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Facebook For Small Businesses

Archive for May, 2012

Facebook For Small Businesses

Posted on: May 23rd, 2012 by Access Computer Technology

Here’s a great post from Jason Mollica on the Social Fresh blog about how Facebook can help small businesses:

We’ve all heard that social media can help grow your business and brand, financially.

But say you are a Mom and Pop coffee shop in a small town.

Why would you want to use Facebook?

Why NOT?!
Small town businesses can use social media to grow their customer base. I work with these types of businesses and their owners often do not see the connection between social and more foot traffic.
Let’s be honest, there are still many businesses that recoil when they hear the words Facebook and Twitter.

These five tips can be effective when talking to any small business. What can social media do for them?

1. Helps a business re-think their marketing strategies

While advertising in a local newspaper is great, you are only reaching a small portion of your audience.
For example, you could spend upwards of $1,000 for just a half-page ad. Take the money you would spend in print and go global.
Granted small businesses may not have the money to hire a full-time social media manager. They could, however, be looking for a consultant to offer assistance.
Take Sweet Sixteen Cafe in Lockport, N.Y. They have a simple, but effective website and use their Facebook page to entice customers to come into the store.

2. Recommend a YouTube or Flickr page

I recently worked with a tourism group to allocate funds from unnecessary advertising into the purchase of a small HD video camera and a digital camera.
This allowed the group to take photos and video without spending thousands. It helped generate more business for the town and encouraged additional tourism dollars.
We established a YouTube page and will be putting more photos on Flickr. Giving potential visitors and customers an idea of who you are and what you stand for is key to personalizing the experience.
Who wouldn’t want to see a video of what your the area looks like during the holidays or showing a smiling customer enjoying something in your store?
If you keep at it, Youtube can also be a great search opportunity, helping potential customers find your business in a visual and engaging way.

3. Understanding the changing business climate can save money AND business

Not only do you need to understand what you are telling your clients, you need to understand their business.
We can tell prospective and current clients how the tools work, but if we don’t know how they will be effective for their business, what’s the point? In this economic climate, there is plenty of uncertainty.
We need to provide examples of certainty. The money saved now, can go a long way to turning a profit, as Lake Effect Ice Cream in Lockport, N.Y. has shown.

4. Give your business a personality

I have a small boutique inn as a client. You could read all the great amenities that they have on a website, but it has been Facebook that has allowed us to explain who they are and how they treat their customers.
Their followers regularly interact with them now, even telling them when they plan to come back. When a guest stays with them, they often mention how they feel part of the “Brookins experience” because of how the inn “talks” to them on Facebook. The return guest rate has gone up to nearly 95%.

5. Most importantly… it’s a perfect customer service tool

If that’s the one thing you can stress the most, do it. Businesses want to make sure their current customers are taken care of. Mom and Pop type-businesses aren’t any different. As a matter of fact, it probably means more.
Exceptional social media customer service, to go along with terrific in-person service, will go a long way to building social capital AND business success.
What are some tips you give small businesses for social success?

 Image source: BigStock.com Shopping carts and shoppers

Bringing In Customers With Foursquare

Posted on: May 14th, 2012 by Access Computer Technology

Foursquare, the location-based sharing application for smartphones, has broken out of early-adopter limbo and is beginning its gradual ascension into the mainstream. While offering incentives for repeat business may not sound like the newest idea on the block, the social sharing aspect of Foursquare, especially with its connections to Twitter and Facebook, make engagement with the service all the more encouraging. Phil Gerbyshak has an excellent article detailing some ways to essentially turn your customers into your own personal street-marketing team. If you’re unfamiliar with Foursquare, check out this video below. For the enlightened, hit the article after the jump.

Sound interesting, but don’t have the time to maintain the page? Give us a call at 248-535-7090, and let us do all the heavy lifting for you.

Foursquare: An Introduction

If your business has a physical location, you should click over to Foursquare.com and register. Do a search for the name of your business first, one of your customers may have already put it in the system. If so, on the right-hand side of the screen is a link for you to claim the business as the manager. Follow the instructions for claiming the venue.

When you are done Foursquare will mail you a window cling that you can put on your door or window to let your customers know that you are a Foursquare participating venue. But don’t stop there! You can get creative with more calls to action inside your business and through some staff training.

First, sign in to your Foursquare account and go to your venue.

Attract new customers

Click on “Manager Tools”, in the top-right corner, then “Start a Campaign at this Venue” (the big green button). On the next screen click the green button again to create your special. There are an assortment of choices, and this is where you can get creative:

  • Swarm Special Like, “If 30 people check in at once, get 25 cent wings”
  • Friends Special Like, “Check in with 3 friends and get a free dessert”
  • Flash Special Like, “The first 10 people that check in after 8pm get 25% off their order”
  • Newbie Special Like, “Get a free cupcake on your first check-in”
  • Check-in Special Like, “Get a free appetizer when you check in”

Reward existing customers

  • Loyalty Special Like, “Get a free cookie every 3rd check-in”
  • Mayor Special Like, “Mayor gets 20% off their entire bill”

Here are some more sample ideas:

Use the “Print Flyers” feature for your employees so that they can become familiar with the Specials, and what the smartphone screen should look like when a customer “unlocks” the special for redemption. You employees should be encouraged to spread the word about your Foursquare presence in their interactions with your customers. You can also print flyers to display for the customers, though they are not specific to the promotion that you are running. You will want to create your own.

Add the Specials to your collateral. Whether it is a restaurant menu, a brochure, or an ad on a map or in a newspaper (yes, newspaper advertising still works for small business in small towns) you should tell your customers that you are on Foursquare, at the very least. If you plan to have some long-term Specials, for Mayors or for Loyalty campaigns, you can keep these with your usual ad copy.

Cross-promotion on Twitter and Facebook. Share your “Attract New Customers” Specials on your other social media channels, especially if you can encourage people to share them with their friends. This can work particularly well with the Friends or Flash specials.

Hide “Easter Eggs” in your products or billing statements. Print out a mini-flyer describing your Foursquare specials and hide them inside books, packaging, or include them with correspondence to your customers. Remind them that when they visit your store they are eligible for special rewards when they Check In on Foursquare.

Introduce your customers to each other. Add a “Recent Foursquare Check-ins” feature to your e-mail newsletter (you do have a newsletter, don’t you?). On your “Manager Tools” page there is a list of Top and Most Recent Check-ins that you can copy-and-paste right into your newsletter – with links to those users’ profiles! (You will have to do a little editing…) Encourage your readers to connect with each other, and remember that you should be connecting with your customers as well.

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