Social Media Marketing Best Practice: Bridge the gap

For those of us who have been involved in the online world for more than a few years, the latest incarnation of the web is pretty exciting stuff. The connections and interactions via blogs, podcasts, twitter, Facebook, Flickr, friendfeed, YouTube, etc, brings us closer together with other people on the other side of the country, the other side of the world, or even in our own neighborhood in ways that have never been possible before.

There is some awareness of the echo-chamber nature of the social media world, but I’m not at all worried about that, mainly because the rate of adoption of these tools is picking up speed. I wonder how many people in the television industry were worrying about the rate of television adoption in the early 60s?

But when creating a social media marketing campaign, one has to remember that not everyone is connected using these tools, and even if they are, they’re not necessarily aware of you, or the fact that you’ve got some cool things happening online.

So another best practice: bridge the gap between social media and face-to-face interactions. I recently went to a restaurant in Boston with a sticker in the window that read “People love us on Yelp”. I had actually found the restaurant because I used the Yelp iPhone application to give me a restaurant recommendation near my current location.

Having the Yelp sticker in the window accomplishes two things: It welcomes Yelpers who arrive to the restaurant for the first time, making them feel special and at home. It also may create curiosity in non-Yelpers to check out that web site. And creates awareness for Yelp at the same time. This is a great example of bridging the gap, even when your virtual company has little or no physical presence.

Example number two of bridging the gap: One of the hottest social media campaigns, inside the credit union world or out, is Young and Free. The first incarnation launched in Alberta, Canada. Now there’s a sister campaign that has launched in Houston. One of the neatest aspects of getting this off the ground is the amazing Go Mobile/Guitar Hero/Info truck that Trey is driving around from event to musical event. Many young folks in the target demographic are using social media and networking tools, but they wouldn’t necessarily come across the campaign unless there is some bridge from their world to finding the CU’s social media site. This fun, tricked-out truck, which is camping out at events that young folks are at fits the bill perfectly.

What marketing efforts do you see that nicely bridge the gap between the online and physical worlds?

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9 Responses to “Social Media Marketing Best Practice: Bridge the gap”

  1. Ginny Brady Says:

    Great Post! This gives me an idea to propose at our next board meeting.

  2. kaszeta Says:

    Oh, the irony of using that particular “People Love Us on Yelp” photo (which is mine from flickr).

    You see, that restaurant (Bagel Basement in Lebanon, NH), shouldn’t have that particular sticker, since Yelp users don’t love them (go look them up on Yelp). They obviously got the sticker from their sister business, which has better reviews.

    Is this sticker good for the Bagel Basement? Yes, if people accept it at face value. But if someone goes and actually checks the Yelp reviews? It’s probably bad for the Bagel Basement, since the reviews aren’t positive at all.

    Is this sticker good for Yelp? It gives them some exposure, yes, but, again, the sticker is attached to a restaurant with poor reviews. This sticker is equally likely to cause people to de-value Yelp.

  3. Morriss Partee Says:

    Hi kaszeta, yes, I saw that controversy, but used your photo anyway, because I neglected to snap a photo of the restaurant in Boston that had one in their entrance window. Your photo was the best one that I could locate on Flickr.

    I guess I more honest approach would be a sticker that says “Check what people think of us on Yelp!”, but that uses more words.

  4. kaszeta Says:

    Actually, I recommended to the Yelp people I talked to (who were somewhat concerned about that sticker being on a poorly rated restaurant) that they should also distribute more-generic “read about us on Yelp!” stickers. :)

  5. Subba Says:

    What is the motivation for the restaurant customers to go online and write a yelp review about it? Even if they get the motivation after having a great dinner, they simply may not have time to register and write a review!

    How many of the passing by customers would actually notice that sticker, and take the effort to look them online on yelp? Most of the restaurants on yelp (outside of CA) have hardly 1-10 reviews. Do you think 10 ratings will tell the quality of the restaurant which might be serving 10k or 100k customers per year?

    We at Sterizon plan to change that by tapping into customer for a quick survey right at the customer dining table using a WiFi handheld Sterizon wiZit. These are “hot off the press” reviews, that are legitimate (you have eat there to be able to write a review or rate it), and best of all, customer doesnt have to go to 10 online review sites to write about their experience. These unfiltered results will make their way into the review sites.

  6. Morriss Partee Says:

    Subba, the motivation to write a review on Yelp is exactly the same motivation as to tell your friends what you thought about a business or restaurant. There are many reasons to do so, and they vary from “paying it forward” to sharing a great or poor experience, to being thought of as in-the-know.

    I think you are missing the point if you think review sites are about quantity. The point is to have/find reviews of your peers — people who you trust. On Yelp, because it is personal, I can find reviews from people who I know I have similar tastes with. Also, your comment suggests that there is only one type of restaurant experience that a person is seeking. The other beauty of yelp is that because of the detailed descriptions, I can find the type of restaurant experience I am looking for. Sometimes I might want a cheap and quaint diner, other times I might want a funky cafe atmosphere, or a brew pub, or a family buffet, or an elegant, romantic meal for two. I can usually get a feel for the type of establishment without having seen the place just based on the name and one or two reviews.

    As for quantity, yes, there are parts of the country where there are very few online reviews for restaurants. But in most metro type areas, nationwide, there are many restaurants and other establishments that have scores of reviews. Sure, it is relatively few compared to the number of meals served. But I firmly believe that’s simply because writing reviews of restaurants is a new concept for many people. In time, it will become much more mainstream to do so.

    Yelp is a winner for me on many levels. The most important of which is the social aspect.

  7. subbablog Says:

    Morris,

    Honestly, how many of the restaurants you visited, did you end up writing a review? If you say 90% of them, then I say, you have passion and time to write these reviews. How many times did you read a review before going to a restaurant (particularly the ones with in your city)?

    I am talking about majority of the folks, as you don’t see yelp flooded with reviews. Like with anything, the buzz will wane. I am not an opponent of review sites, but question the effectiveness of ratings and sporadic reviews.

  8. To tweet or not to tweet: Is it even a question? « EverythingCU.com World 2.0 Adventure Says:

    [...] Fitton (@Pistachio) continues to make arguments for twitter for businesses. I applaud that she is bridging the gap. But for many people, they will simply have to experience Twitter, or at least see it in action, to [...]

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