Three local retailers put Facebook to work while another ignores the Internet

Last Friday my housemate, Bob, came home from the local liquor store and reported he had to burn a CD of an obscure song (“Fish Heads” by Barnes & Barnes) for the liquor storeowner. Seems the owner had been singing the song and when Bob recognized it they did some male bonding over this strange little ditty.

My first question was, “Why doesn’t he download the song and make his own CD?” Here’s how the conversation went from there:
Bob: “Because he isn’t online.”

Me: “What?”

Bob: “He doesn’t use the Internet.”

Me: “What do you mean he doesn’t use the Internet?”

Bob: “He doesn’t like the idea of it.”

Me: “It’s 2012 and he’s running a business and he doesn’t believe in the Internet?”

Bob: “Yeah, pretty much.”

Me: “Wow.”

Hard to believe, isn’t it? Fortunately, this guy’s attitude is rare these days. Contrast his head-in-the-sand approach to the business-building potential of the Internet to three smart examples of other local retailers below that are getting maximum value out of their use of Internet, specifically via Facebook. I’ve included ideas of how the liquor store owner could adapt these retailers’ ideas for his own use.

Cindy’s Drive-in, a landmark here in my hometown of Granby, MA, ran a contest last month in which they asked people to leave a comment on their Facebook page about their favorite thing about Cindy’s. They gave away $25, $15 and $10 gift certificates to the three top winners. The contest drew dozens and dozens of comments and each time I read some of them, it reinforced my desire to go have some ice cream!

Idea for liquor store owner: Ask people to do posts about their favorite summer-time drink recipes.

Sapowsky Farms, a popular garden center here in Granby, is doing a “Plant of the Day” post each day this season. The posts are very informative and one of them motivated me to go to Sapowsky Farms and purchase a specific variety of petunias that they had written about. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has made a purchase of a new type of plant based on the information Sapowsky’s are sharing.

Idea for liquor store owner: Do posts about a new product each week or your weekly specials.

Atkins Farms Country Market, located next door in Amherst, MA, had a dilemma that Facebook helped it solved. A new highway rotary is being constructed in front of their store and with construction reaching a critical point, a rumor started that they were going to be closed for a period of time. They quickly took to Facebook to say they were not closing and they asked people to share the post, which many people did. They have over 5,700 “likes” on their page, so the good news that they were not going to be closed spread quickly. And I have to admit that the photos they post of their highly inventive cupcakes have prompted me to stop by their store more than once.

Idea for liquor store owner: When your store was robbed one Saturday night earlier this spring, you could have done a post to let customers know that your young female employee, who was working alone at the time, was okay. We were concerned when we heard about the robbery and this would have been welcome news.

Too bad the liquor store guy doesn’t use the Internet; if he did, he could read these examples and come up with ideas of his own on how to drive customers to his business! But instead building his business, he’s probably standing around listening to “Fish Heads” one more time. 🙂

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