Local Business Owners: This Facebook Marketing Strategy Is For You!
Sometimes I think I know what engages our customers, and then, oops, maybe not.
I’ve been doing the Facebook Page for my parents’ restaurant, the Original Hotcake House, on a regular basis since September 2009. Our fan base has continually grown without us doing any great measures to encourage it. We don’t do coupons, contests, or anything else to gain likes. We don’t have a landing page and we don’t do any giveaways.
I don’t post at any particular time of the day and I don’t do scheduled posts, for no reason other than I feel it is too automated and not personalized or social enough.
It would be great to do all of the above, don’t get me wrong, but we just haven’t taken it to that level yet, and my dad has been happy with the growth of our fan page.
I on the other hand, I always want more! More. More. More. More likes. More action. More engagement. I want to hit the 10,000 mark! But it’s not up to me. So I’m limited in what I can do. And, every now and then, I’m surprised by what does gain engagement with our fans, even without contests, giveaways, etc.
For example, the eve of Father’s Day, I just happened to post a photo of my dad with his back to the camera, with him wearing one of our Hotcake House t-shirts which have our famous nostalgic neon sign on the back of them. (Our sign is a landmark in the city of Portland,
There was nothing special about the photo. It was just a photo. We were at the tire store, and my dad was standing at the counter with his back to me. I saw that he was wearing a Hotcake House t-shirt, so I took a picture of him.
As I was taking the picture, I knew the purpose was to post it on our Facebook Page, but what I didn’t know is that it would be the most viewed post our Facebook Page has ever seen!
We had 2686 views, 31 likes, 299 engaged users, and 19 comments. This is a lot for us.
The only words I put with the photo were: “Who do you think this is?”
The comments we received were whacky and funny! Many thought that he was a celebrity (we do get celebs in the restaurants), while others said the more obvious comments like “someone with a flat tire”, “someone wearing a Hotcake House t-shirt”.
The moral of this story is: This photo, of a mysterious someone’s back wearing the Hotcake House t-shirt, ended up receiving the most views EVER of anything I have posted!
But there’s one more caveat to this story…
The very next day, which coincidentally happened to be Father’s Day, was the day with the MOST sales ever generated in the entire 35 years that my parents have owned the restaurant?!!!
As I said earlier, social media can be tricky to track and measure. But what do you think? Simply coincidence or does social media get some credit where credit might be due?
My dad firmly believes that the heightened activity on our Facebook Page, due to the photo, indeed played a part in generating the highest revenue day the restaurant has ever seen.
Facebook Marketing Tips
First and foremost, don’t ever underestimate the power of Facebook. Secondly, don’t ever think that you always know what type of posts your customers/fans are going to engage with. Over the past few years, I’ve failed at both of these. But, I always learn at the same time. I’ve learned to always, always, always try something new and different.
This particular post was a huge success in more ways than one. It definitely engaged our fans. In addition, it appears to have had an impact on the bottom dollar for sales that day. And, as a business, whether it’s a brick and mortar or online, your bottom dollar is what you’re always chasing.
Brick and mortars, if you do not have a Facebook Page, I encourage you to seriously consider adding it to your marketing strategies. I especially encourage you if you’re a service-oriented business – and I double and triple encourage you if your customers are of the age that they are using social media.