Ace does a great job of marketing the ACE brand, advertising sales and giving exposure to the other major brands and categories with which it is aligned (like the 2022 focus on paint, grills, power equipment and home preservation). But what about those non-ACE products and the independent, niche vendors you’ve brought in? How do you use your social channels to highlight those products and give them airtime alongside the ACE brand?

We’ve got a solid three-pronged strategy for giving your niche brands exposure.

  • Social media content: Where, When and How
  • SEO: Get your local products found on Google.
  • Content is king: Incorporate your local products into your blog.

Create A Social Media Content Strategy

It can seem like posting to social media is like throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks. It often is, but when you have a plan for what you’re throwing up there, you can set metrics and collect data to learn what does and doesn’t work for your audience. Remember, marketing is not a solution, yet a continual test of new ways to reach and engage with your customers.

Keys To Social Media Success

  • Be consistent in your visual branding and posting days and times. Consistency is more important than frequency.
    • If you don’t have a graphic designer, you can hire a freelancer, a local agency or you can find someone on your team who can create posts for free in Canva, one of the most user-friendly apps for creating social graphics. You should be posting a minimum of 8 times a month, with at least 2 of those posts revolving around your niche products. We have some clients that post once a day, and if there is engagement, post as often as you have the resources to do so. Keep track of what Soci is doing and if you’re part of a dealer group, check in on their content strategy and calendar.
  • Know that there is no magic software or tutorial that makes everything work. Success is based on a lot of upfront research, planning, and trial and error.
    • Research: Look at other successful social media accounts in retail hardware. What are they posting, how often and what CTA (call to action) are they using to get people engaged?
    • Planning: Create a content calendar, and plan out the important events, holidays and shipments in advance, so you know what you’re posting, when you’re posting it and why. Download our free content calendar template.
    • Trial and error: Be ready to try, fail, and try again until you find the right combination for your particular audience and your particular niche products.
  • Metrics. We can’t improve what we don’t measure.
    • Getting your social media to create engagement – one percent is considered engaged, three percent is considered highly engaged – is an ongoing process of trying, measuring, tweaking and trying again.

PRO TIP: The more you can showcase your products being used or touted by your employees with them in the photo alongside – or better yet, using the product – the better.

Checklist Of Successful Social Media Campaign Qualities:

  • ✓ Thoughtful Research
  • ✓ Clear Goals
  • ✓ Engaging Message
  • ✓ Specific Audience
  • ✓ Quality Content
  • ✓ Strategic Placements
  • ✓ Analyzing Performance

So now you have a strategy, but where should you be posting?

Facebook and Instagram are still where you’ll find the majority of your audience. Your customers are on Pinterest and Tik Tok as well, but those platforms are not as user-friendly for your brand and your niche products. And if at all possible, try to join local FB groups that are specific to your niche. i,e,- if you sell horse products, join local horse groups and see if the admin is ok with you sharing information about your supplies.

Postings adhere to the consistency over frequency rule and two to three times a week is a great goal for your total posts. When integrating your niche and outside vendor products, aim for once a week, and include them in your overall plan. Think of seasonality and customer need, just like you would for your major categories. If you can post four to five times a week, that’s great. But an intentional schedule of fewer images that are cohesive and well planned out will create trust in your brand better than more content thrown up without a plan.

Think about the type of content you’re posting, what catches your eye when you’re scrolling and what your customers might find engaging. We have found that the content that garners the most organic engagement is personalized content. Products are fine – Yeti and Traeger create outstanding lifestyle images that dealers can use, and while Weber and BGE create very clean, usable product photos, what they lack that Yeti and Traeger have nailed, is the lifestyle branding – putting people in 98% of their images. It’s a little more challenging when your stores can’t go camping, sailing, snowboarding and live the #vanlife, but your team is your brand – include them in nearly all of your content, and you will see your engagement rise. Encourage the people on your team to use your products, especially your niche products, and get them to take pictures. Organic posts with a human story do exponentially better than just a product photo. Storytelling and helping your audience visualize themselves with your product is vital. A shot of your store manager on a fishing trip with a local, handcrafted fishing rod and license they got at your store is like gold – everyone will want to be living that life.

Once you’ve got a plan and know what you want your feed to look like, it’s time to create goals to measure your success. They can be anything you like, but here are some suggestions:

  • Sell x amount of x niche product per month
  • Sell out a niche-product event by a certain date
  • Increase likes by x percent
  • Generate x new followers
  • Get x number of comments on a niche-product post

DO: Take the time to establish your objective and goals and make sure each piece of content has a purpose. Stay focused.
DON’T: Post content that doesn’t have an objective. Go back and forth on your goals from post to post.

