summer NAMM, John Mlynczak of Noteflight interviewed Sarah Jones of Gruhn Guitars and Tim Spicer of Spicer’s Music about their social media strategies and what has worked for each of them, specifically on Instagram and Facebook.
Here are their best practices. (Watch the video for the full session.)
WHAT WORKS FOR GRUHN GUITARS
Jones shared that organic reach has worked for Gruhn Guitars, although the company has recently experimented with boosted posts. Gruhn also uses different content on each platform. Jones acknowledged that you’re likely going to have some crossover audience with both.
Gruhn Guitars Facebook campaigns: “I like to use Facebook as a platform to redirect people to our website or to information that’s not necessarily in our Facebook pages,” Jones said. Gruhn Guitars uses Facebook to communicate information that can’t be done with an image or video on Instagram.
• Store cats. Gruhn has two cats that live at the store. Jones posted a photo of the cats with guitars on National Cat Day. It was timely.
• Groups of instruments. Jones shared that she loves to post photos of and information about groups of instruments, such as the Jimmy Dickens collection of guitars. (He was a Grand Ole Opry musician who passed away in 2015.) This is an example of posting information on Facebook and redirecting people to a website, so they can learn more.
• Content provided by others. Gruhn used a video from Premier Guitar as an example of repurposing others’ resources—with permission—and spreading them out to social media. “That really works well for us, and we’re very lucky,” Jones said.
Gruhn Guitars Instagram campaigns: According to Jones, Instagram is more of a behind-the-scenes look into the world of Gruhn Guitars. “It’s a series of snapshots that you might not otherwise see on our website or if you walked into the shop,” she said. Jones also noted that Instagram lets her have more contact with regular customers in between store visits.
• George Gruhn’s birthday at the store. Not everyone could attend, so Jones shared that moment on Instagram.
• Staff picks. Jones runs a series on the staff’s favorite instruments. This gives Gruhn’s audience more insight into the people who work at the company. Everyone picks a different instrument each month.
• Videos. Jones mentioned she doesn’t typically produce video, but when she does, it’s unconventional (e.g., a time-lapse video). She produced a video in Gruhn’s case-storage area in which she and the shipping specialist moved the cases around from shelf to shelf. It was a glimpse into something you wouldn’t normally see or think about. “I like scratching underneath the surface and showing what really goes on behind the scenes rather than just promoting what we have for sale,” Jones said.
WHAT WORKS FOR SPICER’S MUSIC
Spicer acknowledged that Instagram has been more successful for his store than Facebook.
Spicer’s Instagram campaigns: “We’re a younger store, and we draw a lot of the younger audience that’s into boutique stuff right now, so we try to capitalize on that for our Instagram,” Spicer said.
He admitted to stalking his customers and followers on Instagram to see what they’re interested in. He tries to tailor his store’s photos to mirror what he sees his followers liking.
“I’m building a connection and communication with our customers,” he said, adding, “Since we started doing that, our engagement has shot through the roof.”
• Product shot. Spicer put a pedal called The Freeze in a bucket of ice and took a photo. Then, he used filters to arrive at a cool shot. “An informed perspective can take different directions,” Spicer said.
• Store displays. Spicer suggested shooting store displays from different angles (from the bottom looking up, or approaching it from the side and not just the front).
Spicer’s Facebook campaigns:
• Make Music Day. Spicer’s Music had more than 1,000 musicians come out and play one song on Make Music Day to try to break the record for the world’s largest rock ’n roll band. “I paid zero dollars, it’s been the best thing I’ve done for our community, and we got the best publicity for free,” Spicer said.
• Alabama Shakes bass player. Spicer saw him on MTV Live wearing a T-shirt that says Waverly Music, which is down the road from Spicer’s Music. Spicer snapped the picture, posted it and included hashtags with the local store owner’s name. He also posted it to Instagram. He wanted to engage the local community.
• Gear demos videos. Spicer’s Music spent $25 on background props to help make one of its studios into a video demo room, and these have worked well for the store.
“For us, if you can engage in a conversation through social media, ask questions, get an emotional response, and then continue the communication, you’re successful,” Spicer said. “We all want to be interactive with customers.”