I'm quite away from the workshops' stage, these days, because of several reasons that many readers of my blog already know.
As first, I took a holiday away from Africa, after long time in Tanzania: it has been the chance to see several sides of my job of designer from a different perspective and in a different context... I came back with fresh ideas and plenty of inspiration, that are making a great difference in the quality of my work. But I'll talk about this another time...
Now I'd like to share with you the second challenge that is keeping me so busy. For the first time in my life, I'm an entrepreneur!
Ok. No. Stop!!! I'm not involved in any kind of tech start-up, God bless me from any new way of feeding my (pretty unhealthy) addiction to the laptop. I'm walking quite another way - the "food & drink service" (aka "restaurant"), which looks such different from Information Technology, but at the end of the day... it's business the same way.
So, here I am. Being still exactly who I've always been, an Internet geek, my assignments are not dealing with the kitchen and the bar. For part of the time, at least!
I go straight to the point. The fact of being a web professional since long time and the owner of a new restaurant at the same time put me in a kind of position - I mean, all the advices and lessons that I usually give to clients or to people learning "social media"... finally are being tested on my own things, day by day. It's up to me, now, to check if the strategies I use to sell are actually effective. Or oooops!
Besides, several times I've been asked the huge question: "Damn! Isn't it complicated to advertise this new place? How did you do?". I reply: "Almost just Facebook". People don't believe, but nothing magic, really.
However it goes, I'm keeping track of everything I do, of the budget spent for marketing, and most of all I'm monitoring results. I'm quite happy with the first month of online branding activity for Green Masai (this is the name of the restaurant), so I'm going to explain how I did. Hoping that it could be useful for other people starting small business!
Basic Web & Social Media Branding Strategy
for Green Masai Restaurant
- Website of the restaurant >> Very simple, set up in a couple of days. Just the logo and a juicy look & feel, aside a few very essential info (access map, menu, contacts, list of services...). Exactly what people clicking from other websites need to know.
- Listing in websites and directories >> Zoom Tanzania, TripAdvisor, Wikitravel, Google Places, and a few other. Just ones which are more relevant locally and/or about the business area.
- Facebook Fanpage >> This is the key point of interaction with the public. I paid lot of attention to post something almost everyday, preferring pictures shot here-on-the-moment. Just to let people to "taste" the restaurant's everyday life!
- Contextual Ads on Facebook >> Matter of time optimization. A small budget allocated to sponsored news on Facebook boosted the number of followers in just a few days!
- Offline Promotion >> Minimum, very targeted. Mostly some flyers left in a couple of places...
- Staff Involvement >> On the very short term, involvement of the staff (owners, managers, employees) has been very effective, online and offline. On social media, showing our faces related to Green Masai brand and taking advantage of our friends network helped a lot.
- Budget >> Do you really want to know the budget that we invested for promotion? Ok. More than 50$. Less than 100$. Would have been the same without this small investment in advertising? Definetly not. That's all!
What about the results achieved till now?
It's a bit early to decide if it's success whether not. But some comments on-the-run can be already done!
The most evident result is that, despite no traditional advertising has been done, many people already know about the restaurant. A good percentage, because of Internet. On the social media side, a very fast jump from zero to over 500 followers in less than a month, with a regular interaction rate - messages coming to the mailbox, likes, comments... Feedback about the website is mostly word of mouth: "Nice, it's easy and it's possible to find what it takes".
At least, do people who saw Green Masai on Facebook come for a dinner for really? Well... we had to wait some weeks. Word of mouth seemed to be much more effective on the short term. All the time spent around social media is starting to give results after about one month: visit and reviews by local bloggers, reservations by groups based on social media...
Something curious? Many clients, at the end of the dinner: "... and I don't even know how I knew about this place. I mean, there is not advertising around!". Dear client... are you sure that there is not advertising around?
This should be just the beginning. We'll see what is going to happen!
P.S. Below I leave links to some articles about marketing on Social Media, that I wrote for my office's Blog. Have a look, if you're interested in the topic.