SEO and Google Search

The mistake we often see with social media is the same as with SEO – thinking it’s a one and done rather than an ongoing process. Think of SEO like a car- if you went to a mechanic and said, “I bought a Honda CRV- why isn’t it going 150 miles per hour and zero to 60 in under three seconds?” The mechanic would say, “Did you put in a V-12 engine, strip all of the extra weight in the car, put on high-performance tires and dual turbochargers?” And you’d say, “Well, no.” You just wouldn’t buy a stock CRV and expect it to be a racing car. It’s the same with SEO and websites. Just purchasing a URL and putting up some pages doesn’t get you a website that performs optimally. Like anything else, it takes time, energy, and iterations to get the website traffic and results you want.

So if your website is a car, SEO is the regular maintenance. Just like your car’s manual has a list of maintenance requirements at 10,000 and 15,000 mile intervals, there is standard SEO maintenance that should be performed on a regular basis.

  • New content, images and graphics
  • New website copy
  • New pages and blog posts
  • New links: from other sites and linking internally
  • Fixing any errors
  • Fixing any speed or performance issues

Just like the name implies, search engine optimization is just that. Google crawls around your website using what they call spiders, analyzing all of the content regularly – your keywords, links, meta data, and every piece of content. Google then stores all of that information, and when someone types in a question or search, Google analyzes it and matches it with the best results it can find from all that crawling and data storage. If you don’t give Google the data and keep it fresh and updated, Google won’t pull your website up and hand it to someone in the results. It’s like going into a book store and trying to get them to find you a book, but you can’t give them the title, author, or characters’ names, and you can’t really remember the plot.

Your niche products, like the hyper-local beef jerky you just brought in that’s made at a farm down the road, are perfect for keeping your site updated and full of new content. The even better news is that 46% of all Google searches are local, and 93% of all online experiences begin with a search engine. Very few people go directly to a website. They search first for things like “local beef jerky” and “rototiller rental near me.”

We could spend an entire day on SEO. In fact, we do when we work one-on-one with our clients, but for now, you can start thinking about these top four areas.

  • Each webpage ideally has a minimum of 300 words to be Google (and user) friendly.
  • Multiple pages of content, including downloadables, descriptions, blog posts, images and videos
  • Keywords on each page and in each piece of content
  • Metadata on all pages, posts, images, and videos

One-time SEO Tasks:

  • Set up Google Search Console and Google Analytics
  • Make your site responsive!
  • Build a new site structure.
  • Add new pages and a blog – make sure everything is above 300 words!
  • Fix your site speed.
  • Install an SSL certificate.
  • Fix your URLs.
  • Add in your metadata.
  • Build a content strategy, do research, and assemble your content team!

Every Month:

  • Build out a new topic cluster.
    Submit your site to Google Search Console.
    Write and publish new content – blog posts, pages, portfolio pieces, etc.
    Review Google Search Console and Google Analytics to see how users interact with your site.
    Fix any errors or broken links that come up from SEOptimer and Website Grader.
    Analyze your speed and performance using PageSpeed Insights and make changes.
    Outreach and build new links!
    Update metadata.

Keywords for SEO

Blogging and regular content have a direct correlation to how much Google will show your website, how high your rankings are, how much traffic your website gets, and how much business from your website you will receive.

This graphic is from an analysis of one of our client’s Google impressions – how many times this website was shown around Google for different queries. It’s a great object lesson in how vital good, consistent blogging helps Google find your site and its products.

This graphic is from an analysis of one of our client's Google impressions - how many times this website was shown around Google for different queries. It's a great object lesson in how vital good, consistent blogging helps Google find your site and its products.

Google uses the keywords you’ve carefully selected and included in your content and matches them with a user’s query. Knowing which keywords are best can seem overwhelming, but we’ve got you covered.

Here’s a short step-by-step guide to finding your page keywords. These are the keywords you’re going to put on your entire site wherever you can, and if you don’t have a place to put those keywords, build a page!

  1. Go to
  2. Pick three main services or products.
  3. Click the checkbox for the relevant keywords for you.
  4. Select at least 50 keywords.
  5. Click “Export to CSV”
  6. Head to the “Related” tab to see if you missed anything.
  7. Select the keywords and click “Export to CSV.”

This is a similar step-by-step guide, but it focuses on your blog post keywords.You’ll use these keywords to create your blog content strategy, and you will use them in your blog posts.

