300 Seconds

Social Messages and Notifications

Friday is a great “take out the trash” day. And by this, I mean tying up loose ends, answering emails, and monitoring social media.

Take 300 seconds and reply to any unanswered message posts in Facebook. If you’ve been avoiding a message because it contains a complaint about your store, take the time to politely reply. We’re not always presented with the opportunity to have a conversation and rectify misconceptions. Be thankful you’re allowed to have a voice in the matter.

Next, head over to Twitter and look at your notifications. Are there any tweets to favorite or retweet? Do you have new followers you should follow back? Have you received any direct messages to which you should respond?

And finally, look at your Instagram account. Again, look to see if you have any followers you should follow back. And while you’re there, browse through and like some images. Hand ‘em out like candy. They’re free. And we all want to be liked.

Stock Up for the Holidays: Check Your Supply Inventory

In these weeks before the holiday season, it’s a good idea to check your supply inventory. The last thing you want to do in December is search for the number for a vendor to rush some supplies to you.

Some of the items to inventory might include:

  • bags (or sacks… depending on where you live)
  • rolls of receipt paper
  • mailing envelopes
  • mailing labels
  • packing tape
  • gift wrap tape
  • gift wrap
  • ribbon
  • store labeling (for packaging, etc.)
  • post-its

It’s also a good idea to take stock of specialty printed items. Business cards, gift enclosure cards, store notecards. These can often be reprinted in just a couple of weeks. But that can feel like an eternity once you’ve used the last one.

300 Seconds: Twitter Cover Image

Back in April, Twitter redesigned the way our profile pages appear. One of those changes included a full-width cover image. Have you added a cover image to your profile page yet?

I see a lot of “blank” cover images on Twitter. If you intentionally left yours blank, that’s fine. But if you just haven’t had time, take 5 minutes to add that photo today.

Choose an image that appropriately represents you or your store. (And keep in mind that your profile image will obscure a small portion of the cover image near the lower left corner.)

The size of your cover image should be 1500 pixels wide by 500 pixels tall. I use Photoshop to alter my image sizes, but you should be able to do it in the photo editing software you use. And if it will take you longer than 300 seconds to figure out how to use that software, just send your preferred image to me. I’ll resize it and send it back.

If you can’t decide which image to choose, then 1) select them all, 2) prepare them to size, and 3) change them often.

Return the Love

Take 5 minutes today and look to see who’s followed or liked you lately on social media. Take some time to follow them back.

While you’re there, make a little extra effort and start a conversation. Instead of saying, “Thanks for the like,” message them with something like, “Your shopping cart tweet had me rolling…” or “Dying to hear what you think of the new Amy Bloom…”

Finally, take a little time to “like” or “favorite” posts and tweets. We all like to be liked.

Freshen the Restrooms

Since a bookstore is a retail establishment, your restroom becomes public whether you want it to or not. Especially if you have a children’s section. Take 300 seconds today to make sure that it’s ready for visitors.

I suggested this task once before, and I proposed taking advantage of the “captive” audience by placing items on the walls. Event posters. Children’s story time announcements. Publisher provided posters. Even signage with a long shelf life.

If the items on your walls have no expiration, it’s still a good idea to change them out. You could create a rotation of “seasonal” signage, or just take the opportunity to be creative every 4 to 6 months. And if you don’t want to mar your walls with an abundance of tape, consider hanging an understated frame. Then any signage you create can be produced to meet those specifications.