When I was very young and had bed time stories read to me I remember being very frustrated at the end. I could never be satisfied with the ending: "and they lived happily ever after". To me there was no such thing. The stories were like lives to me, there was so much more to tell! Did they have children? If so what were the children's names? Where did they go on vacations? Now as an adult thinking back, I realize that I thought that the whole idea of the phrase "and they lived happily ever after" was intellectually lazy. That thought of the never ending story is brought to real life in the marketing practices of any business. You can no longer think that the marketing strategies that you have had in place in the past will continue to work in today's economy and that you will live happily ever after. The story must go on.
Any business that is investing money in marketing is at a precipice right now. Many are looking at taking a leap into new and possibly very revealing marketing practices. The traditional tools of newspapers, radio ads, billboards etc, simply are not giving the returns that they used to. This is mainly because of two major factors; Technology and a cultural shift toward Internet based media. So it is up to the business to become more tech savvy in their practices and to embrace Internet based media. This is where we get to that precipice I spoke of earlier.
There are many resources available to retool your company to take advantage of the cultural shift towards Internet based media. There is Twitter, LinkedIn, facebook, You Tube, blogs, Google, Flickr and many, many more. Choosing wisely from these tools is a frightening prospect for those who are a bit technophobic and don't use these sites personally. Once you have picked which best suits your needs you need to learn to drive traffic to those online tools and then drive the traffic back to your front door. (That is the point of a good marketing strategy after all, right?) There are traditional ways to do these things and you can find many blogs on the subject. The smarter way is to kill two birds with one stone and ride the wave of another cultural shift: WiFi.
A managed WiFi Hotspot (as opposed to an open wireless router) will help you accomplish the two goals set forth above: Bring people to your front door and bring people to your Social Media Marketing tools. Offering WiFi is a proven way to attract people to your business and traditionally there is an additional boost in business is during off-peak hours. Once there, you can redirect them to the specific web page of your choice of Social Media tools. You can use this as a way to engage them while they are at your place and afterwards when they are back at their place. Once you use the Hotspot to feed your pages fans, utilize these pages to keep people up to date with your specials, services etc. But be sure to listen to the people as well. These pages can also be a great opportunity for you to find out issues at locations that you may not be aware of, but that your customers have been speaking about online. Many already know of and learned from the story of United and the broken guitar.