Hamburger chain Smashburger has become a smash hit, growing from three Denver locations in 2007 to 150 outposts nationwide. And while its Angus-beef burgers and unique toppings have helped to propel its success, its secret sauce is social-media outreach. Smashburger offers coupons and trivia contests for its 67,000 Facebook followers, replies to questions and complaints on its Twitter and Facebook profiles, and actively reaches out to bloggers who might write about the new Smashburger restaurants opening in their areas.
"The brand was really built on social media and PR strategies," says Jeremy Morgan, senior vice president of marketing and consumer insights. " Social media is an opportunity for us to engage with consumers and have a conversation, which is different than paid media, when you're just shouting through a bullhorn."
Wielded wisely, social media can help a growing business boost brand awareness, improve customer relations, garner market research, even bolster sales. As the number of people using social media rises, marketing experts say it's essential for even the smallest of companies to consider diving in.
"Everybody should take a look at it," says Dan Galbraith, owner of marketing support company Solutionist and a National Small Business Association board member.Page 1 of 5 | Next Page