This Easter break, I was fortunate to attend An Evening with Owls event, hosted by small business, Raptor Vision on the Sunshine Coast.
It was a great event where over a hundred people turned up on Saturday to have their photos taken with an Owl, enjoy a BBQ and see an Owl Demonstration by Jason, the owner.
I have been working with Dave, my partner, who helped Jason and his wife, Crystal, put this show on. It was a their first public event with four adult owls and run on a shoestring budget.
A friend of mine created the flyer for them which was put up on notice boards around the Sunshine Coast and in Brisbane.
I spent a lot of time putting this event up on relevant social media sites for about six weeks prior to the date of the event, which was fun as I enjoy doing that kind of thing.
During the show, Dave asked the crowd, "How did you find out about this event?"
The overwhelming response was, "Facebook."
I was particularly interested in this real-life feedback as it showed the power of social networks to promote your event or business. No-one paid to advertise this event. It was done through putting up comments and invites on community pages on Facebook, Twitter and through blogs.
There were a small number of attendees at the event that said they saw the flyer and then they qualified that by saying, "that's when I got on Facebook and tracked down the details."
This event received a great turn out because of the level of personal interaction used to connect with people who have a keen interest in owls and are located within the target-market area. This event was so successful because people tell people and share interesting things on social media. An owl experience was more valuable to the participants than whatever other plans they may have had over the Easter break. This is important as it shows that people will go out of their way to obtain something that they perceive to be of high personal value.
Our lives, almost revolve around a virtual reality these days and the number of people who came to see the show are proof to me that it does work.
It is not easy, but social networking through the internet really does help small businesses to grow and thrive.
Personally, I think the difficulty that some small business owners face is not knowing how to sell themselves to their target market through the use of valuable content on blogs, posts, audio and video.
Online marketing appears to be moving towards a personal touch and the clients/customers getting to know the person behind the business. This personal interaction seems to pull in great numbers of interested people.
I recommend that when you have something to sell to your clients/customers, that you put out free valuable content and actively engage in online communities as this is how people will come to know you and your business. This often leads to an ongoing business relationship that could become a gold mine if you take the time to sift through the dross.