With so many social media and restaurant review sites how is the busy restaurateur supposed to keep up? How can he or she stay out of the weeds yet still make time to utilize these tools to add value to their business? Try Fanvertising.
Fanvertising is a term I learned from my good friend Jeb Banner of Small Box Web Design. He and his team are proven experts at utilizing web applications to boost business and deliver the right message to current customers and potential customers. He wrote about the concept of Fanvertising in one of his blogs in the spring earlier this year. It is a phenomenon that I myself had witnessed, participated in and encouraged others to participate in, but I had no name or label to assign to this practice. So what is Fanvertising? Here is Jeb's official definition: Fanvertise- when a person or "fan" promotes third party goods or services without direct compensation.
I am sure that many are aware of the adage that you don't hear from people unless something goes wrong. Fanvertising is the polar opposite of this belief. Make things so incredible that people cannot help but tell the world about it! Let's face it, humans love to express their opinions. The Internet has only magnified this semi-narcissistic tendency to the Nth degree. Tap into that need that people have to express themselves and use it to your advantage. People will blog about their experience at your place, Tweet about it, Yelp about it and Facebook about it.
So how do you go about utilizing the phenomenon of Fanvertising? Jeb has summed it up in a 3 step process:
"Fanvertising Step #1. Be awesome at what you do, you cannot suck. You have to have the happiest customers on earth or at least in your industry. In being the best you will give your customers the emotional foundation for singing your praises via every channel at their disposal.
Customer service should be treated as a marketing expense, not an afterthought. Happy customers will bring you more customers. This is true in the B2B and B2C worlds.
Instead of focusing on selling your product or service, focus on making your current customers happy. They will then do the selling for you. This is the core of Fanvertising. Don't think about new customers until you have taken care of your current ones.
Fanvertising Step #2. Be an enabler. Give them the tools to tell their stories, not your story. Your story doesn't matter that much on its own. It only has real impact when combined with a customer's story- "I've spent years looking for a good carpet cleaning service and now I've found it in XYZ Company. Check out their website, Facebook page, etc- here. Highly recommended!". If you don't have easy ways for your fans to Fanvertise your company then they will most likely move on and not get around to it. Make it super easy.
Fanvertising Step #3. Say "thank you". Don't ignore feedback, good or bad, acknowledge it. Engage in a conversation if it's bad. Spread it around if it's good. Remember what the Bible says- "Let others praise you", just don't forget to say "thanks!"."
So go forth, Fanvertise and you will prosper! You will get back far more in customer relationship clout than you would via traditional marketing methods.