Local Businesses: Now is the Time to Use Social Media

Local Businesses: Now is the Time to Use Social Media

In late 2010, at Web 2.0 Summit Google VP of Product Management Susan Wojcicki spent just under 15 minutes presenting new services that Google had recently released (video here) to make the upcoming holiday experience a more enjoyable experience both for shoppers and advertisers. Although much of what she demoed was very interesting, the most telling bit of information was what she shared to set the stage.

According to her research, 42% of in-store sales are influenced by online shopping searches. I think you would agree that’s a pretty significant number, but even more surprising was what followed. Susan shared that 7% of purchasing is currently done online while 93% is still done at physical store locations. That number is quite staggering. Considering the billions of dollars spent online each year, there is still plenty of pie left for brick and mortar businesses to have their fill. That is why Google, Facebook, Apple, Paypal and others are lining their crosshairs on not just one target, but three!

The worlds of mobile, social, and location based technology is on course to converge into a powerhouse platform for businesses to use online to drive consumers to local businesses. Last year, Google alone says they say a 30 x increase in mobile shopping queries. As Susan subtly mentions, internet enabled phones enable shoppers to be both online and offline at the same time. This is why, in October 2010, Google made an important move by moving one of their savviest executives, Marissa Mayer, into the lead role as the Vice President of Location and Local Services. With Google since 1999, she filled the important role of Vice President of Search Product and User Experience. That move alone shows how important Google sees that 93% of the pie.

Last January Facebook, the name probably most closely associated with social, made a statement that mobile would be their focus for their platform during 2011. This of course ins’t to make it easier for us to update our status on the go. It is because they understand that, with such a strong social presence, their vulnerability lies in their ability to quickly enhance the location based services. This can only be done by making a rockin’ mobile platform that goes way beyond simply mimicking what the website does.

There are a number of influence points that the previously mentioned companies are trying to become your go-to resource for:

  • Availability: Is the product available in the store right now?
  • Proximity: How close is the desired product/service?
  • Price: Which store around me has the best price?
  • Transaction: Which option provides me the easiest, quickest shopping experience?

Social will play an ever increasing role in how guyers spend their money within that 93%. The influence that friend and families have to sway purchasing decisions is immense and grows proportionately as social media penetrates into mainstream society.

Here is a taste of what social can add to the equation:

  • Social Recommendations: What do my friends have to say about this business, product or service.
  • Social Reviews: What does the crowd have to say about the product or service I am interested in.
  • Social Incentives: Get perks and discounts for social interactions like checking in, becoming the mayor, etc.
  • Social Discovery: The experiences of my connections and others with similar interests become visible when I interact with things around me.

Much of what social can do to influence buying decisions has been happening for at least a couple years, but on your desktop/laptop computer. Always connected, location aware, mobile devices open the playing field in ways that marketers are only recently starting to understand.

Learning to be “Social-Loco”

So what’s next? Well today, May 5th, I will be attending “Social-Loco: the convergence of the social web, mobile and local-business“. Some of the best and brightest in the industry will be speaking including the previously mentioned Marissa Mayer from Google as well as executives from Groupon, Facebook, Microsoft, Foursquare and more. I am also happy to be participating as a panelist during the session titled “Back to the Future: reinventing brand loyalty”.  I look forward to sharing some of the most insightful findings from the event. Stay tuned.

Explore with Me

Explore with Me

Jason Falls from the popular social media marketing blog SocialmediaExplorer.com recently decided to take it up a notch and invite a select group of folks from around the web to contribute to site. I was one of the chosen few who were provided the opportunity to take an already great source for digital marketing and kick it up a notch.

Here is the the post announcing the new line up of contributors at SocialMediaExplorer and here is my first contribution to the site titled “Online Marketing Tips from the Farmer’s Market”.

Would love to hear your thoughts on my post and what you might like to see me cover. In the meantime we have plans to perform a significant refresh on the Secret Sushi website and post content more regularly for you to enjoy.

Thank again to Jason for having me on the team.

Recap of the Secret Sushi Social Charity Event & Why We Did It

Recap of the Secret Sushi Social Charity Event & Why We Did It

TIme flies and it has already been a couple weeks since the “Secret Sushi Social” a networking event we hosted with proceeds going to a local nonprofit organization. Having had some time to play catch up after weeks of promoting the event, I wanted to provide a recap of the very fun evening.

We had a great group of folks from all over the Bay Area make their way down to the Sonya Paz Fine Art Gallery in a very busy downtown Campbell. The theme of the event was “Get Creative!” and with the help from the staff at  Zeum: San Francisco’s Children’s Museum, we did just that. They brought out tons of materials for attendees to create their own little posable clay character (usually used to make fun stop motion or “claymation” animations at Zeum’s location in San Francisco). We also featured a great little doodle board where folks left their mark by doodling anything that came to mind.