Like Me, Follow Me: Using Social Media to Boost Sales

by Kari Guddeck @ Barista Pro Shop

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According to Facebook, there are over 500 million active users of its site and the average user is connected to 80 pages, groups, and events. That's a lot of people finding and managing connections to their favorite businesses, groups, etc online….and that only represents one social media site. The options for your online presence are numerous. Facebook and Twitter usually come to mind first, but many businesses/owners also have success using sites like YouTube and LinkedIn. If your business hasn't already taken the social media plunge, now is the time to think about becoming one of your customer's 80 'likes'. Here are a few suggestions to get you started…from there, your online possibilities are endless!

Add a personal touch. In a fast paced world that increasingly revolves around the internet, it's even more important to find ways to connect on a personal level. There was a time when it would have seemed contradictory to view the internet and personal connections as compatible (how can you have a personal connection when the other individual is sitting in front of a computer screen 20 miles away?!?), but today the two are entwined and their inseparable nature is fast becoming a societal norm.

Don't let that discourage you. This trend can actually benefit you as a business owner. Create a profile on your social media site of choice that reflects the personality of your business. Use your real name and add pictures and/or short videos of you and your employees (tasteful pics/vids, of course ;). You only have a few minutes to establish a relationship with a customer when in the midst of making them a latté and breakfast burrito, so make your online profile and posts (tweets, etc.) count! We're all still looking for personal connections and a genuine story; don't be afraid to tell it:

Obviously, you have to retain tact when publicly posting anything, but don't forget to let a little personality and humor shine.

FREE marketing. Social media offers the unique opportunity of free advertisement. Not only will your followers, 'likers', and friends have regular contact with you; their connections will/can as well. Take Facebook, for example. If someone 'likes' you, that action will appear in their friends' News Feed also:

Kari likes Vosges Haut-Chocolat (Food and Beverage)

You can utilize this concept even more effectively if your posts are interesting and engaging. The more people interact with you, the more you will pop up in News Feeds. Be consistent with posting, check your page frequently, and respond to comments quickly.

Build a faithful following. There are many ways to do this, the first steps are mentioned above. Next, keep your followers up to date on signature drink specials, changes in hours, special events, awesome new coffees/food items, etc:

Another great trend for building loyalty is the daily/weekly/random Twitter or Facebook special:

Make it known. Already have a blog or website? Link it to your social media pages. Don't have an online presence yet? No worries! Put it on your menu board, add it to your business and frequent buyer cards, make sure to tell your baristas to mention it to customers, and add it to your email signature.

Have fun and keep it real. If you're new to the social media scene, you might want to start with one and master it before tackling another (Facebook tends to be a good place to start). Remember that you can link many social media sites together , which can help cut down on the time you spend posting/tweeting/etc. Again, let your followers have a glimpse into the true personality of your business to help foster a loyal relationship. After that, get creative with it! The web can truly be your oyster.

Note: Names and posts have been changed from their original format.

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