How Online Influences Drive Traffic to Your Business
January 24, 2012
As marketers and public relations pros, we are often asked to develop strategies designed to improve a person’s or a company’s online reputation. Online reputations are important because consumers’ purchasing decisions are very much influenced by online perceptions. And while there are many ways to monitor an online reputation, there are very few ethical ways to increase or impact it.
The communications and marketing teams at BroadBased can create a transparent, ethical program to increase online presence and boost awareness. Here’s a recent example of how we helped First Watch Restaurants increase name awareness, online reviews and traffic to both of its newly opened First Coast locations.
First Watch, a Florida-based breakfast, brunch and lunch café, recently opened two restaurants in Jacksonville. The PR team at Fry Hammond and Barr in Tampa partnered with BroadBased to introduce the concept to our community. One of the many strategic efforts BroadBased recommended and implemented was an invitation-only, after-hours dinner for food bloggers, restaurant reporters and influential social media users.
We selected 50 attendees who had an online presence, were active Tweeters or bloggers, and had a love of food. We also looked for online influencers with a minimum Klout score of 50. The invitations encouraged the participants to use any of their social media profiles during and after the event to share candid impressions of the restaurant, from service to food quality to cleanliness and beyond.
The evening event welcomed 55 participants who checked in, took photos, shared reviews and later blogged in detail about the evening breakfast event. The results included 230 Tweets (under Hashtag: #firstwatchjax), six blog posts, three Facebook photo albums, 22 check-ins on Foursquare, and two reviews on online rating sites (Yelp! and UrbanSpoon). The Mandarin location benefited from an immediate increase in online buzz that equated to an increase in traffic to the restaurant.
Behind the raw numbers are two powerful benefits of an event like this. First, all of the reviews and feedback were honest and organic; they weren’t “paid for” directly or created by unethical means such as having restaurant employees review locations. Second, they came in a buzz-generating burst, rather than trickling in over time.
The same concept can be applied to VIP “sneak peek” events that engage consumers at a variety of businesses and locations. Sneak peeks are perfect for increasing traffic to retailer locations, special events, event venues, special attractions, and events and weekend or annual festivals. Call Maria at BroadBased to brainstorm ways to increase your company’s online reputation.