Reaching the Beach with Foursquare: Measuring from Zero

Sauble Trading Post    November 2, 2014

Drive on beach2

Title of Post:  Reaching the Beach with Foursquare: Measuring from Zero

Organization Name:  Sauble Trading Post – Ice Cream Parlour and General Store

Industry: Tourism Sector Retail

Name of Contact:  Kim Mizen, Owner

Web References: Sauble Trading Post Facebook

Built in 1934, a General Store has been serving cottagers and day trippers in South Sauble Beach for decades.  The current owners and management team of the Sauble Trading Post have tracked metrics for 14 years.  The metrics include number of customers per day, average spend, total sales, weather temperature, sun and precipitation patterns.  We can look at the weather forecast, review the daily sales from 2001 – 2013 and predict within +/- 3% what our sales will be for the day.  We use the data to plan our inventory levels and our staffing requirements based on the historic data.  Collecting, analyzing and measuring statistical data is not a new process for the Sauble Trading Post, but utilizing the power of Social Media is new.

I looked to New York City for at a unique ice cream business case study.  In the case study, the owner, Doug Quint started with an ice cream truck in 2007, opened two store fronts in 2011, and expanded to Los Angles and Philadelphia in 2014.  I was most interested in the case study when Quint, spoke about the value and importance of social media metrics using Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare as promotion tools.  He provides two key pieces of advice: take a look at how other business are using social media before you jump in and don’t sign up with an application until you are comfortable.  Let’s take a look at the Social Small Biz video, “Can social media sell Big Gay Ice Cream?”

I like this case study because the owners believe that the experience of eating ice cream should be fun – and I agree whole-heartedly!

Social Media is a new world for the Sauble Trading Post. The Sauble Trading Post has been operating for 80 years on word of mouth and some localized signage.  At this point in time, the Sauble Trading Post has a facebook page with 301 friends, and a “Local business” page that hangs off my main facebook page.  In researching  this blog, I learned that Facebook has an “Insight” tab that helps me understand who is in my audience and provides metrics about the gender, age, and home city.  The Insight tools provides metrics for positive interactions (likes, comments, shares and clicks) and negative interactions (hide post, hide all posts, report as spam, unlike page) into a post-specific score card.  This information will let me evaluate positive and negative metrics side-by-side for each post.  I can also learn about people interacting with our page and see how content resonates with different audiences. The scorecard below is the starting point for my on-line metrics.

Fan page insight

Lessons Learned:

Until recently, I didn’t even know Foursquare existed. My nine-year old son was playing with my Blackberry Z10.  He click on the Foursquare application and found the “Trading Post” listed as a “shop” on the map.  We have never signed up for the service, but I see a real opportunity to use this tool to attract the thousands of sun worshippers to our store. The Sauble Trading Post has a growth opportunity in the day-tripper market of people who drive to Sauble Beach from Southern Ontario destinations, pick up their mobile device and search for things to do.

We are located on seven kilometres of driveable beach – our stretch of beach is the ONLY BEACH that allows cars to drive and park at the water’s edge.  This is a truly unique feature in Ontario and the Sauble Trading Post is one of three retail locations on this seven kilometre stretch.  My objective is to get the day trippers off the beach and in my store.  The Foursquare application aligns with my business objectives because it  automatically locates my business on a map, shows the user the mileage and driving directions and hopefully, will deliver customers to my door.

I reached out to the Ellen Farrow, Co-founder of Avenue A  Advertising to discuss an integrated social media strategy for the Sauble Trading Post.  We both agree that there is a gap in terms of our on-line presence.  We need to build a website as a primary tool in our on-line advertising strategy and then drive all applications back to the website, including Facebook, LinkedIn (as a “store proprietor”), Twitter and Foursquare.  Once the infrastructure is in place we can begin to leverage the data provided by Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

With a website in place, we will also be able to connect with the government-funded programs driven by the Sauble Beach Chamber of Commerce, Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership, and Bruce County Tourism. Listen to the “Explore the Bruce” radio ad below.  This is original audio produced by Ellen Farrow and Avenue A as part of the integrated “Explore the Bruce” Adventure passport.  The Sauble Trading Post has an opportunity to partner with local Explore the Bruce integrated marketing as soon as we are re-built and have an on-line presence.

I asked Ellen for some advice on where to begin my social media journey and how to translate my social media traffic into customer traffic to our bricks and mortar store.

The first piece advice is about the WIX “do it yourself” web builder.

The second piece of advice relates to the power of Google+ for search engine optimization.

I am starting with a performance measurement baseline a “zero”.  The only direction from here is up. We look forward to integrating our bricks and mortar store front and our on-line business and start measuring our success one click at a time.


Beyond Followers and Fans: Social Media Marketing Metrics That Matter, Small Business

How to Use Social Media Metrics to Increase Your Business, Social Media for Dummies

News for Page Owners: The New Version of Page Insights is Here, Facebook for Business

Social Media Metrics for Small Business, Proactive Report

The Social Media Metrics That Should Matter To Small Businesses, Hootsuite

Submitted By:  Kim Mizen, Sauble Trading Post

To Contact the author of this entry please email

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Programme Director, Social Media for Business Performance.