One of the biggest mistakes that small businesses make when using social media is bombard followers with an endless stream of advertising messages. Successful small businesses recognize that some of the traditional marketing tactics are not applicable to social media. Some argue that marketing in the social media era needs to be more customer-focused, more helpful, and less of a hard sell. This is typically referred to as inbound marketing and is often associated with the Cambridge-based marketing and software company, HubSpot.
I am not entirely sold on the HubSpot inbound marketing approach. Their assertion that “it’s all about creating marketing that people love” is a little to peppy for me. Nevertheless, one of the benefits of inbound marketing is that it forces marketers to think about the different stages of the customer journey map and recognize that your interactions need to be tailored accordingly. Many small businesses mistakenly view social media as free advertising and inundate followers with marketing content that tries to get them to make a decision right now.
Social media can be used at various different stages of the customer’s journey to generate awareness, get in the consideration set, and finally to close a sale at the decision stage. Small business with effective social media strategies recognize this and tailor their interactions with their online communities accordingly.
This blog will take a look at some of the best small businesses on your doorstep in the Greater Boston area that are using social media effectively.
Best Gourmet Grocery Store – Dave’s Fresh Pasta on Facebook (Somerville, MA)
Dave’s Fresh Pasta is a specialty grocery store in Davis Square, Somerville that offers wine, cheese, fresh produce and sandwiches. They also offer cooking classes and after-hours tasting events.
Needless to say, gourmet fresh food and wine makes for great content. Nevertheless, for a small store with a lot of part-time employees, Dave’s Fresh Pasta uses Facebook very effectively. It’s not a hard sell – they post about 4 or 5 tantalizing photos each day in a subtle way that sows a seed amongst their followers. They are very good at creating video content for Facebook – specializing in short but captivating clips of their staff preparing food. As you can see from the examples below – the personality and humor of their employees also comes across through the platform.
Best Bar/Gastropub – Deep Ellum on Facebook (Allston, MA)
Deep Ellum is a gastropub that specialize in craft beers, cocktails, and American comfort food.
A lot of bars in the Allston/Brighton area use Facebook like a noticeboard that is covered in cheap flyers (take a look at Cityside Bar for an example of what not to do). With almost 7,000 likes on Facebook and 20,000 people that have “checked in”, Deep Ellum is great example of a nearby bar that makes good use of social media. Fortunately, this Allston bar gets a lot of coverage in the local media, but they are very good at using Facebook to highlight their earned inbound links. They also write in a creative and conversational way that is consistent with their brand image.
Best Sandwich Shop – Cutty’s on Instagram (Brookline Village, MA)
Cutty’s is a 16-seat sandwich shop in Brookline Village that specialize in sandwiches and soups made from “local-farmed ingredients”. They are located about five minutes away from another sandwich shop called Michael’s Deli, which featured on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservation. While Michael’s may be picking up all the official accolades, Cutty’s is punching above their weight when it comes to social media, especially when it comes to Instagram.
Best Coffee Shop/Best Café – Paris Creperie on Yelp (Coolidge Corner, Brookline, MA)
Paris Creperie is a Parisian-style bistro that specialize in sweet and savory crêpes, smoothies and coffee. It can be very hard to get a seat in this busy Coolidge Corner spot, and if it is busy it can get a little bit hectic. It is not surprising that sometime customers head to Yelp to vent about their experience. The staff at Paris Creperie clearly monitor this platform closely and try to engage with disgruntled customers and win them back.
Let me know what places near Boston College you think do a good job on social media or what nearby places could do better!