It may seem like there is a divide between your physical, brick-and-mortar business and your brand’s online social media presence. But, that line is getting thinner and thinner. People are constantly engaged with the digital world — even if they’re in the middle of a physical location.

You can no longer divide the online and in-person world into two categories. You need to find a way to merge the two words so your brand is everywhere your customers are at every moment.

One way to do that is by bringing the social media world into your store. You can give your customers reasons and ways to engage with your brand both online and in-person while visiting your location. Here are a few ways to encourage social media engagement while customers are shopping with you.

Set Up a Photo Opp

We are living in an Instagram culture where people love to capture exciting, alluring, and delightful moments and share them on their social media channels. In the age of selfies, it also pays to think about designing your space in thoughtful ways, not only to encourage sales and traffic flow, but to give people a place they want to document and share with others. Tap into this trend by giving your customer something great to take a photo of. Set up a beautiful or unique display that makes for an interesting Instagram photo. Or you can set up a specific backdrop wall with accented colors or signs for people to pose under for a selfie station.

Create a Branded Hashtag and Promote It In Your Location

To make it even more likely that customers will capture photos in your location and then promote your brand when they post their images, create a hashtag for your brand. Come up with a two- to three-word phrase that customers can add to their posts. This will curate images captured in your location into one stream.

Before you come up with your hashtag, search to see if there are any other brands or accounts using the hashtag. Try to choose a term you can own. Then, get oversized letters or use your in-store signage to promote the hashtag in your business, especially near the photo ops, to encourage customers to use the hashtag.

Display User Generated Content

Once you get customers to use your branded hashtag, this next tip is easy. Use digital signage to display a stream of images that feature your branded hashtag. When someone shares a photo on social media with your branded hashtag, display it in your store showing off the brand love and great final products — all without needing to create any new content on your own.

When you set up this system, don’t just allow every image to show on the display. Set up an approval process to make sure you see each image before it displays in your business to filter out spam or inappropriate images.

Feature an In-store Stream of Images

Don’t rely solely on your customers to keep your in-store image feed filled. You can also capture your own images to display on video walls and digital screens. This type of content serves both online and in-store marketing efforts. You can share the images on your social media accounts which gives you great content for your digital presence.

Offer Discounts and Upgrades for Social Media Check-ins

Another way to guide customers to check-in and mention your brand on social media during their visit is to offer discounts or upgrades for performing that action. Feature specials and promotions that reward customers for letting their social media followers know they are at your location.

Tell customers they can get a free purchase or percentage off their visit by checking in on Facebook, Instagram, or Yelp. Have them simply show your staff to get their upgrade. Make sure each customer knows about your offer. Feature the promotions on your digital waitboards and overhead messages so in-store customers don’t miss the offer.

Offer Free Location WiFi

If you want customers to engage with their social media accounts while in your store, you must make it easy for them to get online. For this reason, you should always offer free customer WiFi. Giving customers access to your WiFi encourages them to engage more on social media more while in your business. It improves the customer experience and gives your brand an advantage over other businesses that don’t offer this extra amenity.

And, it also provides powerful value and insights for your brand. You can use WiFi marketing to collect emails address when users log in and send audiences to custom splash pages that share promotions and call-to-actions to connect with your brand on social media.

Provide Better Customer Experiences in Your Store

The line between online social media worlds and in-person experiences keeps getting thinner and thinner. Customers want to and expect to be able to be connected in both places at the same time. So give customers what they want by offering connection tools and incentives to get online while in your business.

Use the tips in this post to create online social media connections in your store. Then, get even more ideas about how to boost customer engagement and experiences in your business. Download our free ebook The Ultimate Guide to In-Store Marketing to get more tips and tactics for improving your brick-and-mortar location.