Ripl Helps Small Businesses Increase Sales Through Social Media During Pandemic

As part of company’s Small Business Expert Marketing Series, Ripl shares insights around brick-and-mortar small business owners’ use of digital marketing tools in face of COVID-19 pandemic; Shows how others can spring clean their social media strategy and online storefront

Seattle, Washington, UNITED STATES


Seattle, April 19, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Small business marketing expert, Ripl Inc., a software company empowering hundreds of thousands of businesses to succeed on social media without the need for specialized staff or high costs, is exploring some of the changes COVID-19 has brought to the small business landscape that will continue to persist. This month, Ripl shares what some businesses have done to survive and even thrive by growing their social media presence and ecommerce strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 April Edwards and her mother Joy Edwards, co-owners of Grapevine Cottage, a gift store in Collingwood, Ontario, Canada, were active on social media before their store was forced to close multiple times over the past year due to the North American lockdown that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic, but quickly expanded their social media usage to survive the closures.

Daily they visited the shuttered store and soon made it their goal to find ways to meet their audience halfway and decided to fully open their “social media door.” They had run successful customer contests through their Facebook Business account and social media profiles in the past, but actively selling merchandise online, and making it available for curbside pick-up or mail delivery would be a new undertaking. Their efforts to drive sales by increasing their social media engagement proved to be the jumpstart their business needed during the downturn, and a beneficial marketing avenue they plan to continue fostering.

“Social media is what the Sears Catalog used to be. Everyone is using social media and their phones as their shopping guide no matter their age. The COVID-19 pandemic has only made that more evident whether your business is based online, or you have a retail location. I started using Ripl and social media more when I realized that nobody was going to come walking through the door and I better find ways of sharing my merchandise with customers. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the engagement we’ve received, and what a difference it has made for our bottom line during this rollercoaster,” said April Edwards.

They found that their increased use of Facebook was a major catalyst for online growth and ecommerce sales. They now consider that discovery to be a silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic that has allowed them to continue to explore new ways of improving the digital storefront of their business.

“We had customers drive from two hours away to pick-up a special item they saw in a video we posted using the Ripl app while the store was temporarily closed. That would have never happened if we had not been active in our social media sharing. We have seen a dramatic increase in our use of the postal service as well because of COVID-19, but much of that directly stems from our increased ecommerce and online customer interactions over social media. It is our digital doorway to the store,” said Edwards.

They are not alone. In a survey recently conducted by Ripl, the social media management tool found that the frequency of social media sharing between February 2020 and February 2021 among respondents radically increased across platforms. 

“Without a doubt the COVID-19 pandemic has forced small businesses to increase activity on social media. We are seeing this across social platforms, but it is most prevalent with regard to Instagram where we have witnessed a 40% increase in frequency of sharing. Additionally, we saw a 33% increase in Facebook and Twitter sharing over the same year-long period,” said Clay McDaniel, CEO of Ripl.

The acceleration of digital tool use across small business verticals born of the hardships faced during the COVID-19 pandemic is evident. Ripl says small businesses are creating more content across the board. In fact, beauty and personal care businesses have increased content creation by 43%, and community, civil service, and non-profit organizations have increased creation by 40%. 

More and more businesses are also showing an increased willingness to “adapt and adopt” to digital innovations during recent struggles. For many, social media and the use of digital tools such as Ripl, enhances their opportunities to engage and entertain customers, and allows them to build the relationships and sales they need at critical times.

“I started using Ripl for my social media because you can put together animated videos quickly and that gets a lot of engagement. It touches an emotional nerve and makes people feel. That is important in my business – and obviously right now in general. Gifts come from the heart and in our case are often born from a sentimental place of nostalgia. You have to find ways to entertain people and connect with them when they are not walking through your door to say hello and browse. If it were not for social media I don’t know how we would have made it. I just don’t know how other businesses who are not using social media are doing it,” said Edwards.

While the challenges and goals of building a standout online presence vary for every small business, often it ultimately comes down to finding new and improved ways to best connect with customers.

Dotti Potts Pottery Studio & Gallery in Barrie, a small business outside of Toronto, Canada, uses Ripl to create social media posts that promote the unique aesthetics of the brand among customers to nurture their online community and digital storefront.

“Ripl is quick and easy to use and allows me to be very creative in our social channels in a short space of time. Customers and online followers come back to Dotti Potts because they can relate to that passion and share some of those same aesthetics and sense of style in my collections that I share through social media,” said Sandra Silberman, owner of Dotti Potts Pottery Studio and Gallery.

For small businesses struggling to get started sharing their brand through social media, or who might need to dust off their digital doorway, Ripl is offering a few simple strategies for spring cleaning social profiles and reemerging in the hearts and minds of customers. While helpful insights, recommendations and support on various social media topics and strategies can always be found on the Ripl Blog, here are 6 key pieces of advice for any small business owner to quickly implement:

  1. Consider focusing on a “hero” social platform – If you feel like you’re spread too thin tying to manage all of your social channels, see if one is performing much better than the others and focus your energies there. Some channels don’t make as much sense for certain types of businesses. Visual platforms like Instagram often benefit retailers, while Twitter can be beneficial for sharing news and managing customer service.
  2. Add a call-to-action button – This button sits just under your cover photo on your Facebook business page and can be added to Instagram, as well. Make sure it fits your business so potential customers can engage immediately to “Shop now,” “Book now,” “Sign up” and more.
  3. Set goals for your social pages – Having a page just to have a page isn’t the best strategy, so set some measurable goals so you know what’s working and not. Perhaps that means brainstorming new types of content, posting more often or at more regular intervals, or doing more community management on your social media channels.
  4. Refresh your business profile images and main images – Your profile picture and cover/banner image are your most notable visuals on each platform and should feature your logo, or something representative of your company for this upcoming year like a shot of your location, team or key products.
  5. Optimize your Instagram bio – To make sure your Instagram account is up to date, edit your profile. Upload a new image, tweak your bio, add a website link. Don’t forget enabling a call-to-action button, adding your business category and contact information.
  6. Delete or archive old content – Comb through your past Instagram posts and Twitter tweets and decide if any are outdated or no longer applicable to your business. Go through each of your story highlights at the top of your Instagram feed and remove outdated content…and if you’re not yet using Instagram stories for your business, you should start. This is a great way to keep important content indefinitely since highlights last forever while stories only last 24 hours on the platform. Be sure to also go through your past tweets to determine if there are any that might spark controversy or seem tone deaf and delete those, as well.

Ripl helps small business owners make the most of their time by optimizing the quality of options and content available to users to simplify the execution of professional-grade social media. For what amounts to the cost of a take-out lunch once a month, the Ripl app provides an all-in-one social media marketing tool for small businesses.

About Ripl
Ripl, Inc., a privately held software technology company based in Seattle, Washington, provides marketing software and premium subscription services to small businesses globally via its mobile and web applications. To learn more about Ripl, view tutorials, or receive support, visit http://www.ripl.com or the Ripl Facebook Page.

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The Pandemic's Effect on Small Business Sharing Primary Social Marketing Goals Among Small Businesses

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