New Yorkers are a breed all our own. We do things vastly different from those anywhere else in the world, and that includes the use of social media. For small business owners in New York City it may seem like a daunting task, but when done correctly, it means taking your business from being a needle in a haystack to listed in Time Out magazine. But the truth of the matter is, if you want to be seen in a city as large as New York, you have to know how to utilize social media in order to expand your visibility. You have to know who your audience is, what their interests are, and how you can use that to take your business to the next level.
1. Community support
New Yorkers care about our communities, so much that we go out of our way to not only follow and share information from other local businesses but team up with them as well. Jason Ferreira, owner of Ferreira Foodtown, understands this perfectly as all five of his stores (which are located throughout Queens and Long Island) collaborate with local public schools for the Healthy Schools Program. Hosted by registered dietitian Jacqueline Gomes (shown above), the purpose of the program is to bring live classroom demonstrations and education regarding the importance of healthy foods to the children of the community, who may not otherwise have access to such foods. It also allows them to go home and teach their parents new healthy eating habits, and where they can pick up these items at their local market. Another great community program is their Escrip Program, where 3% of the customers total (every time they shop!) is donated to the school or nonprofit of the customers choosing. Tip: By turning on and using the location option on your Facebook and Instagram accounts, you will be given a list of businesses in your immediate vicinity.
2. New Yorkers talk
New York City is known for its rudeness just as much as its attractions. The New York City attitude is a way of life, and that attitude often spills over into a venue’s customer service. Just because the city has this rep doesn’t mean you have to perpetuate it. When New Yorkers find a place with stellar customer service, we become loyal to it. No matter how bad the trains are running, we will schlep there to get brunch. Not only that, New Yorkers talk. We are constantly voicing our pleasure and displeasure on things, and those comments can end up on your social media pages. This means that it’s up to YOU to stand out by not only caring about the customer in-house, but online as well. Take Brooklyn based burger joint 67 Burger as an example. A customer wrote about their less than exceptional on the restaurant’s Facebook page. Immediately, 67 Burger followed up with instructions to talk about what happened. This is great for future customers who rely on reviews to see how business owners and management handle negative experiences at their establishments. It also shows that you are watching, and willing to rectify the situation – which is all everyone really wants, to be treated properly! Note: never remove bad reviews, let people see how well you can handle turning a dissatisfied customer into a satisfied one. Also, don’t get hung up on the bad reviews, you should also be commenting on the good ones as well just like a customer wrote this glowing review. The restaurant responded just to thank them.
3. Using your borough to locate customers and influencers
Now that you know how to treat the customer, let’s talk about ways of finding them. New York City is home to more than eight million people across five boroughs, and the use of geo-location tools will help you narrow down and locate customers in the surrounding area of your business. If you’re already using Hootsuite Pro, you already have access to their geo-location feature. For businesses with a smaller budget, social media advertisement can go a long way. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram give the opportunity to create content based on demographics relevant to those who might be interested in your business (and have it published to their newsfeed even if they aren’t following you). By searching Facebook or Twitter with your borough, semicolon and what it is you’re selling (i.e. BedStuy: groceries) you’ll be able to reach out to potential new customers. This eliminates the headache of not having your content visible to those nearby.
4. New Yorkers know how to promote
New York is known for two things: coffee and bagels. No one does either of these better than us. Trust me on this one. So when author Irene Weinberg wanted to go on a book tour for her book, They Serve Bagels in Heaven it only made sense that she would visit local bagel shops. While the morning rush got their a.m. fuel, they also met with Irene. They peeked over at her while waiting in line, and the stopped quickly to talk about her book while she signed copies. The idea is pure genius, but it is deeper than just setting up in a local bagel shop. As a business owner you must know your audience. And by knowing New York City, Irene knew this would only be something that would work in her location. Why? Because everywhere in the world, like New Jersey, people drive to their destination, whereas in NYC people walk everywhere, allowing for a greater interaction. Stepping outside of the box and being creative when promoting your business can go a long way.
5. Live video (in-the-moment)
We love to ‘big up’ our city (where Brooklyn at?), so with the use of live video streams like Periscope, Snapchat and Meerkat, local business owners (and customers) are able to do that more than ever. People are curious to know what it is business owners do when they’re not working (and with Manhattan as your back yard, it makes people even more curious about the fast-paced way of life and the vibrant diverse culture that surrounds you). By sharing Snapchat videos of a subway performer at the 14th Street Union Square station – like I do when I find myself at that station – or a 15-minute tour of New York City from the backseat of a cab on Periscope (like Vera Sweeney of Lady and the Blog did a few weeks ago) can garner just as many views and comments as a post regarding something from your business. People want to know about you, your business and your city. Tip: While Snapchat and Periscope videos are only available for 24 hours, they can be saved to your phone and uploaded to YouTube and other social media platforms at your leisure.
6. New York City parties like it’s 1999
New Yorkers work hard and play hard, and when word on the street hits that there’s a party – we go. Chatting across social media is great, but nothing beats linking up to chill or network, especially when free food or booze is involved. With the proper marking and promotion it doesn’t matter if it’s a restaurant opening during lunch hour or an after work product launch, as a long as the train or Uber can get us there, we will be there.
7. New Yorkers love convenience
If there is one thing New Yorkers cannot function without, besides coffee and bagels, it is apps! We are a fast-paced city and nothing compliments that more than the convenience of apps. We get everything from groceries, laundry, car and sitter service, even finding a place to live all from the swipe of our phone. By creating an app for your business, or adding a buy button to your website, you can bet New Yorkers will use it. And with the new ability to use wifi at more and more train stations, it means that while your customers are waiting for the train they can browse and buy on your website and have it on their doorstep by the time they get there (you know we’ve all done it!).
By incorporating all of these aspects of social media, your New York City based small business is sure to grow rapidly for 2016. What to learn more about how we help you cater to the NYC customer base? Contact us today!
Photo Credit: Ferreira Foodtown / MTA / Irene Weinberg