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April 14, 2010

SEM Synergy Extras — Follow Us on Facebook

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Confession time: I have 66 pending friend requests on Facebook. They range from my cousin’s wife to coworkers and industry colleagues to girls I went to high school with. I add new friends like they’re getting into the VIP room or something, grudgingly and mostly just so I can judge them later. I’ll admit it, I don’t get the coffee klatch nature of Facebook and it’s not one of my Must-Visit sites. (Buzz is though. Now you all can judge me in return.)


At least they’re being ignored in good company.

But even though I don’t get Facebook and I rarely sign on except to untag pictures of me, it doesn’t mean I don’t have some activity. In fact in the last couple weeks I’ve created fan pages, responded to events, and become a fan of (or maybe just liked? Is that what the kids are doing now?) a couple brands.  Just before I sat down to write this entry, I went to grab lunch at our local bagel place, John’s Bagel Deli. While I was there, I noticed in the corner of one of their whiteboard menus that someone had scribbled, “We’re on Facebook. John’s Bagel Deli”.

I pulled out my phone right then and there to add them (and, uh, couldn’t. Can someone explain to me how the BB Facebook app works? Anyway, I actually fanned them when I got back to my desk.)  It occurred to me, this was such a simple thing to do. It took them almost no effort and it’s paying off. John’s Bagel Deli has more followers than Bruce Clay, Inc. does. [By the way, don’t be shy! —Virginia]

Today on SEM Synergy, we discussed the idea that businesses need to take advantage of every available avenue to promote themselves. It’s not a matter of choosing SEO or PPC or social media but about making all of those elements of online marketing work for you, even and especially when that means getting people to come to your brick and mortar location.  Vanessa Fox recently covered the value of local search for restaurants in an extensive post. She says, in part:

You don’t have to choose an “or” strategy, because an “and” strategy is not that much more effort. You have a web site; you are engaging in social media. The only thing left is to make sure you understand how to be found in search, which primarily consists of:

  • Understanding what your potential audience is searching for
  • Claiming your maps listings on the major search engines
  • Ensuring your web site is search-friendly
  • Leveraging social media to improve search visibility

The awesome thing is that all of this is free.

This isn’t the first time I’ve noticed one of my local favorite spots doing some social media outreach. But the great thing about John’s is that they didn’t just stop at a fan page. If you check out their home page, you’ll see they link to Yelp, Sporq and InsiderPages. All that took them was a little bit of time, not a penny of cost.

bagel sandwich

Having built a solid foundation in the local spaces, they still need to claim their listing on Google. But what happens after that? What are the next steps for John’s? Should they get on Twitter? Start pumping up their SEO?  I think this is the point where most small businesses get stuck. They’ve done the simple stuff, the obvious stuff but they don’t know how to move forward.

If John’s got on Twitter, they could tweet out specials like yummy favorites @CupcakeryTO and @GoldenSpoonVC. If they decided to dive into SEO, they could build out content on their site, describe their history, their process. They could add more location information and photos of the shop. If nothing else they could update that News column more often.

Right now John’s is marketing to their die hard fans and 356 people are listening. But it’s time to start talking to the people who don’t know they’re fans. Moving beyond the circle of fans to the wider circle of “should be fans” is a critical step but it’s one that many small businesses don’t know how to take.

What do you think? What’s next for John’s Bagel Deli?

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3 responses to “SEM Synergy Extras — Follow Us on Facebook”

  1. Andy @ FirstFound writes:

    I’d imagine John’s Bagel Deli might do one of those great little “suggest this page to a friend, and enter the free bagel competition” tricks.

    They’re brilliant. Increase your exposure and give something back to your clients – all for the price of a Bagel (or whatever it is you’re selling).

  2. Vancouver Real Estate writes:

    Great post! I agree that every avenue needs to be explored but at the same time it takes time and effort to manage all of the avenues you decide to use. I see more and more business promoting their facebook, twitter or similar with nothing on thise profiles. There is a difference using those avenues to
    claim your name but whole another to interact with your current and potential customers.

  3. Anthony Arias writes:

    It’s amazing how I came across this post just as I was pondering the same thing. I was thinking about all the people, my friends and associates included that spend an enormous amount of time on facebook. I don’t get too deeply involved in facebooking, but certainly see the value in it, for local business and online business as well.



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