Set up your social media with memorable vanity links so when you share them offline, customers can find you easily. This way, when you put your Facebook symbol in your ad, customers can find you easily on Facebook (or Twitter or Foursquare, etc). Getting a vanity URL on Facebook is easy. You request a vanity URL and, unless someone is already using that name, it’s yours. It’s a good idea to claim your vanity URL even if you’re not ready to launch your Facebook page yet — so someone else doesn’t claim it first.
Now you can put your Facebook logo (plus Twitter, Google+, etc) on everything from advertising to stationary to business cards. With so many smart phones, it’s also a good idea to use QR codes — those funny boxes composed of black and white elements. These connect your print ads to everything from your website, to your social media, coupons, to specific information. Now, you can even get QR codes in the shape of your logo — like a Coke bottle — to further connect your branding with your digital presence.
Make it easy
You can also put Facebook symbols around the store and encourage folks to fan you. However, you’ll probably need to give customers a reason. One local business we visited gave customers a coupon to use on their next visit if they promised to LIKE the company on Facebook. Now, you can argue that not everyone who gets a coupon will go to Facebook and LIKE you. But, the law of reciprocity suggests many of them will. It’s a tit-for-tat situation where I give you something and you feel obligated to give me something in return.
Besides, even if they don’t join your social media platform, they’ll likely visit your store again and may become a regular customer.
Use QR codes
QR codes are very versatile and There are lots of places to get QR codes, like here.
You can put QR codes around your store and encourage folks to scan them with their smartphones to get coupons or other special offers. It appeals to the geek in us and draws folks into your store. You can also put these in advertising to make it easier for folks to Like your Fanpage.
Foursquare, Google Places and others use what’s called location-based marketing. You encourage folks to check in to your Foursquare site from your store — they have to be within a short distance of your store for this to work. When they check in you might offer a coupon or discount or you can encourage frequent visits by offering specials to the “mayor” of your store — the person who checks in the most.
These mobile technologies have huge opportunities for businesses because the person is already in your store and they give you the opportunity to modify their behavior. Larger businesses might also use Shopkick, which is a more expensive technology that allows you to communicate with customers in the store based on which part of the store they’re in. For instance, a customer visiting the children’s department might receive a discount coupon for toys (encouraging them to visit that department). Visitors might also get coupons/ discounts for behaviors that translate into sales, such as visiting a particular department, the in-store restaurant, or the fitting room.
Yelp and other review sites
Don’t forget to encourage customers to comment on Yelp and other review sites. And, don’t neglect filling out your Yelp profile including your menu and service hours.
For many small businesses, this is the most cost-effective way to create an online presence. But, don’t forget to integrate your social media with offline advertising. Include those great Yelp comments in your print advertising or brochures your create for your business.