What They Don’t Tell You About Social Media

There is so much to say about social media and using it when traveling in a rental car or limousine to take care of business. Some of this information is useful, but most is not. The lies about how and when to use these social platforms are spread by online newbie.

The truth is that the answers to these questions keep changing, because we are only beginning to understand how to harness social networks to unlock the Web’s true potential. We are learning, day by day. What none of us can afford is to stand by and watch it all unfold. There’s money to be made, after all!

Written here is a complete guide to social networking platform misunderstandings. Each one comes with a tangible action plan that you can follow starting today. If you know of other powerful strategies to share, please comment below.

Myth #1: Everybody and their brother is on social media.

Why people keep saying this: Many gurus mention all sorts of statistics about how more than 85% of people heard of a product or service through social media. This is just hype to get you to hire these social media consultants. The fact is that social media is not on every one’s minds.

The plan: Even if your target group is not yet on any social media platform, you can grasp the true power of the Internet by making it simple for search engines like Google and Bing  to find your website (known by the more popular term as “search engine optimization”). This is easier than you might think. However, the approach takes some time to gain momentum.

Step 1: Throughout your website, you should scatter popular key words. How do you find these keywords? You can use the Google Keyword Tool. Just enter 25 or more broad terms that relate or describe your product or service. Also, look for similar terms that get a few thousand queries each month. Finding popular key words isn’t good enough. You have to find keywords where your site can easily rank for. This means finding words that, when entered into Google, will deliver results where your site ranks in the top 5 positions.

The secret to ranking at the top of Google is to have as many high-quality backlinks to your site (this means articles, videos and other forms of content, as well). A high quality website should be packed with content.

How many high-quality backlinks do you need to have pointing to your website? There’s a way to know this number. For each keyword, copy urls of the top websites that pop up in Google when you search on them. Then paste each of those urls into MajesticSEO’s tool and click “Explore.” Instantly you will see how many sites are pointing back to your web site.

If the first 15 urls you chose are each getting tens of thousands of links, it’s probably to difficult to compete on for that particular key word. However, if the second website site down from the top of the search results, only contains a few dozen backlinks, you have a good chance to top that site in a few months or less with some focused effort.

How you can increase the number of backlinks to your website very fast? Contact relevant bloggers in your niche. Find the most active scribes by searching relevant keywords on Google Blogsearch. Send each blogger a short, powerful email request saying you’re a fan of their writting, and that you might have some content their readers would really love. Make sure you include a link to your site in the message. Bloggers who are interested, will use your link in their articles. This makes it more popular in the eyes of the search engines.

Top Social Media Marketing Tips For Bars And Restaurants

Facebook gives your bar or restaurant an incredible opportunity to steal your competitors clients if you use their pay per click platform. Your best potential customers are already on Facebook – and most of them are checking their updates a few times a day.

Facebook is a virtual hangout spot where people connect with their friends and family almost daily. It’s the same reason why they go out to eat as well, right? Here are a few tips to use Facebook in your marketing to get more customers for your bar or restaurant.

1. Your Cover image is critical – It’s a mistake to leave this blank. You want to take full advantage of the cover image section of your Facebook page. You have 851 x 351 pixels to use to sell what your business does for people. So it’s best to use it. Include nice photos of your food, drinks, or people having a wonderful time while eating and drinking with friends. You could change your cover image whenever you have a new menu that features a new item, and market the new items or specials.

Include a short, detailed description of your dish or drink, as in the photo below. This is from Bahama Breeze Island Grille.

2. Facebook Page Tabs – You should use the tabs on your Facebook Page to compel people to visit your establishment. The first four tabs on your Facebook page are the most important. These  tabs show up on your front page (without our visitor needing to click to open them all). You can see how good Bahama Breeze Island Grille uses them to draw the visitor further into the page. Their first four tabs are: photos of dishes; locations; food special; and featured menu items.

What they are doing is thinking like their customer, and giving them photos and information a customer would want.

