Posted on May 15th, 2010
So long as smart-phones remain all the rage, small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) will need social media marketing. Consider this scenario: It’s morning. I’m at work. I’m thinking pizza for lunch. Then my phone starts buzzing. ABC sandwich shop (fictional) down the street, with whom I’m Facebook friends, just posted something about “Better-in-Two’s” lunch special – if I bring a friend, we both eat for half-price.
Of course, I’m won over by the promotion, if nothing else than for the exclusivity: it’s only for FB “friends,” no one else. Well, don’t I feel special. I also admire the shop owner, who’s shown him or herself to be creative, generous and considerate, i.e., since the post arrived at 10 a.m., I still have a few hours to make a date or rearrange my lunch plans. Folks, there’s no other media on the planet that can do this. TV and radio spots are too hit-or-miss, brochures are too disposable, direct mailers are so very yesterday’s new. Plus, print and broadcast ads cost mucho dinero to produce and distribute. But with social media, the promotion goes right to my pocket. And it costs the owner nothing more than the time to think, write and post.
One real-world example I like is a small sandwich chain in Dallas called Breadwinners. I like how devoted they are to ‘wich foodies. Articles, promotions, pictures, Twitter updates, acknowledgments. They also link with yelp.com, which boosts their site traffic even more. The Breadwinner fan page even has these cool little customer experience write-ups. This past week it was “Cushy for your Tushy,” explaining in a few short graphs why chair padding is better than no-padding. It’s an endearing touch. Very nice. The Breadwinners page is very popular with more than 1,000 friends. That means more than 1,000 people receiving new updates and offerings via cell phone. Are you hearing me, small business owner?
Here are some other strategies that seem to be working for these small businesses, each of which have figured out creative ways to keep their audience engaged.
Obscure Observances. You know the token calendar days. But what about Geek Pride Day, Bloomsday, or even International No-Diet Day? (See the full list). Plano-based spa boutique Spa Habitat offers a “Happy Earth Day!” promotion, $49 massages and facials on select days, in connection with Earth Month every April. Celebrate earth, indeed, with some rejuvenating mud caked around your face and cucumbers for your tired eyes. Who could resist?
Make It Fun. The fashionistas over at Michelle Patrick Salons in Dallas certainly get snaps for originality and energy. Their fan page includes crazy photos, style sightings, calls for new talent, and some pretty risque yet playful discussion topics. Made you blush. Hey, it’s all in good fun.
Go Local. If you’ve ever told a comic book fan to “get a life,” then you haven’t seen Lone Star Comics’ fan page. This Dallas-Fort Worth book and games store is the city’s oldest and operates seven local stores, each with their own fan page. And each page is a friggin PARTY: Tournaments, costume events, pizza parties, launch parties, game night, game day, warehouse sales, stuff for kids, stuff for adults. Lone Star’s owners post often, almost daily – cool trivia, fun quotes, recent news. Excellent job. Or should I say…Excelsior!