Fall is my favorite season for many reasons:
- The bugs start dying (I abhor all insects)
- I can stop wearing sunscreen (I’m about as prone to a sunburn as HBO is to producing dramas about organized crime. Anyone watch Boardwalk Empire last night?)
- I love to wear boots (Fryes are my absolute favorite)
- My parents have an apple tree in their backyard so I get as many apples as I want (although I still have never actually baked with them, this year I intend to make a crisp)
- TV starts up again (this is the most important reason).
I have been a TV junkie since I was a kid. In fact, straight out of college I worked for Entertainment Weekly in their ad sales department. It was a pretty horrible job, but I would have done anything to work at what I considered to be the mecca of all magazines. I got to meet Stephen King (he’s very tall), view TV pilots before they aired, and I got to see the cover of EW days before it was released. So despite the fact that I did not like the actual work I was doing, I stuck with it. The perks were worth the discomfort.
And here’s the most important thing I learned about perks. They are not a way to increase sales or gain new business, perks are a way to say thank you to those who support you. Because as much as your social media efforts are about drawing in new business, they should also be about thanking the business you have and reminding them how important they are to you.
So how would a small business go about running a “perks” campaign? Let’s create one.
Today we’re going to model ourselves after a fictitious sandwich shop. I’m in Wicker Park. My company’s name is: Big Sandwiches. I jumped on the social media bandwagon around a year ago, opening a Facebook site, a Twitter account, and I started a blog. I’m most active on my Facebook account because more of my customers are on there than anywhere else. I have almost 2,000 Facebook fans, around 500 people following me on Twitter, and my blog gets a few hundred hits when I actually post something. Picture painted? Great.
On Tuesday morning September 21, 2010, I wake up and I check my Facebook page and guess what? I’ve hit 2,000 fans! This is huge for me and my business, and I decide today is the day to thank those who made it possible. In order to celebrate, I decide this wonderful day is going to be FREE BACON DAY! It’s genius because who doesn’t like bacon?
I immediately post: Today we hit 2,000 Facebook fans! We couldn’t do it without you, and to thank you, we have crowned today…FREE BACON DAY! Add bacon to any of our sandwiches for FREE.
I’m not even going to post this on my blog or tweet it, because it’s for those who were kind enough to fan me on Facebook. It has to feel organic and not overdone, and it has to be targeted to a specific audience, or it’s not a perk, it’s a sale.
How am I going to know if people actually are on Facebook and didn’t just hear it from a friend? I’m not going to police it, because it truly doesn’t matter. All that matters is that someone on Facebook became a fan of my store, saw the post, and told someone else who told someone else, and they decided that nothing in the world is better than free bacon.
It really is as simple as that. Obviously bacon costs money, and I don’t want to run out, so maybe I watch my Facebook numbers closely in anticipation for the day when this happens. And please don’t even think of a stunt like this as a way to increase sales or gain more customers, think of it as a way to say thank you. Karma will get you back.