Staying in business for many years is not an easy task, especially for a small business. One has to constantly adjust, change, compromise and be ready for the unexpected, while doing clever advertising and marketing. A small business has to be extremely careful with its financial resources, as one wrong decision might jeopardize your entire existence. Glenn Pattison, owner of Clean-State Painting has managed to stay in business for almost three decades. He went through a number of metamorphosis during those years. The company started off with carpet cleaning, moved then to house painting and is now specializing in kitchen cabinet painting. For the last three years he has had a workshop in Waterloo, Ontario, while before he was just working out of his garage. “There was no need for a workshop, we mostly drove to people’s homes and worked there. I just needed a storage place for my equipment.”, he says. But since the business switched to kitchen cabinet painting, he needed actual work space. He still drives to people homes, but the kitchen doors and drawers get spruced up in the shop.
There is no better feeling than having your skin hydrated, cared for and clean while using products that support a value, cause or lifestyle you align yourself with – organic, natural, environmentally friendly, cruelty-free, ethically responsible, or all of the above.
Beep. Ding. Swoosh. Those are the sounds that fill our office spaces, coffee shops…or any place that has people for that matter. There is no denying we live in a world where most of us have our eyes buried in our phones, are constantly on the go and can admit that taking our phone to the bathroom has become normal practice – we don’t want to miss a thing! Because of this need to always be connected and have information right at our fingertips, customers have, now more than ever, a stronger, louder voice – and depending on who they are – a big influence. In an effort to keep customers happy or informed, quick response rates have skyrocketed and started to become a vital practice in social media management and an integral part of an overall social media customer service strategy. “In fact, 90% of people surveyed have used social in some way to communicate directly with a brand. What’s more, social surpasses phone and email as the first place most people turn when they have a problem or issue with a product or service.” – Sprout’s consumer survey, 2016. It may sound like a time-consuming task, but it shows customers that their inquiries are important and a company cares about what they have to say or share. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! Next, according to freelance writer and Business News Daily Contributor, Danielle Corcione, building real customer relationships, using a hashtag, focus on creating a customer advocate base, and creating an opportunity for referrals are four ways a business can use social media for customer service success. Obviously, the goal of a company should be to increase the bottom line, but it should not be the focus. Building a solid, loyal customer base that will continually come back (maybe even for generations), who will advocate for your product or service, and make them feel like they are part of a ‘brand family’ should be a close second goal. In my own experience, when I shared a post or tweet about my favourite product and tagged the company, and the company interacted with me, I was positively impacted and now inclined to go back or share their information on my social media channels. I felt heard and like I had some influence.
From a marketing perspective, being able to distinguish your brand in a sea of competition is a difficult challenge. That being said, if you are the brand, this task takes on a much more strategic and personal dynamic. You are putting your personal interpretations and artistic creativity on display in an open forum for all to see. It can be an extremely daunting and vulnerable process. Your success as a artist/business, relies heavily on your ability to tell your story in a way that allows the consumer to relate to you, and your artwork. Such is the challenge for Joanna Gresik, a Canadian abstract artist by night and corporate interior designer by day, living and working in Toronto, Ontario. Joanna creates paintings that are inspired by the energy and life of towns and cities shown through sharp lines, carefully crafted colour palettes and gestural abstract expressionist marks. Joanna has a unique ability to see architecture and landscape through a different lense , and even more impressive is her ability to express those interpretations onto a canvas. With the emergence of social media as a trusted marketing tool for businesses over the last decade or so, it comes as no surprise that these same social media channels now play an important role for small business owners and artists just like Joanna. By providing a platform and a vehicle for messaging, social media marketers can now reach a wider more specific target audience with their products and services. Joanna understands the importance of creating such relationships and quickly determined that these interactions were essential for her growth, not only as an artist, but also as a business person.
