There is no doubt that social media is here to stay. It’s become a pervasive and integral part of our media landscape. Social media helps us to stay in touch with friends, family and business contacts. It can also help us to reconnect with long lost friends and classmates from our distant past. It can help us to stay up to date with our favorite artists, bands and musicians, and even stay connected with restaurants and businesses that we like. Social media is not limited to the individual, either; even The National Archives have a Tumblr account, NPR and The Today Show have Pinterest accounts!
The Social Media
Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Flickr, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn, Foursquare, and about a million other platforms allow their users to easily stay connected in a variety of ways.
The main goal of social media is communication between users. It is also being used increasingly and effectively by small businesses, allowing them to communicate with customers and potential customers about their product or service.
There are a vast number of ways that small businesses can use social media to effectively promote their business. Each social media outlet has different features and focal points that can allow for different types of business promotion for each social media vehicle.
Social media is being used increasingly in restaurant promotion. Food Service Warehouse recently published an article with a detailed guide about how restaurants can maximize their usage of social media in promoting their restaurants. The article pointed out that social media could help to create a “buzz” around the restaurant, sparking interest that may not have been there before.
Some restaurants even have Facebook and Twitter parties, inviting their followers for special deals and discounts. It is also becoming quite common for restaurants to offer a coupon for a free appetizer or other discount if people “Like” them on Facebook.
Another popular way to stay connected is to get to know your fans’ and followers’ birthdays, and be sure to wish them a happy birthday by sending a coupon for a free treat. People love feeling acknowledged on their birthdays!
Customers enjoy using social media as a factor in their restaurant selection and shopping decisions, because they know there will be less bias in the comments, reviews and information displayed on the social media outlet.
What to do?
The most important and foundational aspect of social media marketing is to build a solid and positive relationship with your followers. That is the core element of success in making social media work for your business. Without it, everything else will fall flat.
Some of the best ways to do this are to allow your business followers to post on your Facebook wall, and then actively comment on their posts. Keep the conversation going!
This can go a long way in building rapport with your fans, and they will feel genuinely connected with you and your business. That can also be done on Twitter be retweeting your followers’ stories, and actively commenting on them.
These are just some of the ways that you can use social media to increase goodwill and positive feelings for business, and grow your customer base.
Ultimately, social media is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to increase your sales and profits, and that’s something that every business can get on board with!
Title Image Courtesy: Frank Da Silva