Four Calling Birds…

It’s Day 4 of the 12 Days of Branding. If you missed any of the series thus far, you can find them here. In today’s installment we’ve got an awesome case study on how to do things that work, plus I give you four new ways to use social media to build your brand (yep, I’m a giver).

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve heard by now that social media is where it’s at.

Outposts like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and yes, maybe even Google+ are some of the best ways to market your business, engage with potential (and actual!) customers, and build up your brand authority. So much has already been written elsewhere about how and why to make all of that happen, I won’t rehash it here.

What I will do is give you a great example of how one small business uses social media to build their brand effectively. Afterward, we’ll look at four unique social media tactics you can use to extend your brand.

First, the case study!

The Squeeze In Restaurant

SqueezeIn Logo When it comes to building your brand, experts agree that it’s important to be consistent: make sure your logo, your voice and your brand promise are presented the same way every where. But what’s more important than consistency is authenticity. Squeeze In has this part down pat.  They have a funky brand and logo that beautifully expresses the flavor of who they are. They’ve also got an outrageous guarantee: “You’ll love our food or it’s free!” (Not many restaurants will say that!) They’re very active on social media. Check out their profiles on Twitter, FaceBook, YouTube and FlickR and you’ll see how they engage with their audiences.

Here are just a few things you’ll notice right away:

But they don’t stop there.

They help their customers ‘feel the love.’ And it comes back to them in droves.

In fact, they’re so adored by their guests, that one customer even wrote a song about them. Check out this song that was written by an actual music producer (the video was made by Squeeze In to go with the song). Awesome.

When you can get others to (literally) sing your praises, you know you’ve got something good.

Are all the Squeeze In social media tactics at the heart of their success? Of course not. They’ve got a kick-ass product (“the best omelets in the world” according to customers), and over-the-top customer service.

They’ve also developed their own free smartphone app, and created the EggHead Breakfast Club (a custom loyalty program). They publish, print and mail a monthly newsletter to about 5,000 regional/local EggHead members (we have 21,235 members total) and give them special hookups, special surprises, private parties and handwritten thank you cards in the mail.

When was the last time you were at a restaurant that did all that?!

Squeeze In family

L to R: Chad Morris, Shila Morris (our daughter and son-in-law, business partners); co-owners Misty Young; daughter, Kay Young and hubby, Gary Young.

Misty Young, co-owner says “I am so in love with the Squeeze…is that weird to be in love with your business? I mean, I’m in love with my hubby too…. but the Squeeze? well….. it’s one of those things!” The passion that she and her husband share for their business bleeds over into every bit of how they work. Visit their website and check out the back story for more on why they love what they do. Misty goes on to say,

“We specialize in omelets, and our prices are at the high end for breakfast (cover average runs $14.30), we even have one omelette on our menu that is $21.99! And guess what? It sells, a lot! We market relentlessly. We realize our guests have many choices where they’ll go for breakfast or lunch. We have made it our business to establish ‘first place’ in their minds and we make it our business to stay in that position. Top of Mind.”

The take-away here is that social media can supplement and build on the foundations of a great business — but only if you use the tools as other ways to have conversations (not just push out marketing messages). Other experts agree. Lisa Barone of Outspoken Media advises, “People want to connect with other people. They’re not as interested in the brand as in the people behind it.”

Four Unique Ways to Extend Your Brand via Social Media

1. Be More Human. On your Facebook Fan Page settings, (see Edit Page | Your Settings) uncheck the Posting Preferences box that says “Always Comment and Post on your Page as ___.” This will allow you add the human element of your own voice and photo via your personal profile. Especially nice for commenting on a fan’s post or comment.

2. Let Your Brand Interact, too. When you want to post something on Facebook as your brand — even outside the confines of your page –you can just click the “Use Facebook as Your Page” option (located in two places: the upper right corner of the page itself and via a drop down arrow at the very top right of your Facebook window).

3. Repurpose Your Best Tweets/Posts. Did you tweet something profound? Or did one of your Twitter followers says something awesome about you?

First step: Favorite that tweet so you can come back to it later (click the star icon at the bottom of the tweet). Step 2: Do a screen capture of the tweet by first clicking the date/time stamp on the tweet so it opens in its own window, then press your print screen button (prt sc is usually located up at the top right of your keyboard). This has effectively copied your screen as an image and can be pasted anywhere you can paste an image (in an email, in your photo editing software, etc.). You can do the same thing with Facebook by clicking the time stamp at the bottom of the post. (If you use the Chrome web browser there’s a great free add-on called Awesome Screenshot you might want to check out.) A few ideas for using this are:

  • Embed in a relevant blog post (WordPress users with up-to-date versions of the platform can embed a live tweet directly, or you could use the Blackbird Pie plugin for WordPress instead. Both options allow folks to retweet or reply directly from the embedded tweet).
  • Include the image in your email newsletters or in individual emails to clients.
  • Add the image anywhere you want to tell a larger story (a print ad, a poster, a flyer)

4. Target Facebook wall posts to specific fans. When posting to your Fan Page as your brand, you have the option of targeting posts to specific fans by location and/or language. You can tell fans about a local event or send important updates to people about a disaster in a specific area. If you have fans who speak languages other than English thrill them with an update in their native language (if you’ve got that skill).

What did I miss? If you’ve got a tip to share, please add it in the comments below.