Six steps to driving footfall through Social Media

May 30, 2017 | Share this article

By Pete Durant, Head of Mediabrands Society UK


As marketers, every day there seems to be a new product, function or platform we should be considering when using social media. It can be exhausting and bewildering, and can make you feel like you are always chasing your own tail. We at Mediabrands Society are complexity killers: we think that getting the basics right will make your social media fly. Here, we discuss six simple and easy steps to get you started in using social to drive consumers to your bricks and mortar.


When going through these steps, it is key to understand that platforms like Snapchat and Facebook can track the effectiveness of advertising in driving footfall, simply by capturing your location. Every time you open the Snapchat app, for example, they know exactly where you are. By pre-programming in your locations, Snapchat can track people who have seen or acted on your content/offer/advertising to see if they enter a location over a set time period, thus creating a clear relationship between stimulus and action. Facebook works in a similar way.

Because we now access social media largely through our mobile phones, the context in which you – as an advertiser – are reaching your customers has never been more important. No longer is the perceived action or state of mind the key defining factor to success. Physical and social factors now also play a huge role; factors such as the environment, journey, location and even the people the recipient is currently with.

Understanding and working with this context is vital to the success of social media and your business objectives.


  1. Identify and create dynamic brand moments

When is your brand most relevant to the consumer? By creating set and unpredictable moments, you can drive more action and cut through the noise and clutter in people’s feeds.

These could be your own product cycles, big releases, key sales periods or product launches. They could be seasonal national moments or live events near to your business. They could be life moments, such as becoming a new parent, getting married, moving home or being in a special one-off location, such as an airport. Or they could be moments that bring communities together, including breaking news stories. They could even be something as simple as hot or cold days.

Being prepared and mapping these key moments in advance allows you to be agile and set up a process whereby you can be super-relevant to the world around your consumers.

  1. Think hyper-local

We know that consumers want content in their feed that genuinely means something to them and their lives, and we know that they are accessing social media on the move and are sensitive to their surroundings. Bricks and mortar are anchored to a locality and culture  – so, to avoid being bland and to naturally stand out, brands should consider what it means to a person to be living in a particular town. Think local language, directions, phone numbers and regional slants on your dynamic brand moments. What typical moments are taking place in people’s lives in this place? Are they on a seafront or by a lake? Are they at the end of a Southern Rail line in the middle of the strikes? Are they at an airport or on a bus? Are they in a buying mind set?

Simply, make it as personal and relevant as you can.

  1. Create something that is exclusive, special and unique to the location you want someone to visit

It could be a location-only offer, a piece of content such as TGI Friday’s Snapchat filter or a video accessed through someone like Landmrk. Perhaps it could be a limited edition or time-sensitive deal available in one location, like Malaysia Airlines and STA Travel’s £49 return flights for the first 100 through the door.

Ask yourself, what will help me get someone to physically go somewhere rather than rely on online? What motivates a person to make that effort? Then create something truly exceptional.



Word of mouth  (true social marketing) can still be leveraged digitally to drive footfall. Whether that is simply from creating moments such as steps 1-3, which are spoken about online, or more permanent reviews of your brand on 3rd party sites and social platforms, peer-to-peer marketing can make an impact.

Think about peer-to-peer marketing in both showrooming and webrooming: media creates awareness, need or drives an action, whereas advocacy reaffirms a purchase thought, decision or opinion. In showrooming, consumers will be in store using their phones to look at reviews and prices to purchase offline. In webrooming, it is the opposite.

Using ratings and reviews to create a true community of loyal customers and experiences centred on locations can enable and push people into store. With webrooming, it is clear how a well-reviewed and spoken about brand can help tip a consumer to purchase. However, in showrooming, consider what recommendations and reviews can do to make a person purchase there and then using steps 1-3.



  1. Obsess about context

Steps 1 – 3 have already discussed consumer and physical context, but have you obsessed about your brand or product’s life cycle? You cannot use digital to sell a car, but you can use it to sell a test drive. Focusing on a different part of the audience journey can drive much better return on investment and exemplify where social can truly succeed.

  1. Begin to build your audience profile in detail and use your existing CRM, buying data and custom audiences

Stop using social as a broadcast-all and begin tailoring messages to groups such as new customers, regular customers, lapsed, loyal etc. Consider the moment, context and message for retargeting different groups from other channels and owned activity to help push the business objectives.



  1. Find the right social channel and/or advertising product to deliver against objective

Although many platforms could work, we will briefly focus on two: Facebook and Snapchat.


Facebook is still the most effective solution for driving footfall because of its size and data opportunities. Its store visits solution for brick and mortar retailers tries to create and measure offline behavior at scale using actionable formats.  You can have tailored versions of single creative templates to power all ads in different business locations, with the relevant information you need (such as proximity-based copy, maps in a carousel visual format and proximity CTAs). Facebook can even geo-fence your store to less than a mile for measurement and targeting purposes. The reporting is currently done as an estimated metric, but is nonetheless based on data from those with location enabled on their devices. Where possible, Facebook will exclude visits from people who appear to be going past the location rather than lingering to buy or use your services.


Every time a user uses Snapchat, their location is captured – making for a very powerful measurement tool. It uses a similar logistic regression model with a sample of data like Facebook. Combined with the majority of Snapchat activity (see below) being done in the places you want consumers to be, there are many paid opportunities to drive footfall. It is important however to be clear about who you actually want to visit your business, to ensure a Snapchat paid solution is right.

Snap-to-Store is currently functioning for retail stores, cinemas and restaurants and is available for a minimum spend including a filter. The thought process is similar to Facebook with advertising or content carrying a message and location-based reporting following exposed users to see where they go within a set period. There are some nice features, like buying location-based advertising takeovers in gyms and airports for those chains with specific areas of interest.



  • Ensure you do the brilliant basics before building your channel strategy
  • Obsess about context: brand, consumer, buying journey, location
  • Think about a customer’s experience on-location and on their phones and the connection between them
  • Explore the scale of Facebook and new smart possibilities with Snapchat
  • Speak to the Mediabrands Society team to get started!