The Facebook Yellow Pages

I ran into an interesting article over at the Social Media Examiner that really got me to thinking. The article provides a lot of great tips and starting points for a business wondering just what to do with this Facebook (or whatever else!) page they’ve just created. Given the source, it’s no surprise they’ve taken the idea that you want to be as involved in social media as possible for granted. But does every business really need to have an extensive online presence? After all, every page a small business owners sets up is one more thing they have to worry about and put time into running. Add to that the fact that there are armies of social media users online just itching to do your work for you and you have a bit of a conundrum. Don’t know what I’m talking about? I’ll share a small example: The Rice Bowl.

This is a very small little restaurant here in Omaha, just off California & Saddle Creek. Their food is cheap but generally regarded as pretty good, and the service is extremely fast. Although I knew all this before sitting down to write this post, I could have learned just as much (maybe more!) on its Urban Spoon Page, where 84% of respondents have liked the restaurant and there is a ton of information. As far as I can find, the restaurant has no “official” online presence, but it’s there on Google Maps, Yelp…you can just about pick your poison on this one, the entire first page of Google results for “rice bowl omaha” is all the different restaurant and business information sites that are cropping up. And this is for a hole in the wall place that would be hard-pressed to fit 40 people in.

So while Rice Bowl and places like it might benefit from some kind of official presence, there’s not much of a compelling reason for them to be having Facebook contests or tweeting all day – it doesn’t fit their image, and it’s time out of serving great Chinese food to customers. As the Social Media Examiner rightly points out, to be successful in social media you need a plan, you need dedication, and you need a measurable goal. If that doesn’t sound like the kind of thing you’re up for after an exacting day of actually running your business, hold off a moment. Chances are the customers that love what you do are already doing your work for you.

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