How to Use Social Media to Grow a Brick and Mortar Business…
Social media is all the rage these days. It seems like everywhere you turn you run into it. Sure it’s fine for web based businesses, but what if you own a real brick and mortar business? How can you use social media to bring in new or repeat business? What if you own a service business?
Pretty much any business that deals with people can use social media to help grow the business. Anything from a hair salon, to a lawn service, to a car dealership, to a fitness center.
Below I’ve listed out the steps that you need to accomplish to get started using social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to promote your business.
You should not use social media as a direct sales tool, but rather as a way to show appreciation of your customers and make them look good. Posting photos and videos of your satisfied customers and tagging them in the photos and videos will cause their friends to see and comment on their photos. In turn, this will bring awareness to your business.
- Get a Digital Camera.
- Cell phone cameras suck and should only be used if you have a really good one or can’t get a real camera.
- The camera you purchase does not have to be high dollar, a simple point and shoot digital camera is much better than a cell phone camera.
- Get a Flip Video Camera
- Flip video cameras are easy to use and come with software to easily edit and upload videos.
- Kodak makes a video camera like the flip that has an external mic jack (something very handy at times), look at the Kodak Zi8.
- Setup a Facebook account In Your Name
- Apply for a name for your account so it’s easier to tell people how to find you (example: www.facebook.com/FWBlack)
- Send friend requests to all your customers
- Have each employee do the same thing if possible (works well for hair stylists, salespersons, etc.)
- Setup a Facebook page for the business (used to be called a “fan” page, but now is a business or official page)
- Each employee sends a suggestion to their friends to “like” your business page.
- After 25 people have “liked” your page, apply for a name for your business page so that you can tell people to go to www.facebook/[business name] and they’ll be on the fan page (example: www.facebook.com/InternetBusinessBlog). You do this by going to: the “usernames for facebook pages” link on page where you edit your page.
- Put the facebook business fan account URL on everyone’s business cards along with their personal facebook account.
- Set up a twitter.com account for the business
- Connect the facebook fan page to the Twitter account so that updates to the facebook fan page are automatically sent to Twitter.
- Connect personal facebook pages to the Twitter account so that updates are automatically sent to Twitter.
- Get proficient, or have someone get proficient (more than one would be good) at taking a decent photo and video and uploading the photos to Facebook and Videos to either YouTube or Facebook.
- Start posting photos related to your business.
- For example, hairstylists could post before and after photos and videos of clients (it’s great if they say something nice about either the salon or the stylists) to the Facebook business fanpage account, stylist’s account, or both.
- Friend the customer if they have a facebook account
- Tag the person(s) in the photos if they have facebook accounts. Tagging the person in the photos and videos causing a message to show up on all their friend’s walls so that people will see the photo you’ve posted.
- Car dealers, boat dealers, motorcycle dealers, etc could post photos and videos of customers with their new cars.
- Repair or service technicians could post before and after photos and videos.
- Painters, lawn care, woodworkers, carpenters, etc should post photos and videos of their work, before and after photos, etc.
- Always get permission – don’t post a photo or video of a customer without asking them if it’s OK!
- Have the employees tell people to become fans (click “like”) of the business account because you’ll post special promotions and announcements (and then do so).
- Start collecting email addresses of customers and prospective customers if you don’t already do so. Mail special promotions and announcements to this list as well as posting on Facebook and Twitter.
Until next time,
P.S. Obviously these same techniques can be used for an online business too!