3. Use many of pictures of your best dishes– The images that get the most shares on Facebook are food. People love good looking food. Food is a very visual thing. Make sure you include many images of your dishes in your regular Facebook updates. You might even consider creating a lookbook of your current menu items.

4. Special offers and group deals – Post special offers on your page. Let patrons know that if they “like” your Page, you’ll send them special coupons. Give group deals (using a third party app, as per Facebook rules), to entice your Fans to share your deal with their friends – and get those friends to become Fans of your Page too.

A group deal can lead to new customers fast into your establishment too!

5. Contests and sweepstakes – Use sweepstakes and contests on your Facebook Page to create excitement. These social promotions add excitement, and a perfect reason to get your customers coming back to both your Facebook Page, and your restaurant.

Here’s an example of a client using a sweepstakes app. Wayne Gretzky’s Toronto ran a geo-targeted contest through Facebook to successfully generate awareness of their recently renovated digs, and their brand new menu.

6. Geo target your ads  – I bet you didn’t know you could do this. Facebook lets you do all kinds of very specific, niche targeting advertising. For restaurants, bars, and diners, this is perfect. You can target your ads so they are only seen by people in your particular geographic location. You can also target your ads so they are only seen by people with specific interests,

In the Wayne Gretzky example, this could be used to target the downtown Toronto area; to people who like hockey, sports and dining out; and who also like the Toronto Blue Jays (and event the Toronto Maple Leafs too).

You can also geo tag your posts, too. If you have a chain of restaurants, for example, use this feature to show images or update from your various locations.

7. Use Embed videos – Videos are very impactful when they are embedded into an update, or in a tab. If you have videos showing how your food is prepared, or you have an interview with the chef/ food suppliers/ happy customers – include them in an update.

Social Media Marketing for Restaurants using Instagram

Not many people are doing this. Instagram is a very popular photo sharing site. Youtube is to videos what Instgram is to photos. This platform also seamless integrates with Facebook, it’s used about 97% of the time when your patrons are posting images to their Facebook friends. You can use Instagram  with your Facebook tactics, or you can use the site on its own. Here are seven tips for using Instagram marketing, on its own:

Use hashtags: Hashtags are a must on Instagram. They’re so prevalent and relevant, I’ll discuss three powerful tactics to employ when using hashtags on Instagram (or any social site).

1. Use hashtags that are trending– To increase awareness about both your Instagram profile, and your restaurant, include relevant trending hashtags. For example, if it happens to be #chicagocheesecakeday , and your establishment serves cheesecake, post a scrumptious photo of it.

2. Using niche hashtags –  You can be found more easily by your niche market when using specific hashtags. For example, if you’re a bakery in Chicago, and are located in Soho, use geographic specific tags, like #sohoeats. Instagram is a mobile social site – you can use it on your phone. Including a specific location in your tags can get you found by foot traffic looking to eat – and they may be just outside your door.

3. Try Usinbg campaign specific hashtags – When running a marketing campaign (such as a contest or group offer), create a tag just for that promotion. This helps your followers – and anyone else – interact with your campaign by using your hashtag in their posts, too.

4. Photos of your menu – Instagram is a site for photos. Use this platform to post delicious photos of the items on your menu.

5. Engage with menu items – Take pictures of your menu two steps further by getting customers to upload their favorite items. This will help build your menu of images on the site.

This type of user generated content gets your customers involved with you socially, and it generates a stronger bond and customer loyalty. Show your patrons that you appreciate them by inviting them to be a part of your menu decision making process. They will want to dine at your place – and bring their friends to show off their winning contributions!

This is an amazing way to get customers talking about and showing your amazing dishes to their family on the site too. That’s word of mouth marketing gone viral!

6. Employee Appreciation – Take a pictures of staff members working with your product or menu items. It could be a chef, a waitress, or even a busboy. Post them to your company Instagram feed, with a short description.

You can use these photos to shows that you’re a real restaurant that values their employees. Simultaneously, you’ll create a cool working environment for your staff too! It also shows that you’re a fun place to be, and likely with great customer service…


Business Travel With Social Media As The Spark For Change

Business-travel2Although we have experienced a downturn in the world economy, still one in five business travelers to our  recent survey said they travel less for business since 2008. A whopping 87% admit they find business travel more fun today than they did about six years ago.

