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How can offline businesses prosper from social networking?

Discussion in 'Social Networking Sites' started by chobo, Jan 14, 2010.

  1. chobo

    chobo Regular Member

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    Now, I know that us, BH IM'ers can easily utilize social networking to our advantage by hitting people with affiliate offers.

    But recently, I've been scoping out and about, I've noticed local stores, car dealers and random stuff -

    They are looking for 'internet' specialist or sorts who are well versed in youtube, twitter, facebook and etc.

    But it doesn't really dawn to me, how the hell can they utilize it ? They dont have aff offers, people don't really do a local search to find their business anways. So what kind of targetted traffic is that? Unless I'm missing something here. I'm just not seeing it. Are these local businesses just trying to 'adapt'? ha.


    Care to discuss?
     
  2. khirad

    khirad BANNED BANNED

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    It can i can give you a successful model applied in UK and the services i offered based on their experience

    That UK company was selling Ice creams they offered free coupons every night on their facebook page and they said that their sales increased by 400% I read this on Randi Zikerberg Page so I thought i can do a lot with this if i offer my services for this

    I went to one of my friend who has opened a fast food resturent in my city aqnd offered him my services ( i just wanted to test if it becomes successful) I send messages facebook users of my City inviting them to Restaurant opening Party with 40% discount if they bring coupon and will you believe this that all the tables were booked on 40% discount
     
  3. stressfree

    stressfree Senior Member

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    This is the thing with offline biz. Most can't really benefit from the Net. sure a first page in google and adwords might help a bit but even for some cpompanies this as no effect. As for Social marekting, articles, videos....I see no benefit at all for SOME offline businesses. YET you have the offliners pushing everything at them. I do not get it.

    Is it just me, or as anyone else never searched for a restaurant through the S.E's? Sorry offliners I have never nor would I do a search for a restaurant online. Same goes for many other businesses. Some do lend them-selves great for the Net. Financial industry, health, hotels, etc...but some wil lget next to no benefit from the Net.
     
  4. kobees home

    kobees home Registered Member

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    you must eat the same stuff all the time, all most all offline businesses can be helped by having a good online presence ... There's so much more to offer than just a website or seo services. Theres directory placement and everything else ... Look up how many times restaurant in your local city is search on a monthly basis and you'll know the importance of internet marketing for an offline business ...
     
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    Last edited: Jan 15, 2010
  5. Troon

    Troon Newbie

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    Most can't really benefit form the NET! You're kidding, right. Here's how a local pizza shop is using Twitter. They have almost 7,000 followers. Do you think it might bump his biz a little when he Tweets a pizza special or coupon?

    http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/04/24/a-sign-of-things-to-come-naked-pizza-erects-twitter-billboard/

    Come on, social media is becoming the lifeblood for local businesses. Do you still use the Yellow Pages? When my wife and I go out to eat we always go online and look for coupons. Who doesn't want to save money in this economy?

    And let's not forget about Google Maps. I work with local businesses every day to optimize their Google map listings. The result? It makes their phone ring and they think I some sort of marketing genius!
     
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  6. crunch

    crunch Junior Member

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    how do you do that? or is it a trade secret :)
     
  7. jojoblu

    jojoblu Newbie

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    that's what i do too - but please do not tell anyone else - and keep the landmines hidden -- i too can be bought but that is not what i am trying to do -
     
  8. non-prophet

    non-prophet Regular Member

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    I just had my yellow pages delivered last week... it's still sitting on the porch. I moved to a new nighbourhood a few months ago. There's such a wealth of restaurants and cafe's around here, i search online every time I leave the house.
     
  9. grafxextreme

    grafxextreme Regular Member

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    chobo: You're not missing out on anything. I've been working with small business owners for a little more than a quarter of a century. I was one the first one to bring not only my consulting firm but also my clients to the Internet. Back in the days before the Internet when all we had was Bulletin Board Services.

    I've seen a lot of fads come and go. A lot of "search engines" come and go. But it comes down to having a good website and knowing how to utilize it. National social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Friends, etc... don't work for local businesses. It's a waste of time and money for them. Sounds good but it really doesn't do a local business any good.

    Think of it this way, have you ever heard a radio commercial that ended with something stupid like, "See us in the yellow pages."

    How stupid is that?

    You just paid $2000 to have your ads running on the radio and then you direct your listeners to go to the yellow pages where your competitors are?

    Doesn't make sense right?

    If you're going to invest money in promoting your business then have them go to your business not some place else. Why waste their money on build Twitter or Facebook? You're just building another Google who will treat you like crap later.

    Khirad: Sounds good in theory. Randi was probably selling a facebook or seo service -- this sounded a little self-serving to me. I'd like to see the numbers on that. They were making the same claims for the Ford Modeling company and YouTube. However, no one could provide the numbers to prove that the increase in business was only due to YouTube. Sure they got lots of "branding" but where are the numbers to prove this branding effort translated into profits?

    Stressfree: I would disagree that small businesses can't benefit from the Net. They can the problem is that they don't know how and most of the "experts" don't know either. All they're intent on doing is making a quick buck. My consulting firm builds websites for our clients which produce results for our clients. We use the websites to drive traffic to the business which translate into quantifiable profits.

