The Digital Information Age is here to stay. When FaceBook and MySpace mania began, many speculated on it’s short shelf life but it has proven itself to be here for the long run. Emerging online medias, online social networks and the influx in recent mobile Internet technologies allow information to be delivered in real time. Consumers can purchase a product or service and immediately comment on their experiences to anyone online through the use of mobile online applications. Blogs, micro-messaging systems (Twitter), chatrooms, social networking websites, and E-zines can all be significant sources of information and should be used as public relations tools for small business.
In Washington D.C., CoCo Sala, a small restaurant, monitors tweets posted that include it’s name. If the Tweet is unsatisfactory, managers contact the sender and attempt to reconcile their relationship.
Creating mobile applications for cellular phones that support those capabilities is another innovative use of social media for the small business. A mobile phone application can include important vital information to potential customers such as directions, business hours and information on product sales.
TGIFridays, a national restaurant chain, aired commercials nationally with a spokesperson named Woody. Commercials called for viewers to go online and become FaceBook friends with Woody. The first 500,000 users to friend Woody received a coupon for a free Jack Daniels Burger. Currently Woody has over 900,000 friends and counting on FaceBook. TGIF is hosting events around the country at local restaurants where Woody will make an appearance.
Social media provides small businesses the chance to be innovative and creative in the new Digital Information Age. Consumers and online users are all vying for the chance to participate and interact online with businesses and other users alike. Jumping on board the social media bandwagon is a surefire way to increase customer loyalty and increase notoriety.