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It’s Not About Numbers, It’s All About Engagement

Content leads to engagement leads to success in social media, not numbers.  Small businesses are a great of example of how you can build customers without thousands and thousands of Twitter followers and Facebook ‘likes’.  Here are a couple of examples of small businesses doing it right. 

El Gastronomo Vagabundo  

El Gastronomo Vagabundo (@elgastronomo) food truck hit the roads of Niagara’s wine district in Ontario in 2010, serving farm fresh salads and gourmet tacos all made from local produce and meat.  

Australian chef Adam Hynam-Smith and his partner Tamara Jensen describe their food as globally inspired and locally driven and they’ve built a dedicated following using Facebook, Twitter and Four Square who share their passion for serving locally grown, sustainable food.  They’ve developed partnerships with local businesses, including a winery, an heirloom vegetable grower and a local country meat shop, where they can park and sell their food.  

El Gastronomo does more than tweet out their location.  They have a high level of engagement by shining the light on local food producers and chatting with their followers on twitter as if they’re close friends.  From that they have built a following of 2,220 on Twitter, nearly 1000 fans on Facebook.  It may seem small potatoes to success stories like Creme Brulee Cart in San Francisco Bay Area which has ten times the Twitter followers but 20 times the population.

Last weekend, the couple left for a month in Adam’s native Australia and they’ll keep their fans engaged with a travelogue and their adventures in opening at a new food truck in Sydney. 

Advanced Office Solutions 

When Dave Shaw (@AOSDave) joined Twitter in October 2010 he had no idea how it would help him build on his multi-million dollar office technology business.   Twitter started as fun for him but quickly developed into a way of establishing personal connections with existing customers and finding new ones.  Shaw now estimates that social media generated an extra $100,000 in revenue in 2011 and he’s giving a lot more attention to using social throughout his business.  In fact, when AOS was looking for a new sales person one of the resumes that crossed his desk came from someone he followed on Twitter.  Although, he had little sales experience, Shaw hired him to build and run the company’s social media with a focus on getting all the staff at AOS involved. 

AOS staff are asked to write at least one blog posting a month and some are already writing more often.  They’re encouraged to write about what they know, not necessarily about AOS services and products.  Most have also joined twitter and the Twitter link from the website links to a search for #AOSGroup, which all the staff use.  Shaw is also in the process of giving all the sales staff iPads to replace computers so they can easily stay in touch with their social networks.  A $6.00 app links into the company’s CRM.  

A while ago I met a woman who owned her own cleaning company.  She didn’t see the point in using social media because she had nothing interesting to write about.  Then she talked about how she focused on helping seniors, many of whom she felt were being taken advantage of by large cleaning companies.  She saw herself more than cleaner, she was a friend. What a great story!