    Web designers are great an creating "pretty" websites. However they're not marketers. SEO experts may drive traffic to a website but if that traffic isn't translating into profits then they're wasting the small business owners money.

    My consulting firm works with florists, shoe stores, dry cleaners, restaurants, tanning salons, gyms, auto dealers and a host of other small businesses. It can be successfully and profitably done. The trouble is that most of the "gurus" and "experts" don't know how. They're selling the business owner a prop gun when they're promising them a machine gun.

    I use the Internet quite extensively and I look up numbers and addresses of businesses that I know. National search engines and directories are pretty useless when it comes to providing me with information on which stores sell Nike shoes and what restaurant has prime rib. However, that doesn't mean it can't be done. My firm does it. It just means that it's not being done.

    Troon: Unfortunately, another misguided business. They spend all that money to promote Twitter? They should have invested it to promote themselves. Seven thousand followers does not translate into profits. Imagine, if they had invested that same money to promote their business and captured those followers for themselves.

    Social media is not becoming the life blood of small business owners. Most have no clue what it is or how it works. It is the current fad of marketing gurus who are selling worthless courses to those who don't know the course is worthless. Friends was also a popular social site a few years ago. Squiddo and a few others have all started to fade away. They have their followers but they're not growing like they did when they first started.

    I'm sure that Facebook and Twitter will be fading away in a few years. Then what happens to the clients investment? They go back to the "guru" business model and re-invent the wheel on the newest fad.

    ========

    I actually agree with your points to some extent but it's important to see the other side. To realize there's more to selling to offline business. If you're just in it for the "quick buck" then good luck to you. If you're in it for the long term -- then this business can be very good to you.

    Think about it,
    Talk to you soon....
     
  10. dayatech

    dayatech Junior Member

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    • Exciting and high-quality online presence: Once you have created profiles on the various social media websites, you need to update them on a regular basis. You should pay close attention to comments from your customers so that you can respond to them, publish new and interesting content, and continue to form new relationships and maintain existing ones. The more you update the status of your different social media, the stronger your business's reputation will be.
    • Get the whole company involved: If you have a staff, allow them a certain amount of time during their workday to post updates on your business's social media websites. This is an excellent morale booster and your staff's involvement will strengthen your marketing effort and increase your business's online exposure.
    • Social integration: Ask people to "like" your offline business on Facebook and follow your offline business on Twitter. You can then promote the social integration on your business receipts, signs and invoices so that your existing customers will want to jump on the social media train as well. You can also ask your customers to check in to Foursquare or one of the other geolocation applications once they arrive in the genral proximety of your store offering them special promotions enticing them come in.
    • Scope out the competition: Depending on what sort of business you have, you may or may not be heavily involved with social media. Always remember to stay on top of what your competition is doing by reading everything that they post. Remember that you and the other businesses are always fighting to stay on top.
    • Strengthen the sense of community: the relationship that you should have with your customers, whether the relationship is online or offline is one that makes them feel like they are family (or, at the very least, very close friends). The way to achieve this is by having live events at your store as well as events online. You can promote your community and your business at the same time and people will begin to feel as though they belong at your store and that you want them to be there.
    • Don't do too much and become overwhelmed: If you don't have any help in managing your social media platforms and you try to do it all by yourself, you may find that you aren't doing it well. Be selective in your choice of social media channels and make sure that you go for quality over quantity.
    • Guard your business's reputation: Are you aware of what your existing customers and potential customers are saying about your business, products and services and brand? Pay special attention to the comments that people are posting online. It is also a good idea to set up Google alerts and to immediately handle issues as they occur. This is your chance to show people how much you care about them. Help them to solve their problems and address whatever concerns they have.
    • Exercise patience: Remember that it takes time to see significant results with social media when it comes to the success of your business. Always remember that your hard work will definitely pay off and the more relationships you build and the more you interact with others, the more interested other people will be in connecting with you again and again.
    • Reciprocate: When you post content online and you receive comments, not only is it important to respond to the comments but it is also a great idea to share other people's posts if they hold value for your connections. After all, the idea is to enhance the experience of your online connections.
    • Giveaways: You can use social media to give away free products from your store. There is a guarantee that that will attract attention and people will want to interact with you and will want to be the first to know when you introduce new products and services.
     
  11. Windmill

    Windmill Supreme Member

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    Well it depends on the business and the social media network you're utilizing.

    Youtube is great for small businesses. Produce videos that appeal to peoples needs. E.g. a car dealer might do a video on tips for purchasing cars or on tips for looking after cars, etc. Do some keyword research (there are tools for youtube, but they do suck) and then create a video campaign around there. People click on the videos, get the help and get advertised to in the process.

    For Facebook/Twitter, these tend to be best with repeat customers. Its not used for drawing in new customers, but in retaining them. Make a nice facebook page, create incentives for people to come back (e.g. offer coupons), reply to customers, encourage discussion etc.

    In truth I'll happily sell it to businesses, but never is the best of all spirits. A lot of local businesses just don't get any benefit out of social networks.

    On the other hand, some benefit from it better than others. A popular, chique bakery benefits from a facebook page a lot more than SEO. In many cities and towns people don't search for local bakeries. But loyal customers will join the page and spread it amoungst their friends. Just create incentives for them to :)

    Now I'm going to post the obligatory pirate smiley :pirate: