Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Angle of Attack

Starting out with a fresh Facebook page, you want as many fans as quickly as possible.  The easiest way to get that is let people who visit the Gumbo Shop to know that you, indeed, do have a Facebook page and that they should Like it to keep up-to-date on the goings on at their favorite restaurant ever.  These people are likeliest to not only Like the page, but actually maintain that interaction with the page.

But what about the people who don't already go to the Gumbo Shop on a semi-regular basis?  On the vast Internets, there are plenty of opportunities for one to come across your business online.

Search Engines
There are different ways you can try to ensure that your business shows up for a given search.  At the very least, however, you should be ensuring that the information is up-to-date and spend some time to add some media such as pics.  These guys are increasingly conglomerating more data from other websites as well to try to give as much information to people as possible.  Therefore, checking out search results for your business will show you what other sites people may come across as they're searching more generic terms like "Cajun" or "Fried Catfish."

Business Listing Websites
Speaking of websites that people may come across before they hit your business's website or Facebook page, there is a plethora of websites that index data from databases and allow users to update data and provide whatever information may be applicable to a business.  For restaurants in particular, there is an insane amount of Menu sites (SinglePlatform being a more recent one), review sites, or just meta sites collecting all that stuff together.
Probably the biggest monster out there is Yelp.com.  They get so much traffic, they are almost sure to be the first couple hits if someone is searching for a particular item, or in the Gumbo Shop's case, a dish like "Blackened Catfish" in the St. Louis area.  Not only that, many people go straight to sites like Yelp or Urbanspoon without even bothering with the search engines.  These sites help people make conclusions whether they are going to check out a restaurant on their data alone, without even bothering to visit your website or Facebook page.  

Same with the search engines, keeping this data up-to-date is the least you should do.  Going all out on Yelp.com, however, means putting your own personal self out there to interact with those pesky Yelpers, but that's another post.

Online Advertising
Finally, what is perhaps the most obvious, is online advertising.  According to emarketer.com, Google has an almost 50% market share, where Facebook has below 10%.  So what would make one choose to advertise on Facebook than on Google?
To be honest, it takes far less effort to advertise on Facebook than on Google.  With Facebook, you create an ad, filter out some demographics because people put almost all their likes/dislikes/hopes/dreams on Facebook, and just fling it out there.  Google involves trying to figure out the actual behavior of the people you're going after and, on top of that, you actually need to do some photo-editing unless you're perfectly content with a plain text ad, and let's be honest, text isn't usually what draws you to an ad.

NEXT TIME, I'll finally talk about the thoughts that went into putting up my first Facebook Ad for the Gumbo Shop and talk about its performance.