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Social media marketing for small business

'I see Twitter as a way of creating a personality for the business; it's about letting the customer see behind the scenes.'
  Georgia Samuel, Famish'd

Top tips

  • Be active – post consistently so you are regularly engaging with your followers, even if it's just to say you're flat out
  • Be transparent – don't be afraid to let people know about muck-ups
  • Be creative – share information in a fun and engaging way
  • Promote your platforms – include the logos of any social media platforms you use on your packaging

The business

Working as a corporate lawyer in Melbourne's CBD, Georgia Samuel could never have foreseen the sea change that lay ahead. Now, she is the sole owner of the very successful Salad Bar, Famish'd in Little Collins Street – serving soups, gourmet salads and spuds to up to 800 of Melbourne’s busiest corporate crowd a day.

Georgia credits much of her success to her corporate roots. 'The customer I'm targeting is who I was for six years – the corporate customer. I know how precious time is and how long they are prepared to wait, and I know how easy it is for them to go somewhere else if the quality and customer service isn’t there.'

Using social media to grow the business

Georgia opened the business with a very clear marketing strategy in mind – she would not engage in paid advertising, which she felt would devalue the brand, but would instead rely on cost-effective social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook to grow the business.

'Melbourne has a very particular culture and the marketing that works for hospitality and food is generally word-of-mouth style marketing. If a business is offering a quality product, it will get people talking so naturally this is the best form of marketing.'

Over the last two years Georgia has stuck to her plan, using social media platforms to engage with different audiences interested in the business. She uses Facebook and Twitter to promote the daily menu to her followers, including industry professionals.

'Social networking is all about generating talk', says Georgia, and for Famish'd it has done just that. Last winter, interest on Twitter led to a double page write-up in the Herald Sun about Famish'd's soups. Since then, Famish'd has been voted best for soups, salads and lamingtons in Melbourne on a number of different blogs.

Recently, Georgia has had the Facebook and Twitter logos printed on all Famish'd packaging. 'Since we added the logos, we’ve noticed a marked increase in the number of followers on both Twitter and Facebook.'

Does your business need a social media strategy?

Famish'd has never limited its social media engagement by a strategy, and perhaps that's a strategy in itself. Georgia is, however, very aware of her own personal boundaries around tweeting and posting under the company's profiles. 'We are pretty liberal in what we post; that said we rarely post anything about our private lives. I make sure that I reply to most tweets we receive.'

According to Georgia it's also very important to try and make your posts creative and fun to read. 'We often post photos because they generate greater interest from our followers and we try to be creative, we only post what we as customers would like to read.' Georgia and the team at Famish'd are careful to remember too that social media isn't just a marketing tool; it's a way of engaging the public with the business and its staff.

'I see Twitter as a way of creating a personality for the business; it's about letting the customer see behind the scenes.' 

Her top tip: be transparent and don’t be afraid to let people know about muck-ups; it helps to give them a realistic insight into your business.

'Around 80% of our new followers on Facebook and Twitter are generated from the new social media logos on our packaging.'

The result

Unlike some innovations, it's difficult to measure the level of return generated from social media engagement. 'We do know we’re generating talk', says Georgia, 'Which can only be generating sales.' Georgia only spends around five minutes a day updating the company's Facebook profile or sending tweets. 'We only post as many tweets as we would like to see as customers; sometimes it's only one or two a day, and sometimes we don't do any.'

Following the great success Famish'd has experienced with its online presence to date, Georgia has vowed to continue investing the business' resources and increasing it's social media activity over the coming months.