What is the surest way to sabotage your business today? Neglect your social media.

If you own or operate a business, a social media presence can make a huge difference.  Unlike conversations between the cool kids on the playground, conversations on social media are open to everyone. Billions of people are constantly connected to and active on websites such as Facebook, Google+ and TripAdvisor. Participation in the social media conversation accesses the attention of millions of potential customers. Social media is THE place where people search for, research and review places to spend their time and money. No social media presence results in virtual invisibility. Without social media attention and approval, modern businesses will fail.

The recent closure of a popular vegetarian restaurant in Vancouver is a prime example.  For fifteen years, The Foundation was a successful and popular spot that boasted an amazing plate of meat-free nachos and other vegetarian fare. See link here: https://goo.gl/uv8uMK

 Image: @manmadarae/Instagram

This restaurant was built on a vision that many shared.  They state in their farewell message, “Built with no business plan, but with our hearts. To build a community around a restaurant. To be different.” Along with having no business plan, the above article points out that The Foundation had no website, no Facebook page and only rarely updated their Instagram account.

Even with no business plan, The Foundation managed to keep its doors open for fifteen years. Some costumers described the restaurant’s closure as “the end of the era.” The Foundation built a legion of faithful followers that are now without their favourite eatery. Clearly the restaurant needed more than an inspirational vision and its community of regulars to succeed. Increased visibility through social media marketing would have made a huge difference both in attracting new costumers and allowing faithful regulars to voice their loyalty.

Today’s consumers are much more likely to find and choose businesses that have an online presence. In the world of smartphones and Google Maps, customers expect an efficient means of finding great places to eat and spend time and money.  Word of mouth is one of the best methods for communicating to others whether a restaurant or business is worth some of your hard-earned dollars.  Social media allows for instant and far-reaching word of mouth.  There have been times when I have been filling out my TripAdvisor review while seated at the table.  Social media is instantaneous and powerful.

Every business today should take advantage of social media, recognizing it as an invaluable resource for consumer connection and greater success. Social media is the best advertising medium that there has ever been. A social media marketer would have been able to generate new customers out of The Foundation’s already existing base of loyal regulars and allowed them to enjoy many more years of business success. Instead they face the entrepreneur’s darkest fear – closing the doors.