Tales From New England: Don’t Hide Your Social Media

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by Steve Holt on September 24, 2011

I just returned from a vacation to New England and I gathered a whole bunch of ideas for new blog posts, which I will be talking about over the coming weeks in my “Tales From New England” post series.  This first installment is about how important it is to not hide what you want people to see.

I visited an ice cream shop on Nantucket and enjoyed some pretty awesome ice cream.  It was one of those ‘hole in the wall’ places, as they say, which wasn’t much bigger than a large closet. But the line was out the door with people wanting this ice cream because it was pretty darn good. As a general rule, a long line of people wanting something usually means that it’s pretty good. As I hear tell, it was the original location of the business and they are keeping that entrepreneurial spirit alive which is a pretty neat thing.

What caught my eye once I got in the place was the sign above our heads that showed the various types of things I could get.  After perusing the boards, I noticed a little something in the lower right corner of one of them that I could sortof make out.  After getting up to the front I noticed what it said:

Nantucket ice creamThis caught my eye because I talk with businesses about this sort of thing all the time… using social media to promote themselves. What struck me was the temporary nature of it all, and ease at which it could be wiped away, and how easily I could have missed the whole thing.  Indeed, it appeared that some of the letters had been accidentally brushed, which was why I had a hard time making out what it said in the first place.

Now, the argument could be made that the line out the door was a good indication that perhaps they didn’t need a big boost from social media to get the word out about their awesome ice cream.  As I said, it was pretty darn good and the line was pretty darn long, and apparently they are pretty successful guys so nothing against what they have accomplished there. But it was a great example of what too many businesses do when it comes to social media… they make a half-hearted effort or don’t actually tell anyone about what they’ve done. Your customers have to know about your Facebook page before they can ‘like’ it, right? Seems like that would be common sense, but trust me, for some folks it ain’t.

A couple years ago I helped a local business here in town get their Facebook page set up, helped them open their twitter account, and totally redesigned their website to a new look that also incorporated all their social media outreach. They spent a good chunk of change for the whole thing, and then they went out and purchased $5,000 in radio advertising and print ads and never mentioned anything… their website, their Facebook page, their Twitter account… nothing. It was as if they didn’t have any of that stuff.

So if you are gonna do it, then tell people about it. As they say around here, ‘go big or go home’. Post a sign somewhere in your business that people can see (preferably that isn’t written in chalk) so they know you are on Facebook, or Twitter, or Youtube, or wherever. Put it on your business cards, your letterhead, your email signature, your checkout bags, on the front door of your business… you get my point.  Don’t hide it. Tell people about it.

And do me a favor… if you ever get over to Nantucket, make a trip to Nantucket Ice Cream and like them on Facebook. It’s pretty darn awesome.

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