The supply chain plays a pivotal role in the overall success of an organization, but even more so in the fresh food sector. Restaurants and other food related operations are always looking at ways to cut costs and maximize profits in the most effective and efficient methods possible. Whether it be healthcare, restaurant chains or even small mom and pop type restaurants, GFS understands that managing all those moving parts can be an overwhelming aspect of doing business. GFS is the largest family operated distributor in North America that has been running for over 115 years and services restaurants, universities, healthcare and a variety of other foodservice operations. Logistics and supply chain challenges have been at the core of the GFS company fabric since it’s establishment in 1897, but being able to manage the supply chain and its intricacies in 2017 is a different dynamic entirely. In addressing this fundamental concern, GFS developed “GFS Connect” with the goal of providing the customer total traceability and accountability anywhere, anytime in an easy and convenient way: “GFS Connect Mobile is the companion application to GFS Connect, offering you access to the same information on a mobile device. This one-of-a-kind tool lets you run your business on the go, anytime, anywhere. It’s the first and only mobile application available to food service operators throughout Canada – and it’s easy and convenient to use.”- GFS Canada Website
When actor Chris Hemsworth is not on screen swinging Thor’s hammer, you can usually find him in the gym crushing a weight training workout with Luke Zocchi of Zoco Body Pro. Hemsworth uses Zocchi’s expertise to get in shape for major movie roles, but Zoco Body Pro’s target market is the regular joe. Having A-list clients was enough to attract viewers to the company’s social media, but they have stayed for the incredible content. Zoco body pro has used their social media presence to create a new avenue for a business that started as a personal training, and while they still do that, their new market is global. When training local clients, Luke prefers hands on training. Some people like to be yelled at, that old-school, drill sergeant approach, but I normally train alongside the people I work with and that’s how I like to do it. This strategy is excellent for customers lucky enough to live near Zoco Body Pro, but the company has made a move on social media that will also help potential customers that can’t travel to “The Iron Temple”. They have recently launched a program called Twenty40 training that allows anyone on Earth to try the same workout regimen that has produced world famous results. This is an online venture that provides customers with step by step instructions on how to sculpt their goal physique, as well as giving nutrition tips to help fuel the new body. Zoco Body Pro uses many aspects of social media effectively to run their organization, and this new program will help spread their fitness message world wide.
If you were using social media for personal or business use in Canada during the summer of 2016, you will have no doubt heard at least something about The Tragically Hip. The favoured Canadian band was touring in what likely would be their last, due to frontman Gord Downie’s onset of brain cancer. Concerts sold out and media of all sorts took note of what was developing into a notable time in our country’s music and lifestyle history. As the final concert came to pass in August – complete with the attendance and interaction of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – an influential social media phenomenon was occurring. Ensight Canada reported, “In addition to multiple trending topics throughout the weekend of the concert, social media posts about The Hip and (Gord) Downie’s First Nations comments generated roughly 20 million potential impressions across Canada over the past week. What’s really telling is that Canada has about 14 million daily Facebook users, so when we look at the impressions generated, we can conclude almost everyone in the country who used the internet or social media came in contact with the story in some way.”
To take a picture is to capture a moment in time. Each captured image has the potential to carry its own unique feeling through time, and bring you back with happiness and wonder to the origins of that moment.1 “I grew up around lenses, my dad worked in television and seeing life through a lens seemed more real to me” 2 says Paula Capella. Paula Capella Photography not only captures those precious moments, but uses social media to capture important information to help grow her small business.
Today’s marketing landscape is ever changing, and with it, the way we engage with our customers. It is no longer about selling a service or a product; now it is all about the customer experience. Companies like T by Daniel, a Brampton based tea house, strive to provide a genuinely exceptional experience for each and every person they meet. Lovers of tea, fashion and especially people, Daniela and Renata Lewis had a vision to start something that could speak to all generations and could bring people together 1. It began when Daniel Lewis overcame a tragedy and used his new found passion for life to follow his dream with his loving wife by his side. “From the moment a person walks into our store, our immediate goal is to wow them” says Renata Lewis, co-founder. Their friendly staff focus on getting to know their customers, whether in person or online.
How the Communitech incubator in Waterloo ON, is leveraging social media to market its services to Silicon Valley North start-ups in need of just the right guidance to get their big idea off the ground.
