November 10, 2016

PRC Thrift Shop Antics Gets Some Blog Attention

PRCTS provides great public relations

Peace River Thrift Shoppe is a great little gem in Lakeland, and you can feel good each time you shop there because proceeds from the store benefit mental health consumers, as well as victims of domestic violence and rape.

The fact that their Facebook page is an excellent example of how to use social media to boost business, and how to use Facebook as a public relations tool makes my heart sing.

The thrift store uses Facebook to its advantage by posting photos of donated items available for purchase. Those photos result in sales. It’s convenient to virtually “browse” the shop via the Facebook page when you don’t have time to make a trip to the store. If you find something you like, you can leave a comment and ask to have it held for you. I’ve seen items sold to people in other parts of Florida as a result of those photos.

Obviously, sales via Facebook are good for the store’s bottom line. But how does this page help promote favorable public relations, you ask? As I’ve said on this blog before, public relations is about RELATIONSHIPS. This Facebook page is powerful in terms of starting and cultivating relationships with its constituents. It sparks conversations. The page’s administrators respond to questions and comments in a timely manner. They are eager to answer questions, hold items and post when an item that’s popular on the page has sold.

It takes more than photos of pretty or unusual items to accomplish this task. There’s a creative mind behind those photos, which belongs to Molly Wortham, and she writes some hilarious captions that accompany the photos. Her wit and humor endear people to the page and the store. One frequent page visitor lives in California. How likely is she to set foot in the store? Yet she comments frequently on posts.

I’m convinced people visit the Facebook page to see the latest photos and quips that accompany them. As a result, they often wind up purchasing items they didn’t even know they needed.

Mortimer boosts public relations in Lakeland

Mortimer, Peace River Thrift Shoppe’s monkey butler.

Molly’s humorous captions initially attracted me to the site, but Mortimer the monkey butler is what hooked me. Mortimer (pictured here) has been instrumental in selling llamas, cowboy boots, and tiny, creepy clowns. He’s quite proper, frequently referring to Molly as “Madam” or “Milady.” He serves her peeled, organic carrots when she looks as though she needs sustenance. He offers her Fiji apples, because he knows they’re her favorite. Mortimer tends to dislike others of his kind. I quickly got the impression that in Mortimer’s eyes, the thrift shoppe wasn’t big enough for more than one monkey. That is, until an equally distinguished assistant named Kevin joined the shop’s ranks earlier this year. Apparently, he’s OK with other monkeys being around as long as they dress appropriately and mind their manners.

I’ve been a fan of this page for about a year, and I’ve seen the number of likes more than double during that time. I’d be interested in seeing the sales numbers, and whether donations and sales have increased along with the site’s popularity.

Meet Kevin, Peace River Thrift Shop's new assistant.

Meet Kevin, Peace River Thrift Shoppe’s new assistant.

One way to boost your business Facebook page is to follow other successful pages and simply observe what they do. The Peace River Thrift Shoppe Facebook page is a good one to watch. Pay attention to what seems to prompt comments and likes. See how what you do in your line of work might illicit similar responses.

You might say, “Sure, Lorrie, this is great for a thrift store, but my line of work isn’t this interesting.” I challenge you to think outside the box. If you’re an auto mechanic, why not take photos of the strange things you pull out of car tires? An auto detail shop could post before/after photos of their clients’ cars.  If you’re a cleaning service, take a before/after photo of a nasty carpet stain and explain what you did to remove it. You have to think about what your potential customers want to see in the company they choose to do business with, and provide that. Maybe it’s answers to frequently asked questions. Provide that, but include photos with it whenever possible. Facebook is image-driven.

Social media is social. Treat your followers as real people, as potential clients, and your page will become a powerful public relations tool for your business, too.

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NOVEMBER 15, 2016

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NOVEMBER 15, 2016

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