Making My Small Business Into a Social Business with Google+

Post by Ray 4 years ago - Google Plus Social Business - 10 Comments

Life before social media and social business…

Before I opened my very first restaurant, I worked for a number of years in theatre – primarily, musical theatre.

I was nervous about entering a field in which I had little experience other than the odd part time job as an actor/waiter.

  Restaurant Back of House Social Business

Then I hit upon the key to unlocking my strategy.

The restaurant, like the theatre has a back of house and a front of house.

 

The front of house is everything you see and come into contact with: host, servers, bar staff, ambiance etc.. (Tickets, ushers, actors, stage…)

The back of the house has chefs, cooks, managers, (Stage managers, lighting & set crew).

 

The front of house was all smiles and promises of a great meal or show.

The back was less smiley but as committed to making your experience memorable.

Front and back had to work together to succeed.

 

When things failed, it was inevitably due to bad communication, culture and management.

The best restaurants and theatres I worked in had a “culture” in common.

The show always went on and just meeting expectations was never enough.

 

What is Social Business?

 

There’s a lot of buzz around Social Business and it’s met with some skepticism by businesses and marketers alike.

Using social media doesn’t make a company a social business. 

A social business needs:

– to integrate social media tools across the whole organization 

– to strategize the use of those tools to best meet company goals 

– to have leaders champion a social culture that is collaborative and responsive. 

 

By doing things the same way they always have, companies are falling behind. 

The rush to Facebook by small businesses has been fuelled by a gold rush mentality.

Companies that have little understanding of social media, trip over themselves to keep up with their competitors.

Without a strategy, they’re all panning for fools gold.

 

How I’d transform my restaurant into a social business with Google Plus

 

Google Plus icon   

If I were managing a restaurant today, I’d be all over using social media and I’d start with Google+.

 

Front of house –

  • Search for local keywords and hashtags about similar products and services (and competitors) on Google+.
  • Circle and join G+ Communities then engage by commenting, answering questions and sharing helpful content.(and the occasional cat meme)
  • Find and nurture relationships with influencers.
  • Post helpful articles, images and videos relating to products/services
  • Host regular HangOuts where followers can get inside look at business, meet employees, or learn skills etc.
  • Create a Community for “members” where promotions, specials, hangouts, FAQ’s and resources can be shared.

 

Back of the house – 

  • Sign staff up for Google+ accounts as main communication channel
  • Hold HangOuts for new product introduction and training
  • Use Google Drive to collaborate on Schedules, menus and projects.
  • Create an editorial calendar for Google+ posts
  • Use the company website/blog as home base and nurture communities on other social sites.

 

Companies aren’t leading the social business movement, the public is. 

If you want to be where your customers are, you need to be on social media.

If you want them to be where you are, you need to be a social business.

 

Do you consider your company a social business?

(This post is an update to an earlier version:

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About Ray Hiltz

Thanks for dropping by. I'm the Director of Digital Marketing for Image-24.com. My background in business includes non-profit (performing arts), restaurants and Promotions. Having moved on from my own strategic consulting company, I now write about what interests me. So in this blog, you may read about my thoughts on marketing, health issues and business culture. You can follow me on Twitter @rayhiltz or @image24Call

10 Responses to “Making My Small Business Into a Social Business with Google+”

  1. Could you name, link, and describe the best social practices of five small businesses that are doing social business right on Facebook, G+, and Twitter?
    That would be helpful to understanding what social business is all about.

    Reply
  2. jonathansheppard1

    Ray, great article, i also use the analogy of back and front of house in my vocabulary, when it comes to talking about social business with clients, i think we have very similar backgrounds, and many of my clients past and present come to me from independent hotels and restaurants, sadly alot are looking at social media as the “golden egg” and one that will potentially save them from certain business death, too little too late, invariably the issues that have got them to this point of near death tend to be well set in and endemic. 
    While they want to become or be seen as “social businesses” many are looking for the quick win, i fear for these ones, however those who embrace the concept of social business, learn to develop a culture within the business around social, understand that small niche communities are far more productive than hoards of irrelevant followers, and crucially structure their teams around social, they will survive and prosper……

    Reply
    • jonathansheppard1 Well said, Jonathan. Developing any kind of culture is a long term. You didn’t become a bad company overnight and it will take more than a day to morph into a good one.
      As you say, the issues that got a company to the point where they’re looking to social media as a quick fix, are not the sort that can be solved with a FaceBook page.
      Though most won’t think of using social technology this way (Google+ for =example), they’d be better off to use the media in house to build a “social” internal community, then take it “outside”.
      Appreciate you stopping by.
      Thanks.

      Reply
  3. An excellent article, newraycom! I particularly like this paragraph:
    “The rush to Facebook by small businesses has been fueled by a gold rush mentality. Companies that have little understanding of social media, trip over themselves to keep up with their competitors.
    Without a strategy, they’re all panning for http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrite.”
    Strategy is what most brands miss when they start doing social media!

    Reply
    • cendrinemedia Thank you Cendrine. I recently heard an story from a Director of Marketing who represents a franchise of small food service businesses. When head office surveyed them to see if they wanted to participate on social media, they almost all said no. But they nearly all of them wanted to be on FaceBook because the restaurant next door was on it. 😉
      We’ve a long way to go….

      Reply
      • newraycom Yes, this reminds me of someone who recently was in one of my social media classes and mentioned that they didn’t want to get into social media because it seemed to be a lot of work.  
        When I asked them how they made their business work, they replied: “Well, that’s easy. I work hard.” 
        Need I say more? lol

        Reply
  4. This is very timely Ray as a friend of mine who owns a restaurant is having difficulty raising interest on their social sites. I will be passing along as they are having difficulty understanding the difference between simply marketing their services and reaching out to their customers in conversation.

    Reply
    • annelizhannan Hope you’re friend will find it helpful. Essentially, networking online is an extension of what you do offline. And in the case of a restaurant, the two overlap as it’s a “local” driven strategy.
      As the saying goes, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. The key planning, measuring, responding.

      Reply

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