Lately I have been amazed by the number of small and local businesses not leveraging the powe of social media. Given the current economy, web 2.0 technology offers the most cost-effective form of advertising and brand building. However, a majority of local businesses still use traditional print, radio and TV advertising to reach a target market. These methods of advertising are expensive and difficult to keep updated.
During the summer, I live down the shore in Long Beach Island, New Jersey. LBI is full of bars, restaurants, hotels and retailers, all of which need to communicate with customers on a daily basis. Bars have nightly entertainment and drink specials, while restaurants have daily lunch specials and kids eat free nights. These businesses post weekly schedules of specials and events in LBI newspapers and magazine. They also broadcast messages on local radio stations and even (my personal favorite) fly a banner over the ocean with a specific message. All these methods get the word out, but in our current economy there are several cheaper and more effective methods.
The Sea Shell Club is a perfect example of an LBI business integrating web 2.0 technology into their marketing platform. I was skimming through an LBI news-magazine, The Sand Paper, and I came across a full page advertisement for The Sea Shell. It is a typical ad for a beach bar and hotel, except for the list of their MySpace, Facebook and Twitter links. Twitter is a perfect tool for businesses like The Sea Shell because it allows the promoter to quickly Tweet about nightly drink specials and musical performances from their laptop or mobile device. Fans and customers can follow The Sea Shell’s Twitter page and be updated on all upcoming/daily events and specials via a cell phone or computer. This means that customers can be tanning on the beach and instantly receive an update on their phone from The Sea Shell’s promoter about that nights performance. The Sea Shell now has three powerful and free tools for advertising and brand building.
This summer I hope to build off the success of The Sea Shell 2.0 and help other local shore businesses move into a new generation of marketing and promotions.