LOCAL BUSINESS SUCCESS CENTER

Tips, trends and marketing advice to help you grow your business.

If you own a small business, there’s a good chance that marketing probably doesn’t fall within the category of things you love to do. After all, you didn’t open your doors for the thrill of creating marketing emails, managing a Facebook Page, or monitoring your online listings. You did it because you wanted to build a business—to do something you’re passionate about, and to share that passion with each and every customers that walks through your door.

But these days, running a business does come with a full plate of marketing responsibilities. And the reality is that businesses—especially new businesses—cannot afford to ignore online marketing and the responsibilities that come along with it.

That was certainly the case for Sandy Meyer, owner of Blinker’s Tavern in Covington, KY.

“We opened in 2011 and knew right away that there were things we needed to be doing to attract new customers,” explains Sandy. “But as a new business, it wasn’t clear where we needed to start.”

Starting with social media

Like a lot of new businesses, one of the first things Sandy did when she opened her doors was to set up on social media.

“We knew social media would be a good tool for getting in front of our audience,” explains Sandy. “We always have a lot going on and it’s important that we’re able to keep people up-to-date.”

In addition to building an audience of local fans and followers on Facebook and Twitter, Sandy says that one of the most important parts of being on social media is to connect with the hospitality industry in her community.

“It’s really important for us to be able to get in front of the hotels in our area,” explains Sandy. “We depend on tourism during our busy season.”

Managing a social schedule

As valuable as building awareness on sites like Facebook and Twitter has been to Blinker’s Tavern, it has also come with plenty of challenges.

With a rotating schedule of daily specials for both lunch and dinner, a menu that changes with the seasons, and a wide range of events for things like holidays, anniversaries, and other local happenings—Sandy has plenty to talk about with fans and followers.

What she doesn’t have is the time to actually do it.

To make matters worse, with so many changes and special occurrences taking place week-to-week, it has become increasingly more difficult to get the menu that’s been offered in the restaurant each day in front of the people who actually need it.

Finding a better social media marketing solution

Rather than spending hours each week trying to get sites like Facebook and Twitter to work for her business, Sandy decided early on that she was going to need some help.

In September of 2012, Sandy spoke with a representative at SinglePlatform.

She discovered that on top of helping businesses manage their online menu and listings, SinglePlatform also offered a range of features designed to help businesses like hers on social media.

She worked with the representative to put together a plan for how SinglePlatform could help alleviate the stress of keeping tabs on social media and make the most of all the tools SinglePlatform has to offer.

One of the first things she decided to do was put together a calendar of special announcements for things like daily specials and upcoming events. She could manage these updates ahead of time without having to log in to Facebook or Twitter throughout the day.

“For us, SinglePlatform has been a great tool for sharing reminders about our specials and other things we have going on,” explains Sandy. “It has taken a lot of stress out of being on social media.”

That’s not to say she forgets about her fans and followers. On the contrary, she still takes the time to respond to customer questions and say thanks to fans when receiving positive reviews or recommendations.

Not only that, but with SinglePlatform Sandy has also found a better way to keep her daily lunch and dinner menus in front of her target audience—using SinglePlatform to share her menu directly to the Blinker’s Tavern Facebook Page.

“SinglePlatform makes it easy to update our regular menus and make changes when we need to,” explains Sandy. “Which is important because we know the menu our fans are seeing is the same one we’re offering at our restaurant that day.”

Extending her reach beyond social media

In addition to social media, Sandy has also taken advantage of SinglePlatform’s network of more than 100 online listing sites and mobile apps.

As a new business, Sandy recognized that awareness needs to extend beyond her social communities. By publishing her menu with SinglePlatform her business has a better chance of getting discovered online.

And because the changes she makes to her menu on SinglePlatform are automatically made on Facebook and across the entire network of SinglePlatform’s partnering online listing sites and apps, she knows the information they find will be up-to-date.

“Keeping our menu up-to-date on review sites and online listings has never been a problem for our restaurant because we’ve been with SinglePlatform since the start,” explains Sandy.

“That’s been important for our business.”

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