Some of you may remember that this summer I held some live presentations on social media marketing locally. I’ve been to a lot of presentations, and I’ve conducted a lot of presentations, and I want to talk about this for a quick minute.

One thing I have against some presentations is that when they’re over you’re sitting there wondering if you actually learned something you can use. This seems to happen often, unfortunately. I remember going to a sales presentation in the spring where I knew the guy who was giving the presentation. I had heard him present for 30 minutes one time and I loved hearing him talk. So I had high hopes, since this presentation was going to be for about 4 hours or so, including breaks.

What a major disappointment. The headlines said we were going to learn sales techniques we could use in our business; as a matter of fact, 5 of them. Instead, it was a presentation on sales motivation and 5 reasons why we needed to get over our reticence to sell. Now, if that had been the topic, or what the description of the program was, then I wouldn’t have minded so much. But that’s not what I was expecting, nor was anyone else. So, it fell flat, even though I still enjoyed hearing the guy talk at times.

Forward to me. When I gave my social media presentation this summer, I gave tips on how small businesses could actually use some of the social media things I was talking about. Sure, I spent some time on building up what social media was, and talking about success stories. I had to do that because I knew some people had no real clue what social media was all about and were hoping to learn something about it. So, I had the presentation scripted, and you can see my description of the outline of my presentation if you’re up for it.

Anyway, forward to the main topic of this post. This is a legitimate tip that a small business can use as it applies to social media. Here’s the caveat; it’s mainly for brick and mortar businesses. For instance, if you owned a pizza or coffee shop, this is a great tip. However, there might be some online businesses who can think of a way to use this tip to their advantage also.

Whether you’re a new or existing business, you can start generating some business by starting with two things; creating an account on Twitter and creating an account on Four Square. For those who don’t know, Four Square is a location-based site where people get to tell their friends where they are via an online service. It’s where Facebook and Twitter got the idea from. The people who created Four Square actually studied locally at Syracuse University, so it’s very popular here, and it’s actually a test market for lots of things.

Back to the tip. You register your business on Four Square because it gives you the opportunity to set up specials through the site so that if people come to your location and go online to indicate to others they’re at your location, they can earn prizes or specials that you’re going to offer them. You can have small prizes for first time visitors, such as 50% off a drink, and bigger prizes for people who become “mayors” of your location, which means you’re a frequent flyer. The thing is, people would only earn these things if they went onto Four Square and mentioned you, and they’d see the offers through the site.

Now, you have a Twitter account for many reasons. One, as a business you can mention that you’re registered on Four Square and offer special deals for visitors. If you get followers, you might have your messages retweeted multiple times, which is a great way to gain both customers and publicity. And young people especially are drawn to businesses that show they’re somewhat tech savvy.

This works very well, by the way. It was actually proven by a local small vegan restaurant/coffee shop. They did exactly these steps, and within 3 weeks or so they started seeing a higher influx of customers than most new businesses would. I mean, a vegan restaurant yet; not my cup or tea. Yet they do a thriving business, and their name is always being tweeted and retweeted locally. One thing they do that’s slightly different now is they give a discount to everyone who mentions them on Four Square while at the restaurant and proves it. They have enough business to cover that discount whenever they get it.

And there you go; a legitimate tip on how to get new customers to your business and keep them coming. Can you figure out a way to use this tip for your business if it’s not a brick and mortar? Maybe; if you do, please feel free to share with us. And don’t say I never tried to teach you anything! 😉


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