  1. Go to
  2. Pick three main services or products.
  3. Click “Filter”
  4. Set the max “SEO Difficulty” to “50.”
  5. Click the checkbox for the relevant keywords for you.
  6. Select at least 50 keywords.
  7. Click “Export to CSV”
  8. Head to the “Related” tab to see if you missed anything.
  9. Select the keywords and click “Export to CSV.”

Blog Content

Now it’s time to ask yourself, “What do I want my content to do?” The answer falls into distinct categories but ones that can and should overlap at times:

  1. Educating your readers and setting your brand up as a trusted, knowledgeable source.
  2. Creating a dialogue and building a community.
  3. Showcasing your brand values.

The content you build around these goals needs to be comprehensive and insightful. You need to be exciting, conversational, interactive, and sometimes a combination of two or three of those.

Keep in mind the old marketing adage – if you’re talking to everyone, you’re talking to no one. Creating content for a generic audience is a no-win situation. You need to be creating content for a specific audience – and in this case, it’s the audience who will be interested in your niche products.

The most successful content marketing addresses your audience’s needs or concerns, solves a problem for them, addresses their goals, and answers their questions. Spend some time thinking about who these customers are, what their needs or concerns are, and what problems your niche products solve for them – this could be as simple as helping them fulfill their goal of shopping more locally, or it could be much more specific to tangible problems the product solves.

How to find content ideas:

  1. Go to
  2. Select the three highest search volume keywords on your blog keyword list.
  3. Find 10 questions that you really like.
  4. Copy and paste them into an excel spreadsheet.
  5. Set the goal of writing two blog posts per month using those questions as your starting point.

Not every blog post will be about your niche products. Like on social media, a 30% rule is a good guideline. One in every three blog posts can include a topic that spotlights your niche or outside vendor products and gets them more exposure, and helps Google find them and you in response to searches.

We talked about on-page SEO, but it’s not the only kind. We want to mention off-line SEO, which is less tangible and takes a little more effort and time to cultivate and manage. It includes:

  • Links – connect to other pages on your site and other sites around the web and get other sites to link back to you. Links and linkbacks will get you the biggest rise in the rankings most quickly, though the organic value of trustworthiness and a strong social presence is also very high. It’s easy to put links pointing to other websites on every page, but getting linkbacks is not as easy. It’s a marketing strategy unto itself. You’ll need to spend time building relationships with others in your industry, bloggers, and other tangential websites that would be interested in your content and sharing your unique niche products.
  • Trustworthiness – A trustworthy site will have lots of links, lots of content, a lot of engagement with users, and a history. The history just takes time, but you can work on the others right away.
  • Social Engagement & Activity – this also ties into trustworthiness. To create good social standing, you’ll want lots of content, links and engagement.

You’ve got your social media plan, and you’re working on your SEO, but how do you incorporate your local, niche and outside vendor products into your blog? Think of your blog as clusters of content. Each niche is like the hub of a wheel with spokes that represent multiple uses with multiple customer bases – think back to our beef jerky example. You’ve got moms, kids, travelers, hikers, bikers, all manner of different demographics and interests who would all love to know about your locally grown and dried jerky.

Each post you create will be tailored to your audience and have a slightly different take on why someone needs to stop by your store and stock up.

If you have an entire niche department, you can take that same strategy and expand on it. Let’s say you’ve got a great kitchen and home decor department. That department will be the hub of several blog posts, which can then be highlighted on your different social channels. Here’s a sample of the spokes of your home decor and kitchen department blog cluster.

  • 10 Design Tips to Update Your Kitchen Without a Remodel
  • Romantic Mountain Weekend Getaway Checklist
  • Family Mountain Weekend Getaway Checklist
  • Kitchen Guide for Fishermen
  • 10 Ways to Make Your Airbnb Cabin More Fun
  • Cabin Kitchen Must-Haves

You can then take all those posts and share them out on social media through your monthly or quarterly content plan. You are now repurposing multiple pieces of content across multiple platforms, which creates consistency and drives organic search results, organic engagement, and trustworthiness. You can start to measure which posts do best and which fall short of your goals. You can see what content gets the most engagement and social activity and create more similar content based on those results.

It’s not a race car, but this isn’t a finish line we’re trying to cross; it’s an ongoing project -just like your business itself – of fine-tuning how you tell the story of products you carry that no one else does and creating exposure for those things to set you apart and build your stores up as not just hardware stores, but as a place they trust to give them all the things they want and need from a hardware store, plus something unexpected.

If you’re curious about how you can adopt tips like these into your marketing efforts, click below to set up a meeting with Rand to chat about your marketing.

Jocelyn has been in the hardware retail business for over a decade, working with retailers from around the country on culture building, content creation, blog writing, website development, and overall marketing strategy. She has been working with Mojo since 2021.
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