Using Social Media to Drive Offline Behavior

This Local Color video, featuring creative small businesses around the globe, is part of a marketing series sponsored by HP

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, social media tools are killer for the small local business trying to drive people offline and into their businesses and to build deeper relationships with existing local customers.

For this episode of Local Color I met Scotty Wise an Indiana restaurateur and owner of Scotty’s Brewhouse that is has his business booming through the use of social media. The key in his case, and I think for any local business, is to move beyond simply building a Facebook page or Twitter feed and to look for ways to deeply integrate social media into everything you are doing.

In the case of Scotty’s Brewhouse, not only do they Tweet and use Facebook, they sponsor events that involve social media, use Foursquare to reward frequent customers and even built iPads into the booths at their newest store to allow existing customers to interact in deeper ways, connect on Twitter, sign up for their eclub and what videos of their meals being prepared. There’s even a Scotty’s iPhone app so you can order ahead, get coupons and learn about special events.

Think about how you can embed social media into every interaction and the ROI will skyrocket.

Purpose as Brand

There was a time when I mentioned the word brand to small business and they would shrug their shoulders at the idea. We don’t have a brand, that’s big company we stuff. We have a business and we busy ourselves trying to build some name recognition, sure, but we don’t really worry much about branding.

small business culture

Image Infusionsoft via flickr

I suppose with the advent of social media small businesses have come to realize they do indeed have a brand – it’s not that anything has really changed – it’s that it has become much easier to hear it. The days when the collective perception around a brand was kept to the neighborly chat across the fence have given way to mentions that can be tracked, filtered, scored and aggregated to create a very vivid picture of the existence of a brand. Even the smallest of companies can now turn to Twitter, for instance, and turn up mentions and conversations about their brand from prospects, customers, competitors and journalists alike, all in real time.

This fact, combined with our market’s ability to freely publish and distribute content, comments, ratings and reviews, both good and bad, about any product or service they like, has given new life, meaning and importance to this word brand for businesses both large and small.

The 4-Hour Entrepreneurial Body

Marketing podcast with Tim Ferriss (Click to play or right click and "Save As" to download - Subscribe now via iTunes or subscribe via other RSS device (Google Listen) This time of year the Internet, media and bookstores are filled…

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How and Why I Still Devour Blogs

2011 marks my eighth year of blogging. In that time I’ve logged over 2500 blog posts, acquired around 143,000 subscribers and had this blog named by the likes of Forbes magazine as their favorite for both marketing and small business.

reading blogs

Image alui0000 via flickr

If this asset has delivered any measure of success I can tell you that the primary reason is that in that same time I’ve also read some or all of approximately 120,000 blog posts written by others.

I’ve stated repeatedly that anyone that wants to start a blog, get better at blogging or make their blog a serious marketing tool for their business must first and foremost get very good at reading blogs.

Why I devour blogs

Learn how to blog – Any writing course you’ll ever take will tell you that great writers read a ton. Reading how others blog, what they blog about and even how they interact with their community is an essential step for anyone that is serious about using this tool. I get countless ideas for ways to say things and cover ideas that might never bubble up without reading other blogs. I get ideas for what software to use, what plugins work well and how to promote and display content in ways that make it more valuable to readers.