I was at the Bayview Tavern in Gladesville last week, and noticed that they were promoting themselves as being on Facebook. As this is my local, I thought I would check it out … and with professional and personal curiosity I went to their website to check it out.
Got to their site – and there’s a lot going on at the Bayview – music, karaoke, trivia nights, and they have a cricket club (might be fun) … hey – no link or mention of Facebook. A further scout around the sub-pages and still nothing. So I log onto Facebook, and a general search of the term Bayview turns up over 500 pages, and Bayview Hotel – 31 (with none of these being what I’m looking for). A couple of searches later, I find this page called Bayview!, which has 295 followers. This is an “unofficial” page, put up by a patron. There is a lively bit of discussion about the Bayview, including suggestions, complaints and comments about activities and events at the Bayview. Also, related to the same venue is another facebook page, called “The Bayview Hotel Appreciation Society”, with 108 members.
Someone from the Bayview has interjected into both pages, and invited people over to the “official” Bayview page, and because they don’t provide a link, I’m back to searching. I finally find it, and it is much more complete with lists of events and activities, but it only has 83 fans and a one-way discussion about the venue.
Not to pick on the Bayview, but this experience leads me to reflect on our first principles of social media marketing:
Help people find you by brining your links and pages together. Too many times I see people but up a page and not link it to anything. Publicise your social media activities on your web-site / business cards / drink coasters, and with promotions and activities. Put them on your web-site, twitter feeds, blog and other on-line presence so that they each reference the other. Remember that stepping into the on-line world, you are in a global marketplace with 500 million plus users, pages and names. Help your local patrons find you quickly and easily.
Any conversation with your patrons is a good one. If you find unofficial pages, join and participate. Listen and respond. These are the real conversations that you want on-line, and here is where the real value in social media can be found. So don’t be afraid to engage with these other outlets. Take a leaf out of Coke’s playbook – they found that a couple of fans had put up a brilliant Facebook page, so rather than compete and attempt to migrate fans to the official site, they offered to work with the fans and made their site the official Coke Facebook site ! (see the story on the page’s info.
Promote your page, events and activities with some soft promotions. Encourage people to post experiences, photos and put up discussions (a good one at the Bayview would be on video games !). Perhaps a pitcher of beer or a special for Facebook only fans – all these work to drive traffic to your social media pages and encourage people to get involved. It also says to people that you value their time and efforts.
Best of luck, and remember to have fun with your on-line marketing !