So what’s so different? Could it be the ability to interact social media using platforms like Twitter, LinkedIN, Instagram, and Facebook has empowered business travelers to make better decisions as they plan their trips. About 85 percent of business travelers said that they would follow a travel brand on social media to get information about money-saving travel deals, 29% want to learn about other travelers’ experiences with that brand, and 29% want to stay updated on the brand’s latest news.

The infographic below takes a examination at the main findings from this study. It addresses how the rise of social media platforms have changed the relationship between travelers and they brands they use.

Social networks have transformed the way we work, play, do business —and live. Let me give you a few examples: 18.3 percent of consumers use social media sites before they get out of bed. This is based on a study by Ericsson ConsumerLab study. These platforms have also changed the way executives travel and transformed boring business trips into a data-rich opportunity to make new connections and discover or strengthen business and personal relationships.

The easiest way to visualize this amazing change is that you used to fly into a city and unless you knew someone who lived there, there was no chance that you’d ever get in touch with anyone, says Aaron Strout, of WCG World, an integrated global communications company. “We all tend to hover around in these bigger metropolitan areas and we’re closer to so many people we know than we think we are, but we just don’t know it. So social media kind of tightens up that six degrees of separation, and it also makes for serendipity.”

So how do you keep things professional and make your next trip fun when using social media? Here’s what the experts say:

How Social Media Has Changed Business Travel: Before You Leave

Before you get a chance to book your trip, social media platforms give you the power to research, interact, and enhance your experience. Some hotels now offer room specials exclusively for fans of people who “like” their Facebook page. In addition, business and pleasure travelers can see reviews, photos, and videos of properties from trusted colleagues, friends, and strangers to make feel more comfortable that it’s the right location long before buy a ticket and arriving. Lastly, you can determine where your business and personal connections and contacts are staying and if they’ll be in that same city when you arrive. To simplify that process in the future (travel-organizing app TripIt makes this easier with its integration into LinkedIn).

Travelers can easily use Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to make contact with existing friends and business associates to determine details about where to stay and what fun things to do while traveling—including whom else might be in town. It’s shocking when you find out that old connections that you haven’t seen in 15 or 20 years might be living or have lived. This allows you to ask opinions or schedule meetings with people you never imagined seeing ever again.

“A lot of hotels are adopting this idea that if they become more social-media savvy, people will start staying there,” Strout admits. “Before I leave, I can determine if someone I know will be there and then triangulate that data to connect for dinner. You have micro-control of it too, because you can broadcast out what you like or keep things private.”

Social Networks and Mobile Apps to Use Before You Travel:

• Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn: Let your contacts know you’re planning a trip to see which old friends or acquaintances will be in that same town so you can schedule meetings—formal or informal. It also gives you the power to find cool places to go and things to do during your down-time. You can follow hotels or airlines on the social networks to get exclusive discounts not available elsewhere.

• TripIt: You can book your next travel wherever you choose, and send your itinerary to plans@tripit.com. The free travel organizational service does the rest of the work, by allowing you to gain access to data anywhere and also informing you if any connections are in the same area.

• GTrot:  This is still a relatively new service. GTrot (short for globe-trotting) connects users with Facebook friends who live where you’re traveling to, have visited there previously or are there at the same time as you. With just one click of a button, you can notify your friends of your travel plans and get their input or suggestions.

• AutoSlash, CarRentals.com, or Zipcar: You might have ground transportation needs. Whatever your car rental needs are, there is a way to access the best deals and upgrades. Autoslash and CarRentals.com give you the power to input dates and times of arrival and departure and then scours the Web for the best rental deals on limos and sedans. What I like about Autoslash is that if you book a rental and a better deal comes across the site, it automatically rebooks you at the lower rate. Zipcar is a popular service that allows you to rent a car for hours, days or longer, often cheaper than most car rental companies and you most get nicer vehicles.