Understanding and using social media

12 Mar 2009

Jack Burris

Jack Burris is president of Red Beard Marketing, a marketing, business development and brand consulting company based in Charlotte, NC. RBM is a full service firm, and we also happen to have a lot of experience in the franchise vertical and currently work with some of the best and brightest minds in the franchise community including Franconnect, Franchise Business Review, Franchise Payments Network and FranchiseWorks LLC, all small businesses designed to help franchisors, franchisees and interested investors through the franchise process. RBM is always results-oriented.

One of the hot topics in franchising (and marketing, in general) is social media, aka Web 2.0. During the franchise convention in San Diego last month I co-hosted a round table discussion titled, “Using the Web in the Sales Process” and probably 90% of the discussion focused on corporate blogs, integrating video into your marketing and improving the company’s overall visibility online. And then on Tuesday night, I experienced first hand how this entire Web 2.0 thing really works.

Late Tuesday evening, around 10:00p, I received a call on my business line from a local area code (my phone was forwarded to my cell phone as I was out of the office for meetings). The person was not already in my address book so all I got on my caller ID was the phone number. To answer, or not to answer … that is the question.

I always answer my phone if I am available. The gentleman on the other end is interested in franchising, actually, interested in starting a franchise concept from ground zero. It’s a great idea, I think, and he has a lot of the work started. After a brief conversation my question was, “How did you find me?”

“Well,” he says. “First, searched the word “franchise,” found FranchiseWorks.com and I saw your profile on FranchiseWorks.com. Then I decided to search your name in Google (Jack Burris search on Google).” From there, I found your blog on StartupNation.com and also the website for Red Beard Marketing. Your phone number is on your website.”

Amazing. With just a few clicks, we were having a conversation.

Franchisors and franchisees alike are beginning to experiment with social media. Some companies (think Burger King’s ‘Subservient Chicken campaign’) have been taking advantage of Web 2.0 tactics for quite some time. Others are still trying to understand why having a company blog makes sense.

How are you using new web techniques for new business? Client retention? Gaining exposure?