For clothing boutiques, restaurants, coffee shops, florists, salons, bakeries and every other kind of business that thrives on foot traffic, one of the most invaluable benefits of social media is the immediate access it offers to customers.
With a little creativity and flexibility, you can use Facebook and Twitter to bring more customers through your doors every day. Elicit a direct response without taking the hit for printing and postage to send a mass mailing, and broadcast frequent, time-sensitive updates without spamming your customers’ e-mail inboxes.
Just remember, in a real-time world, timing is everything.
What’s for lunch?
It’s 11:00 a.m., and your customers are feeling the mid-morning lull. As breakfast fades into a distant memory, hunger begins to creep in.
It’s the perfect time to post an update with your daily specials. After an hour of dreaming about your rich, creamy pumpkin soup, it will be hard to think of another option.
I saw it on Twitter
Offer limited-time exclusive sales and discounts for fans and followers who mention your tweet or repeat a special promotional code at the check-out counter.
The new fish bowl
Everyone knows the fish bowl on the bar where you drop your business card for a chance to win a free lunch.
Create your own virtual fish bowl by picking up the tab for a randomly selected follower who retweets your daily specials or likes your latest update on Facebook.
What’s hot now?
Driving by a Krispy Kreme store, it’s all but impossible to resist the sirens’ song of the “Hot Now” sign.
The same concept applies in the virtual world. Got a batch of warm peach pies fresh out of the oven, ready and waiting for a scoop of vanilla ice cream? Post a tantalizing tweet and reap the benefits of the power of suggestion.
Be their social director
When mid-afternoon Friday rolls around, water cooler talk turns to weekend plans. Capture the after-work crowd by posting your happy hour special or open mic night.
Never find yourself under the weather
Don’t let the rain dampen your sales. When skies are grey and temperatures are falling, your customers might not be inclined to venture out into the elements. But what chilly cube-dweller could resist the allure of a perfectly brewed espresso?
No such thing as a slow night
Is business unusually slow on Saturday evening? Turn your night around by tweeting “Hungry? No wait tonight @CornerCafe.”
Got a few gaps in your appointment book? Fill those empty slots by offering a one-day 2-for-1 special.
What’s new and what’s now?
Post a photo and tell us why your hot new arrival is this season’s must-have.
Even customers who stopped in just last week will be tempted to come back and make sure they’re the first to be seen sporting the latest trend.
Answer a question before it’s asked
Your customers may not be thinking about their holiday plans just yet, but you are definitely thinking about your holiday bookings.
Create a sense of urgency by sending out a tweet like “Jingle bells will soon be ringing! Book your party now while reservations are still available!” to spur them to action today.
While you’re in the neighborhood
Is there a special event happening that will bring your customers to your area? Jump on the bandwagon by offering a promotional tie-in or themed refreshments that will entice them to stop by.
The race is on
Want a quick traffic boost? Offer a special freebie to the first few fans through the door who repeat a secret phrase.
Where everybody knows your name
Everyone likes to feel they’re part of the club. If you regularly post updates with photos of guests or shout-outs to loyal customers, others will be drawn in by the desire to get in on the action.
Don’t forget your manners
As nice as it is to hear the cash register ring, don’t use your social media megaphone exclusively for self-promotion.
To earn the lasting loyalty of your fans and followers, be sure to provide helpful, useful news, information and links, too, and keep them coming back for more.
1800 Camden Road
Charlotte, NC 28203