Social Media. Web 2.0. Twitter. Facebook. Groupon. Nearly every local business owner has heard these same buzz words over and over. But what local businesses often struggle with is how to turn a buzz word into actual feet coming through the door and dollars going into the bank account. Can it help you? Isn’t this stuff just for the big guys? How would a small, local biz use it to their advantage?
Like that weird hologram guy from “I, Robot” used to always say: “That’s the right question.” Or something.
The bottom line is yes. YES! Social media can be huge for local businesses. I’ll show you one very cool example from Knoxville, TN to illustrate. There’s this guy named Stephan A Burroughs in town. He’s an injury attorney with billboards all over town….like everywhere. Each one has SAB sporting his best “smolder” and encourages passersby to call him for a consultation.
One very creative college student started a Facebook page celebrating SAB’s coolness. Basically people took turns making jokes about how amazing SAB is. For example, SAB has counted to infinity…twice. Just silliness right? Well SAB gets wind of it and starts contributing to the page. And suddenly the thing takes off….to the tune of 20,000+ followers in 3 weeks. SAB went all out and threw a huge party downtown for thousands of people and got a huge amount of free publicity in return.
Other smart businesses jumped on board to ride the same wave. Milestone Pictures, a local videography/photography company offered to take free pictures and produce a video of the event for free in order to get in front of the same crowd. It saved SAB a ton of money and MP got the same social benefit that SAB got. Pretty brilliant. (MP does amazing work, by the way, if you need any video or photography done.)
Can you imagine any other way that you could get 20,000 people to follow you in less than 3 weeks? That’s the power of social media.
Now, most businesses couldn’t pull that off. SAB benefited from a perfect storm. But the point is, he caught a wave, rode it, and benefited massively. He never would have been able to if he wasn’t already playing the social game.
So get out there. Get a Facebook page and start promoting it. Find creative and fun ways to get in front of people. They don’t want a commercial, but free advice is always welcome, or a coupon, or a funny story. Think socially and it WILL work for you.
Read more about the SAB saga here.