Part 1 of a 2 part series on Social Media and Marketing
Social media means Twitter posts and Facebook statuses. It means Google+ and LinkedIn, and Pinterest too, right? With companies as large as GE and as small as the local whole foods grocer running social media accounts, today’s modern business world would say so.
In the past decade the market has become inundated with Social Media management programs as well as seen the creation of the job title “Social Media Manager.” This flood of information and ideas has made it easy to simply fall in line and perform your company’s social media just like everyone else.
But one San Diego small business is proving that the most obvious course of action isn’t always the best.
Originally moving to San Diego in order to pursue his love of cycling year round, it wasn’t long before Stu Clott found himself working in a local bike repair shop. His experiences there taught him the ins and outs of the bike repair industry in San Diego, and it wasn’t long after that he began his own business.
On January 1st, 2010, Clott launched Anywhere Bicycle Repair. You might think the odds would be stacked against him – a one man business against the already established repair market – and you’d almost certainly be right.
But Clott brought something to the table that his competitors didn’t: social marketing.
Not just Twitter, and Facebook, but true social marketing. Every Saturday morning Clott purchased dozens of bananas and bottles of water and trekked out to popular cycling spots such as Torrey Pines. Here he would hand out the protein filled fruit and water to passing cyclists, and use the opportunity to talk to them about his business, or do a minor repair on their bike when needed.
The word spread, and soon the local cyclists found themselves on a first name basis with this banana-wielding entrepreneur and his upstart business.
Clott exceled most because of his approach to social marketing. Beyond Google+ and LinkedIn, he found the power of addressing your customers face to face.
Clott’s strategy became so effective he continues it to this day, purchasing around twenty dozen bananas a week and meeting an average of four hundred cyclists each weekend.
“Of those four hundred, about fifty percent are consistent customers,” said Clott. “We see them every weekend and it keeps us in the forefront of their minds. Since we’re out there and talking with them, they’re more inclined to schedule an appointment to come in.”
Since he first began Anywhere Bicycle Repair in 2010, the company has grown to include a brick and mortar store (located at 7292 Opportunity Rd) and a mobile repair truck equipped with everything needed to conduct on-site repairs. Business is booming. And aside from genuine passion for his work and the quality of the repairs performed, Clott can attribute this success to his grassroots social marketing strategy.
Clott continues the policy of connecting with his customers on a personal level in his storefront. “Selling and repairing is what normal shops do. I don’t care if customers walk out without buying something, but if they walk out and we didn’t connect with them, don’t know what their life is about, then we’ve dropped the ball.”
Though it may not always be viable for large companies to connect with each of their customers on a personal level, I firmly believe today’s modern marketers can learn a lot from Clott and Anywhere Bicycle Repair.
In a world where digital marketing dominates the market, and social media websites are praised for reaching customers on a personal level, there’s definitely room for some good old fashioned face to face marketing.
Social media is praised for how it connects with customers on a one-on-one basis, but that tends to overshadow the fact that it is still effective, perhaps even more so, to connect with customers on a face to face basis.
As said by Clott, “Know your customer and you’ll earn their business.”
So what do you think, readers? Is face to face, social marketing still a viable strategy? Do you think combining it with social media will boost your business?
Let us know!
For more on Stu Clott and Anywhere Bicycle Repair, you can visit them online here.