How can a traditional business become social?

Hello everyone,

I would love your opinions on this.

Let’s assume we have a traditional flowers shop business which is almost non-existent on the internet. The flower shop had advertised a few times in the local newspapers, but not frequently.

How can this flower shop make a transition from a traditional offline marketing business, to a dominant, customer-engaging powerhouse?

Here is a list of things that I think are required:

  1. Facebook page - with ‘welcome tab’ persuading users to ‘like’ the page. Also, a small budget for Facebook ads.

  2. Twitter account - updates about seasonal deals and promotions.

  3. Official website - do you think there is a decreasing need for official websites for small businesses since Facebook pages, and similar alternatives, can do a better job recruiting, retaining customers, and engaging with them?

These are the fundamental ones I can think of. Do you know what else a small, ‘traditional’ business can do to make this social marketing transition?

Adding buttons makes it possible to share a site but that does not a social business make. Now if you’ve used those plugins to step into some dialogue and open up the doors… that’s moving down the path.

Good question! Well, there are a great deal of ways for a business to become ‘social.’ First of all, the business can create a website, since it is pretty much essential for any business to have an online presence. Next, the business can install social media plugins and market through those various outlets. I did this with my client, who provides shredding services in ny. Since we enabled the plugins, his once “not very social” site has become an incredibly interactive outlet via facebook and twitter. thanks again.

Find out what problem your business solves and then create a bunch of content around that. Video, text, infographics, etc. Then share that content on your social sites.

Beyond that you could hire a creative internet marekting agency to come up with a campaign that would promote word of mouth referrals.

Also have you thought about…

  1. Greater visibility in seach
  2. Selling your flowers online
  3. Targeted PPC Advertising


I think that every business should do what it can to have an online presence.

To set up on Facebook I would recommend creating a Page. Then when this is created search the app Pagemodo and use this to create a custom Welcome tab, contact page etc. You can use it free and they will have their logo displayed at the bottom or you can pay a small fee and this goes.

I would also set up a Twitter account and have your facebook page auto-update it.

To set up a website I would consider Magento Go, if you Google it you should locate it. It will let you set up a very professional looking website with none of the stress and skills usually required! It has a free months trial - you don’t even need to put in payment details so you can see what you think for nothing.

If you do all of thee and also try to get some good SEO, creating links etc I’m sure you will pull in a lot of orders you wouldn’t have otherwise got.

Rather than reiterate what others have said about Facebook/Twitter, I’ll focus on the actual Web site. To answer your question, I absolutely think there’s a need for a traditional Web presence for a flower shop. The site is a great place to put pictures of the various offerings along with prices. Obviously, you can share these things on the social Web as well, but it’d be nice if most of that content was sitting on the Web site first. Also, I don’t know what kind of services are offered, but it might make a lot of sense to create an e-commerce store front. The ability to handle online orders would open a fairly significant revenue stream, and it’s also significantly more convenient for customers. It also makes online promotions easier to integrate since people can directly apply those promotions to the Web site (as opposed to having to go to the physical store).

Thank you for the replies so far folks, and especially the shared resources.

This isn’t really about a flower shop. The reason I am gathering these opinions is because I would like to offer a ‘package’ service to traditional businesses (with no online presence), to take their online presence from zero to hero.

This is what I have gathered so far from your opinions:

  1. Facebook - with welcome tab
  2. Twitter - also, have Facebook publish Twitter feeds.
  3. Website - e-commerce when necessary.
  4. Good SEO

Let’s assume that e-commerce is unnecessary for a moment. What other functions should the website serve?

Here is what I think the website should have:

  1. Some Facebook social widgets (like box, comments box)
  2. Recent Twitter feeds.
  3. Information about products / services, company information.
  4. Contact form
  5. Email Subscription (Do you think this is effective? I rarely subscribe to emails, unless I am automatically subscribed during sign-up.)

Are there other features which distinguishes a better website?

You’re talking about tactics but while those are a part of a campaign, they do not make a business social… they merely put a business into a place that is considered social.

Social is ultimately a buzz term to describe a much larger concept how businesses function in relation to their customers. Historically companies defined their offering and talked at customers, now customers talk back, so much so that they can force the offering.

While you’ll have to get into various channels, you should really consider starting by evaluating how the business is going to market. If you are successful the company will apply a transparent approach well beyond their digital presence… afterall while important for getting people to stay fans, a facebook page does not make good comments, a good service offering does that.

