Are you a small business owner in Tasmania? You may well have realised that simply having a physical store and relying on word-of-mouth is no longer enough to ensure you’re trading at capacity.
Once it was enough to set-up shop, maybe pop an ad in The Mercury, and wait for the residents of Hobart to eventually discover your presence.
According to a recent Tasmanian Government report “there are over 36,000 small businesses in the state contributing to our economic growth by providing essential products and services; small businesses are the engine room of the Tasmanian economy.”
So, that’s a lot of competition. While a good reputation and a steady stream of regular customers are great, and used to work perfectly well, social media has revolutionised the way people learn about the local landscape in Tasmania. Think if it as word-of-mouth, but turbocharged.
It’s time to harness the power of social media!
I recently attended a Google Digital Garage event here in Hobart, where presenters talked about ‘micro-moments’, or the immediacy of mobile. For example, a tourist wandering the streets of Hobart is more likely to pull out their smartphone and Google “Hobart restaurants” or “restaurants near me” rather than ask a passer-by. If you’re not represented online, then you’re missing out on their patronage.
Getting online is as simple as ensuring your business has a clear, well-designed webpage that states clearly essential information such as your address, opening hours, services, and prices. And, don’t forget the most important element – contact information such as a phone number and email address. It might sound like common sense, but you’d be amazed at some of the websites I’ve seen that have completely forgotten to include the basics.
So you’re online; great! But simply having a website is no longer enough. Consumers expect to be able to dive deeper for information, especially if the product you’re offering is higher-end, or the service you’re providing is complex.
Think about moments where you may have a pressing, time-sensitive need, for example, you’re in an unfamiliar part of Hobart and you need to find somewhere for lunch. A customer will more than likely use online to search for a local business to address that need, and will often notice not only search results, but also social media reviews. In this case, it’s not only important to be online, but to also have established a good social media presence.
Restaurants are a perfect example of a business that a consumer will expect to be able to read balanced reviews for, and social media – in particular, Facebook – is where they can go to find places their contacts have recently visited, allowing them to choose based on the reviews of people they have a lot in common with. So, a Facebook page that displays beautiful images and clear information (including a ‘call now’ button, or an instant method of booking) will make it easy to get those dinner reservations.
Instagram lends itself particularly well to the hospitality industry, and using the power of this social media platform to showcase photogenic food and drink is a guaranteed way to win new customers. Instagram sponsored social media posts are a great way to target consumers in a geographical area, or by using any number of niche market segments.
Ok, so you’re online; you’ve got your social media pages looking good, and fans are slowly building; what else?
Monitor and update everything, constantly.
It’s no good setting up a website and a presence on the big social platforms if you don’t have the time to monitor and update content regularly. This is where you may need someone to assist you (and that’s where Sea Salt Social comes in!).
Our experience with social media, in particular in the local retail, hospitality, and tourism sectors in Tasmania, is something we can offer to help you at whatever stage of the life of your business. Being a Hobart local, I understand better than anyone the opportunities and challenges of the Tasmanian market.