Sometimes the power of social media amazes me. I was looking for a winning business from the Boston A-List that is active on Instagram to feature in this month’s newsletter. I tweeted and posted to Facebook asking if any businesses on the A-List have Instagram, and what do you know? More than one winner responded, and they all do such a fabulous job and I decided to profile not one, but two businesses this month.
The first business is Jennifer Phelan Pilates, winner of BEST Pilates on the 2012 Boston A-List. The owner, Jennifer, is clearly very engaged in social media as she responded to both the A-List’s tweet and Facebook post. When I asked her why she uses Instagram for her business, she had some great insight.
“I am no different than my students. I know how hard it is to work all day and struggle to find the energy to make time for you. But I believe that every person with the desire to achieve a balance between physical fitness and mind/body connection is capable of doing so. My goal is to be your motivation.”
Her Instagram feed (JPPilates) certainly provides motivation for her students and followers. Not only does she post Pilates-related pictures, but she also shares pictures that give a peak into her life and lifestyle. Her photos are varied and include workout clothes, healthy food, her adorable dog, life around Boston, and last but certainly not list her Boston A-List Winner’s Certificate! Jennifer Phelan Pilates has only been on Instagram for several months, but she can already tell that it is going to be a prominent social media effort as it allows her fans and followers to become closer into her life.
Blue Tierra Chocolate Café is the winner of BEST Chocolatier for the second year in a row. While the chocolate cafe has only been on Instagram for a week (bluetierrachocolate), they already have an array of mouthwatering photos. They do a great job of giving Instagrammers an inside look into their business with pictures of chocolate making including the different phases from something simple such as cooking bacon or nuts to the delicious end product. The owner, Jen, can already see the impact that Instagram has on her business. Customers will come into the store requesting products that they saw posted merely hours before.
Jen shared some insight as to why Blue Tierra Chocolate Café uses Instagram, “They say you eat with your eyes before your mouth and this is very true, which makes Instagram the perfect platform for us to promote our products.” Also, as a small business owner, Jen doesn’t have a great deal of time to focus on her social media efforts. Instagram is the perfect tool as it is easy to use and share across social networks which helps her reach consumers quickly and efficiently.
Do you use Instagram for your small business? Let us know your username and some of your best practices in the comments!
This month we are taking a step back from profiling how a winning business promoted their nomination during our contest, and instead we’re profiling a few winning businesses that also have a winning presence on Facebook.
The award for BEST Jazz Club on the Detroit A-List this year went to Cliff Bells. Not only was this jazz club voted #1 on the A-List, but it also has a large Facebook following with over 7,700 fans. What makes Cliff Bells’ Facebook page so great is that they create diverse and interesting posts that are usually image based. They recently conducted a countdown on Facebook for the unveiling of their new lunch menu, which sparked a great deal of interest among their fans. They took pictures of their new lunch menu and let customers sound off on the new items in the comments. They also run exclusive offers on Facebook such as the week of July 1st, if a fan mentioned the phrase “Got That Swing”, they would receive 25% off of lunch any day that week. They are clearly engaging their fans and encouraging them to come in during weekday lunch, which is usually a slower time for most restaurants. Posting promotions and specials on Facebook also increases the likelihood that a fan will come back to see what is new.
The winning business in the Women’s Boutique category in Detroit, Flirty Fashions, also does a good job with their social media efforts. They use their Facebook page as a medium to display new merchandise that will arrive soon or just came into the store. By posting pictures of items that are coming soon, they create anticipation and keep their store at the top of mind. Flirty Fashions also has an Instagram account and has a tab for their Instagram feed directly on Facebook. An additional way that they get fans to come revisit their page is by posting pictures from fashion magazines with their opinions on the fashion trends. It is a great way for customers to stay up-to-date on the new trends that are arriving in store.
Just Baked, which was awarded BEST Bakery on the 2012 Detroit A-List also has a large following on Facebook with over 10,300 fans. Their posts are primarily image based and they posts pictures of decorative special order cakes, cookies and cupcakes, which shows off the skill and creativity that this bakery has. They also use Facebook as a platform to promote new products in their bakery like their recently added BIG cookies. They run exclusive promotions on Facebook to garner additional likes and even incorporated a contest on YouTube to increase engagement and offer a free dozen cupcakes. The contest is fun as the video submissions are for the best way to eat a Just Baked cupcake, and gives customers another reason to stop by one of their stores and pick one (or a dozen) up.
What are your best practices on Facebook? Let us know in the comments!
Facebook has become such a prominent marketing and promotional tool for local businesses. Some even use their business’ Facebook page in place of a website. By now, we have all become adjusted to Timeline and it’s time to take advantage of posts that boost likes and comments.
Like if. This kind of post works best if your main goal is to acquire as many likes as you can on a single post. We use it to announce the beginning of a contest or to increase excitement for winner’s announcements. It is a great way to get a quick response from your fans.
Questions. Instead of just posting a general status update, ask a question. This encourages fans to respond instead of just reading the status and moving on. It is also a good tool when posting an article or a photo as a fan is more likely to share their opinion.
Fill in the Blank. We typically ask questions on our Facebook pages to try and get engagement, but recently we created several fill in the blank posts and had a great response. Instead of asking, “Which category is your favorite to vote in?”, we created the post below. They essentially say the same thing, but the fill in the blank style is more eye catching and isn’t something that shows up on a fan’s news feed often. It is also a great way to get users engaged by giving them a chance to express their opinion in a quick response format, and it certainly does encourage more comments than likes.
Images. Calling all restaurants and stores! Nothing works better than posting a photo with a status update for businesses with visually appealing products. Instead of just posting about today’s special at the restaurant, take a picture of it. New merchandise came in that you are excited about? Get your customers to become equally as excited by sharing pictures of the merchandise with them. If you want to switch up the images you are sharing and help forge a deeper connection with your customers, take a behind the scenes picture to give an inside look at your business. Even though Pinterest and Instagram are known as image-centric marketing tools, Facebook can be a great resource as well. Check out this image post from WGBH about the Boston A-List.
Different types of posts work for some businesses while others don’t. Even across our Facebook pages, each city is different in regards to what type of posts elicit more of a response. In order to know posts work best for your business, you will need to do some trial and error to get a feel for your fans and what types of Facebook promotion they respond best to.
What type of posts work best for your business’ Facebook page? Let us know in the comments!