Title of Post: Clicks, Tweets and Likes: What is a Small Business to Measure? Organisation Name: Augies Gourmet Ice Pops Industry: Speciality Food Name of Contact : Janet Dimond, Owner Web references: Forbes, Inc., The Small Business Expert Academy , Sound Cloud, Wikipedia, Buffer, Investopedia, Social Times, Vimeo, YouTube, The Toronto Star, Hootesuite, Google images, CMO Survey, Wiktionary, Twitter, Business Dictionary, The reason(s)… Read more »
Company Name: Outdoor Edutainment, LLC Industry: Educational Gaming Contacts: Kristin Peppel, Management, Design, Advocacy, Sales Web References: Official Appalacian Trail Game Site, New Appalachian Trail Game Receives Full Funding Through Kickstarter in 48 Hours!, Hike the Appalachian Trail in your living room with new game, Kickstarter Campaign, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Mark Hanf is a middle school teacher, an avid hiker… Read more »
Taking the Pain Out of Product Development Organization Name: Ready2Grow Consulting Industry: Business Consulting Founder/Owner: Lois Raats Web references: Ready2Grow, FastCompany.com, Freedictionary.com, John Dragoon, Forbes.com, FastCoCreate.com, THINK BACK What is your earliest memory? Now really, really think back. It’s tough because today we’re all very focused on thinking about the future, what’s to come that we forget even what’s in front… Read more »
Organizations: Business in Bare Feet, Nano-Nouvelle, Owner Media Group, Publet, TalentVine Industry: B2B Marketing Name of Contacts: Mark Phillips – Business in Bare Feet; Stephanie Moroz – Nano-Nouvelle; Chris Brogan – Owner Media Group; Christie Nicholson – Publet; Justin Falk – TalentVine, Web References: Publet Website, Christie Nicholson Nano-Nouvelle Website, Stephanie Moroz LinkedIn, TalentVine Website, Justin Falk LinkedIn, Business in Bare Feet Website,… Read more »
Organization Name: Wildcoast Adventures Ltd. Industry: Tourism – Kayaking Adventures Name of Contact: Kristen Mucha, Owner Web References: Marketing Examples, Wildcoast Website, Wildcoast Twitter, Louis L’Amour, Wild West, Wildcoast YouTube, Wildcoast Facebook, Wildcoast Pinterest, Stumbleupon, Wildcoast Google+, content marketing, SM marketing tips, Stumbleupon, Nielson White Paper, Flying the Nest Description: You may have heard we are still in the Wild… Read more »
Organization Name: snapd Inc. Industry: Publishing Contacts: Dawne Taylor-Gilders, Owner/Publisher/Editor at snapd KW Sean Gilders, Co-Owner & VP Marketing & Sales snapd KW Andrea Dunn, snapd Director of Social Media Web References: snapd As part of my UWaterloo online course; Social Media For Business Performance, students are required each week to do a case study/blog post pertaining to our… Read more »
Business name: Tracx Industry: Social Media Management and Marketing Intelligence Contact: Reinhardt Schuhmann, Product Manager Description Tracx is a NYC-based company with a SaaS platform for sophisticated brand marketers who want to manage their social media presence. The company provides an end-to-end solution that indexes the entire social web and captures a 360 degree view of activity around a brand. This… Read more »
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… Read more »
Title of Post: The Ice Cream Supply Chain begins with a Rural Route (RR) 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 When I first started researching this blog I was thinking of supply chain in the sense of the… Read more »
Organization: Royal Bank of Canada Industry: Bank/Financial Institution Believe it or not, one of my earliest childhood memories is of the Royal Bank. Every week I accompanied by mom to ‘the bank’ (there was only one in town so we didn’t have to be any more specific). As a child whose favourite pastime was playing office, ‘the bank’ was an… Read more »
Title of Post: Rick Mercer Rants … err…. Raves about Blueberry Pie Ice Cream Organization Name: Sauble Trading Post – Ice Cream Parlour and General Store Industry: Tourism Sector Retail Name of Contact: Kim Mizen, Owner Web References: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sauble-Trading-Post/110886705613099 The best ideas may come from where you least expect them. Accenture Inc., released a position paper titled “The Next Digital Wave: Using Social… Read more »
Title of Post: Maintaining customer engagement as a seasonal small business Organization Name: Sauble Trading Post – Ice Cream Parlour and General Store Industry: Tourism Sector Retail Name of Contact: Kim Mizen, Owner Web References: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sauble-Trading-Post/110886705613099 How do we create greater customer loyalty, retention and devotion to a product using social media? This is the key question for small… Read more »
Organization Name: Sauble Trading Post – Ice Cream Parlour and General Store Industry: Tourism Sector Retail Name of Contact: Kim Mizen, Owner and CFO Web References: https://www.facebook.com/sauble.post There is nothing I hate more than going into a store to buy something and being served by a store clerk that is too busy chatting on their cell phone to provide decent customer… Read more »
With the amalgamation of Social Media into general marketing strategies, ‘Being Social’ is no longer seen as an option but rather a requirement in the business world. The most trusted form of marketing has for decades been word of mouth and social media offers this on a number of platforms for businesses to readily engage. A study performed by McKinsey… Read more »
Organization name: Moksha Yoga Hamilton Web references: www.mokshayogahamilton.com http://www.youtube.com/user/mokshahamilton https://www.facebook.com/pages/Moksha-Yoga-Hamilton/109394885759082 Description of how social media is used for business performance: Moksha Yoga Hamilton staff members participate in one of four committees, each aimed at using engagement tactics to have a greater impact on the business and in the community at large. These teams communicate, network and recruit through the use… Read more »