Each business is unique so while it’s tempting to list out the tactics you’ll use as specific actions, it’s probably more appropriate to list of the types of tactics you use but start with an analysis, training and strategy session.

Your floral shop may benefit more from getting some Yelp window clings and doing inserts in orders than actually maintaining a channel to talk on… or just not have the resources to try otherwise. Then again, a floral shop that’s really open to being progressive may create a twitter account to talk about what flowers can do for a relationship, the right moves for the right holidays and other topical events that set them apart in a bold, edgy or fun way that increases visibility.

Going back to your very first post: having a facebook account, or as your later posts allude too, an ecommerce presence does not mean anything is happening with actual “customer-engaging” so before you start putting those tactics in place, get them ready to use them.

Question. Does the flower shop really need to devote the resources to create an internet social effort?

I mean if your going to be on twitter and other social sites people are going to expect somebody to respond to them. 1 Tweet a week just isn’t going to cut it.

That’s a great point. Simply put… don’t launch what you can’t support.

However in a world where customers use social to evaluate businesses every minute, there’s more and more reason why doing certain things in social are a requirement not option… For a florist building a good profile on Yelp and other local services is definitely one such requirement and don’t require more than a weekly check.

While it’s vital not to over extend, businesses, especially SMBs must recognize that whether or not they get involved, conversation is happening about them and their business is being directly impacted. Involvement on a basic level is not optional.

I would think about doing a totally off-the-wall publicity stunt and tie it into social media. Create a NATIONWIDE buzz and your social media will explode. I’ve done these types of things before for clients. Works like gangbusters IF you have the budget for it. It is not cheap to pull one of these off - especially for a small town business. But nationwide publicity is worth millions :slight_smile:

A nationwide campaign for a local retailer? It may be worth millions but how does that help the business in an effective manner? I must be missing something…

I think it’s all about sharing possibilities. Í understand “making business social” just telling the web about what I have been shopping, right? There are of course some smart ways like social gift giving services like Send Beers to Your Friends Online! - Buddy Beers ? The service has to be built around the product and fit your industry of course, but I think there is a lot like that coming in the future.

“How can this flower shop make a transition from a traditional offline marketing business, to a dominant, customer-engaging powerhouse?”

This statement makes me believe that you are looking to drop your traditional advertising. I’m assuming because it is expensive compared to Facebook and Twitter. I would strongly recommend using social media and traditional media together if you have the resources.

With over 60% of consumers going to the Internet first to find products and services, it is a great idea to build the web presence; however, don’t lose the other 40% while doing it.

The numbers don’t quite add up that way [overlap, cause to action, action to impression and of course segmentation]… but I agree with your point in principle: having social content only works if people see it and for a local business that’s generally not all online.

Tweeting a bunch is rarely going to do it in its self.

Hey everyone,

As I mentioned above, this ‘flower shop’ is only an example of a typical small business. I should have given more context to why I asked this question.

I am in a country where the internet marketing is young, and businesses are only familiar with traditional media of marketing (television, radio, newspaper, magazine, etc). Therefore, I am doing research in hopes to offer a service which would transit these businesses to the internet.

While I am aware that I cannot offer a ‘one size fits all’ service, I am hoping to gather the fundamental elements which would achieve this goal.

I have the most difficult time getting my business to become social. I own a limousine company and run a website, but as many cool videos and blog posts as I “like” or tweet, no one ever seems to notice it. Hence, I try to stick to youtube video marketing :slight_smile:

You need to engage the customers in the business and give them a look at the back end.

If the florist sends out a massive Bouquet of flowers, Photgraph it and put that in facebook with a message like" I wonder whos getting these today?"
Or “We are sending this to “insert area” could this be for you?”

Customers want to be a part of the business and they will get to know the people that run it as well. If your doing this well your NEW customers will know your first name before you have ever seen them.

ENGAGE, Run Competitions, hold events and give stuff away every now and then to people.

Hope that works, Its Called “Social” for a reason. You just can’t ram ads down their throats 24/7


There a countless things you could do, but a few I recommend are

Make a website and learn to drive traffic to it. Put the share icons to social networks on it. Encourage the people you know on facebook to like the page, or even possibly share it on their pages.

If you want customers from a specific area or demographic, then there are ways to target that.
If you want traffic from the general area there are multiple ways to specifically target the kind of people you want.
I feel targeting the internet on mobile devices may be one of your best bet.

yeah that’s true; but a traditional business belongs to a particular city or area, therefore I think if they can manage some people of that area may be two of college students and two of employee of that area to make status or promote it to their friends especially local friends will be very efficient with it.