Many big brands are still wrestling to quantify and measure the success of social media and how it contributes to their marketing activities however some of the best examples come from smaller, local brands.
Some of the best implementation of social media strategy I have seen comes from local small businesses that have taken advantage of their connection and passion for their product, customers and local community to roll out a social media strategy that delivers real business results.
After hearing several recommendations from friends in the community such as Satish Kanwar, Verne Ho and Aidan Nulman I decided to pull together a list to see how these small businesses approach their social media strategy.
Freshii, formerly known as the Lettuce Eatery, is a North American franchise with a location in Toronto can be found on Spadina and Richmond. They specialise in fresh, fast and custom meals and snacks served with an emphasis on healthy, fresh and creating a waste free environment. Their menu consists of salads, soups, bowls, burritos, wraps and even breakfast. They aren’t just on this list for their social media presence; they have really developed a great brand experience which has created many passionate lunch time fans that pack their Spadina location daily.
They can be found on Twitter under @freshii and they use it as a great tool to speak directly from the kitchen. They frequently surprise customers with free food, promote exclusive Twitter only deals and tips on healthy living from CEO and founder Matthew Corrin.
Freshii uses social media as a part of their strategy of reaching out to their customers by extending the experience past the 30 min lunch hour, getting them involved and retaining and leveraging relationships with existing customers.
Pusateri Fruit Market
Pusateri’s is a grocery and fruit market on Church and Wellesley and has been around since the 1960s and is run by Tony Cerminara and Frank Mangione. They personally stop by the market every morning to pick up the best fresh produce and are frequently featured as one of the top fresh fruit markets in Toronto.
They use twitter as a way of sharing their knowledge and love of food, to connect and promote others in the food and grocery community, updates on upcoming promotions in the store and reaching out to their community.
The Darkhorse has only been around for a few months but have already embraced Twitter and the community around them in the beautiful Robertson Building including the Centre for Social Innovation above them.
The the Darkhorse is an espresso bar near Spadina and Queen in the heart of Toronto’s creative district that specialises in rich espresso, fresh roasted coffees and delicious baked goods. The first thing you notice when walking in is the community feel of the large shared tables in the beautiful building and they try to facilitate the same atmosphere online.
Donnie Claudino of Techsoup Canada, who is a resident of the Centre for Social Innovation, encouraged them to join Twitter after showing the owner a log of all the conversation and meetups in and around their cafe already taking place online.
The first thing that stands out is that they really bring out the passion of their craft and their community. They use twitter to notify their followers of any fresh baked goods, new shipments of coffee and events in the community happening in and around their neighbourhood.
An important consideration even with social media is to keep it relevant and pertinent to the people in your community. As a small local business you don’t need to connect with the world wide community rather use it as a tool to map out the conversations happening in and around your community.
A great tool for finding people in and around you is Twitter Local
The main reason why I selected these three businesses over many others was that I felt they communicated what I believe to be the key aspect of small businesses, the passion and craft of the entrepreneurs.
Social media for small business is not just about driving sales. The reason customers buy from their local coffee shop over a Starbucks is the quality and culture, social media is a great way of sharing that expertise that might not be revealed in a early morning or lunch time rush lineup.
Online networking tools such as Twitter can be a great customer relationship tool to retain communications with that customer that drops by once for the first time, the person that picks up their signature order every morning at 8 am without fail or the person that had their order mixed up. When used as a communication tool in conjuction with on premise strategy, small businesses can extend that few minute daily face-to-face time to build relationships and reach out to more loyal customers.
As great as chatting with customers all day on Twitter might be for large brands that can hire a whole social media divison, for a small business, if they are going to invest their time on anything that deviates from face-time with their clients it better bring in the revenue.
The key success measure of social media campaigns is the conversion from online to offline. Whether it is inviting your customers with an alert of fresh baked brownies, a daily twitter only deal or in store promotions, action, is an essential part of creating the value proposition for customers to follow you and to deliver a return on the investment.
What is your social media strategy in your business and what local small businesses do you look up to?
Thanks to Donnie Claudino, Verne Ho, Satish Kanwar, Antonino Cerminara and Aidan Nulman.
Photo credits, Blog TO, Freshii, Matthew Burpee
NOTE: This entry is republished from my blog post on DanielPatricio.com