AJ Bombers burger bar was founded in March 2009 by Joe and Angie Sorge. With massive franchises (Burger King, Mcdonalds) to compete against AJ Bombers knew they had to have a unique selling point – a differentiation strategy to survive.
Local social media strategy
They made it their mission ìto keep the conversation goingî. Joe and Angie understood the importance of building relationships and how social medial can help them do that. Traditional methods of ëpushí marketing such as TV, radio, billboards, print and cold calling are becoming less effective and there is no denying that fact. New less intrusive methods such as social media marketing and SEO are gaining momentum by providing added value to consumers whilst also not being pushed in their faces.
The decline in effectiveness of outbound marketing can be attributed to a monumental shift in consumer behavior. Instead of information being force-fed to consumers, people now have the power to be in control of what information they receive and how.
The world is changing as we know it, businesses now have to react locally and look after each customer as a valued individual. Big multi-national franchises like McDonalds and Burger King are unable to build strong one-on-one relationships with customers, but small, flexible businesses such as AJ Bombers and other local organisations are in a position to give each of its customers a more rewarding experience. AJ Bombers realised they could harness the power of social media to build relationships and emotional equity with each of its customers.
The power of building relationships
They figured the best way to build up relationships with their client base was to let them have a say in how the business was run. The customers have input over almost every aspect of the restaurant. They help design menu items, determine price structures, opening hours and even suggest promotions. These conversations are going on right now on their Twitter page ñ take a look yourself @AJBombers.
From the outset social media was used to reach out and build connections with burger lovers in the local area, finding out exactly what they like and what they donít, and generally finding out how they could better serve the needs of their clientele. They started hosting events at the burger bar offering free beer and food to his followers and this created real buzz online.
It was at this point Joe Sorge discovered Foursquare, the geo-social networking platform that lets people earn points and badges by checking in at locations and sharing their movements with others via their
Facebook and Twitter accounts. Foursquare enabled him to offer incentives for customers to visit the restaurant and spend money. He started off by offering free peanuts to anyone who checked-in to AJ Bombers and a free burger to anyone who checked in enough times in one month to become the ìmajorî of the shop. This really got people coming back and buying more burgers.
Seeing the future importance of online reviews he also launched a ìtips and to-doî page on Foursquare which enabled customers to post messages about what their favourite meal is, how to get the best deal, what to avoid and just their general thoughts on the experience they had at AJ Bombers. The incentive for a user to write a review? A free cookie on their next visit.
And thirdly, for what would become the first of a series of special events Joe made a Foursquare event which enabled highly coveted ìSwarm badgesî (given by Foursquare when more than 30 people check in to a place at the same time) to be won by those checking-in. He would also donate a percentage of each meal sold to charity. 161 Foursquare users (25% of the local population that had Foursquare) showed up and more than doubled that days usual takings. Other than the increased revenue that day the customers tweeted, posted updates and videos about the experience they had. All good for brand perception and reach.
An average Facebook user has 150 friends, with Foursquare check-in updates posting directly to a personís Facebook wall this one event could have potentially reached 24,000 people! And what did it cost? Just a small percentage of profits to charity.
7 months after adding Foursquare to their social media strategy AJ Bombers doubled the revenue they made the 12 months before!
So where and how do you begin?
Any local business that hasnít considered social media as part of their overall marketing plan is seriously missing out. We can guarantee if you donít adopt a social media plan in the next year or so then you run the risk of being overtaken by your competitors. This is not scaremongering; you only have to look back over the last few years and remember what happened when people were saying the same about e-commerce and websites … well social media is the next evolutional stage of the wonderful world of the internet. Jump on board now and get first mover advantage over your competitors. It doesnít need to cost the earth.
If you would like any more information on how you can use social media to increase your sales and brand perception then please get in contact with us and weíd be happy to give you some free advice. We can help you plan and execute an all-encompassing marketing plan or just one around social media.
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