Small Upscale Shopping Center Shows Opportunities & Challenges of Social Media

image A creative mindset enhances what are certainly limited marketing dollars in a tough economic climate.

The Bell Tower Shops is a relatively small but charming shopping center in South Fort Myers, Florida. 

It is anchored by a Saks Fifth Avenue on the north and a Fresh Market on the South. Shoppers can stroll in the shade as they traverse the nice blend of stores and restaurants.

As they describe themselves on Facebook:

The Bell Tower Shops is the place to see and be seen in beautiful Fort Myers, Florida. This shopping icon features the area’s only Saks Fifth Avenue, dozens of local and national boutiques , and world-class restaurants. Lush landscaping, soothing water fountains and inviting, open-air spaces for rest and relaxation complete the package.

Their Facebook page takes advantage of powerful Facebook components:

  • You can view upcoming events and register right there. 
  • You can become a fan of the Bell Tower shops.
  • You can take a look at their album of photos.
  • You can watch a video of a “ladies day out.”
  • You can see there mini feed which would be the output of a blog.

All this amounts to a great start but shows how challenging it can be to make social media work effectively for you.

At the moment they have only 30 fans, which is, of course, a tiny fraction of all the shoppers going to Bell Tower.  They will have to find a way to entice a lot more people to come to their Facebook page and to become fans.  I think their challenge will be to find a reason for shoppers to have a sense of community which would draw them to the page.

Although they show a blog post feed, there is nothing newsy or compelling about what they have posted. My sense is they need to engage all of their retail establishments in using this Facebook page to write about what they are doing, events they are having, specials they are offering, charities they are supporting etc.

I think they could make much better use of photos and videos by having a lot more of them–and by tagging shoppers by name so they look for themselves on the Facebook page and share with friends and relatives here were back home in the north.

If they do not have someone who lives and dies by the success of their social media strategy, it would be wise to hire an in-house or a dedicated external resource.  

All in all, it’s a solid start.  And, it is certainly the harbinger of the much more pervasive use of social media even by relatively small business entities.

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