This is the first in a series of posts which looks at real small business success stories with social media. I want to show you that real business owners are using all the techniques you read about here at Baked to grow their business.
Anthony Lloyd is a small business owner in Oxfordshire in the UK, and has over the past 18 months grown his hotel and restaurant business by almost AU$250,000 just by using Twitter.
He has also hired 5 new staff, found new suppliers, and generated daily bookings – just from tweeting.
How he has done this is outlined below, but what this shows is if you are genuine, open, friendly and have a good product or service to offer, then you can succeed with social media.
Anthony has grown his followers on Twitter to over 17,000 people and is now focusing on building a Facebook page and LinkedIn account, expanding his use of social media and his own reach.
After I read about Anthony’s success, I contacted him and asked him a few questions about his success with social media.
[Me] What is the secret to your social media success?
[Anthony Lloyd] It takes some time to get up enough “head of steam” in Social Media, so firstly one needs to believe in it as a way of moving your business forward, and secondly, to achieve results there is only one word for it…..engage. This is the secret of Social Media.
[Me] What was your biggest challenge starting out?
[Anthony Lloyd] Building the follower base. Working out the secret. In my case I spent too much time, probably 6-9 months, going for followers rather than engaging with the ones I already had.
Realising I could reduce the amount of face to face networking I was then doing by sitting at my keyboard, and, networking more efficiently, more successfully.
[Me] What advice would you give to a small business owner who is just starting out?
[Anthony Lloyd] There are five:
- Decide whether you think you can sustain a Social Media campaign into the future. It takes time and patience and business results don’t happen overnight
- Set yourself some objectives. E.g. How much time you are prepared to devote to it? What your target Social Media market is and then how to find people in that market. Just what you are trying to achieve? Is it visits to your website? Is it to fill certain events? Then decide what you are going to say to achieve those objectives?
- Be yourself
- Don’t just bleat on about your business, talk about your interests and hobbies – all these things achieve engagement
- Use SM to keep in contact with your customers – it is an absolutely fabulous and unique way of keeping in touch with them, in a way one could never ever do before the advent of SM.
[Me] You are on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn – which do you think is working better for you and why?
[Anthony Lloyd] For me, Twitter works best because it is the media I started with and, it is so much simpler to develop conversations with a wider variety of people. I am working on both Facebook and on LinkedIn. It remains to be seen how this will work but I have recently done some business from LinkedIn, and the brand development opportunities in B2B are good. Polls, contributing to groups etc.
[Me] Where to next for you and your social media efforts?
[Anthony Lloyd] This is a very good question and one I had not actually considered. I am looking at changing the emphasis on what I post, having taken on an extremely talented Head Chef and Restaurant Manager, whose ambitions are to compete for one of those coveted Michelin stars. So much more emphasis on food and foodie things, wine and winy things.
Even better ways to develop engagement – recently introduce my #DidYouKnow series of some 900 facts garnered from various sources. This brings hundreds of people to respond, who are clearly following me but had not communicated before.
A Big Thanks
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Anthony for his time and for answering these questions, which I am sure enlightened you greatly. You can find Anthony on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. And if you are ever in the UK I would suggest staying at the Fallowfields Country House Hotel, which looks amazing!
Over to you – what are your thoughts on what Anthony had to say. Do you think you could achieve the same success with your business?