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Do you know the old Diner tradition of putting photos of loyal, happy customers on the wall? Well, the digital age version of that might be how some great business websites, blogs and social networks are dotted with photos, videos or written reviews from happy customers.

So how do you, as a small business owner, make room for “audience participation” in your marketing plans? Sometimes it’s as simple as keeping up with the social networks you have already built and making sure you are engaging with folks. You can also take some measures to make sure you are encouraging positive feedback. Great reviews and kind words from your customers speak loudly for your business and the real, down-to-earth human element is really what social marketing is about.

Check out these examples for some simple ways to make the most out of the support your business gets from it’s happy customers!

Audrey’s Pet Supplies & Services’ Facebook Page features and acknowledges the frequent customer submissions featuring happy pups and their new treats, supplies, clothes and toys from the shop!

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from your customers and see if they want to share it publicly or even be featured. You might already know your regulars who would definitely be game, or you might have some new friendly faces stop in or attend events.
  • If someone is really excited about a purchase, or mentions how happy they were with their last visit to your shop, why not see if they want to write up a quick comment for you to share on your website?

Women’s boxing gym Striking Beauties features customer testimonials on their website. Testimonials can be gathered through email, but also can be quoted from sites like Yelp, CitySearch, Google Places and your Facebook page. Heck, even a nice tweet might be worth throwing up there.

Why not ask enthusiastic event attendees if they are comfortable being filmed for a couple moments, sharing their one-line review or discussing the new menu in a video clip?

Bottles really shines by using video, featuring short clips, like this one: in 15 seconds a customer who works at a local museum shares why she’s grateful for their wine tastings. It doesn’t need to be long, involved, or perfectly produced or edited to be effective!

With the success of sites like Yelp, it’s clear that people enjoy going online to review and share their experiences socially. It’s possible for you to harness that social sharing urge, by inviting that kind of public engagement. Just be sure to ask permission for their contribution to appear on your blog and networks and don’t forget to say Thank You!

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As part of Upserve’s family of more than 10,000 restaurants, The Chef is Restaurant Insider’s secret weapon in the kitchen. As a restaurant expert in all things marketing, menu building, management, training and more, restaurateurs trust The Chef and the award-winning Restaurant Insider to dish out the ingredients needed to make your business a sweet success.