Think social media is a waste of time? Don’t see the benefit of incorporating social media into your marketing strategy? By the design or default, social media is impacting your business whether you realize it or not.
Take the Donut Drive-In for example. Founded nearly 60 years ago alongside one of the most famous and busiest roads in America, Route 66, its owners refuse to embrace the Internet much less social media. In fact, they don’t even have a web site. But they can’t deny the impact social media is having on their business. The Donut Drive-In continues to attract new generations of customers in-part because of the social media phenomenon. Car loads of young tourists snap photos in front of the famous eatery sign which they post on their favorite social media sites to show they’ve been to the Donut Drive-In.
While the Donut Drive-In is passively benefitting from social media, in contrast, Dale Schotte,co- owner of Park Avenue Coffee, is actively leveraging social media as a primary marketing tool. The coffee house owners created a Facebook page and they have a Twitter profile. When George Clooney was recently in their town shooting a movie, Schotte issued a challenge via social media offering free coffee for life to anyone who could get the famous actor into the shop for a quick photo opportunity. Clooney never made it, but the social media campaign not only attracted new customers, it also caught the attention of the local media as well.
“Basically one Twitter post got us the front page of the newspaper and three radio spots, all for free,” Schotte explains.
Sweat Gym uses Twitter and Facebook to market to new and existing customers. Co-owner Jamie Mushlin says when clients started suggesting to their friends to try a certain class at the gym, the results were significant. “We were hitting a lot more people than if we just did a magazine ad,” she notes.
So you can design a social media strategy for your business or allow it to happen by default, but you can’t deny the impact this new media is having on small businesses everywhere.