New Jersey is comprised of an estimated 766,323 small businesses. As I look at Facebook and Twitter accounts from local New Jersey businesses, I cringe a little. I see Twitter accounts that have the same update go out every single day. Facebook contests hosted right on the Facebook wall and not through a 3rd party app. Businesses not responding to their fans questions or comments. Businesses not following back their Twitter followers. I won’t get into details – it could be a whole nother blog post in itself.

Some online marketing experts say it’s worse to have a bad online presence, than no presence at all. If you’re going to put yourself out there, it has to be legit representation of your business. When you make some of the errors I mentioned above, you risk losing customers.

Small businesses – it’s time to go big or go home. 2012 is the year to blow up your business online. Thousands of local potential customers are on the internet, and it’s your job to connect with them. It’s OUR job as New Jersey business owners to create an online experience for New Jerseyans. We have to come together and push the “shop small” mentality by making it easier for them to connect with local businesses.

Here are a few examples of local small businesses doing social media and online marketing right. I have chosen these based on:

Design: The page is nice to look at & the business has implemented well-designed Facebook tabs

Continuity: The business is consistent with their posting, branding & their marketing on other platforms

Engagement: The business isn’t blasting out sales pitches; they are building relationships with current & prospective customers.

McCaffrey’s SupermarketMcCaffrey's Supermarket

McCaffrey’s knows what’s important to their customers – a great experience, both offline and on.  McCaffrey’s uses Facebook to promote their catering service, drive traffic to family events, and have fun with their customers. Customers are encouraged to “like” the page for exclusive offers, menu ideas and more. They use an interactive welcome tab to drive traffic to the website, so customers can learn more about their catering, weekly menus and events. They also have two other tabs hosted on their website where you can sign up for their rewards card and view their weekly specials.

 

Sweetest Sin BoutiqueSweetest Sin Boutique

Victoria who? Sweetest Sin Boutique’s Facebook page has what it takes to compete! It really captures your attention and draws you in with exciting pictures, videos, events and more. Their welcome tab links back to the website, where they can book a fitting or party or check out the brands they carry. Boutiques and shops that carry products shouldn’t underestimate the power of Facebook for sharing photos. Customers can’t visit your store every day – it’s your job to tempt them to come in by showing off purchases, or telling great stories.

 

Mrs. G’s TV & AppliancesMrs G's

Everyone knows Mrs. G’s, and now you can get to know her even better through her Facebook page. Purchasing home appliances can be an expensive & grueling endeavor, but Mrs. G’s Facebook page makes it a little easier by posting sale & rebate notifications, product recommendations and customer testimonials. Their sense of community and “giving back” really shines throughout the page, which creates a relaxed, friendly online environment that people appreciate.

 

The Shannon RoseThe Shannon Rose

How can restaurants stand out in a very crowded space? The Shannon Rose knows. Beautifully branded interactive tabs create a fun experience for Facebook users. At any time you can head on over to their page to check out the specials, find out who’s on stage, join the “pub insider”, and even purchase a gift card! But no matter how beautiful your page is, if you don’t have great posts, you won’t see any results. The Shannon Rose makes posts exciting and entertaining – and people love it. They talk to their fans how they would talk to them at the bar, and that’s what people look forward to.

 

 The Chocolate Lovers Club 

The Chocolate Lovers Club doesn’t need much help selling their product – hand dip’t chocolate treats really sell themselves. But in order to get the word out, the Chocolate Lovers Club turns to Facebook. Through Facebook, fans can find out about events, products and satisfy their sweet tooth. The CLC rewards loyal fans with coupons and free events. The composer of the posts understands that chocolate is more than just food – it’s a lifestyle. They demonstrate this by posting fun stories & by talking about how chocolate affects peoples’ lives.

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