The final days of summer gone by

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Labor Day traditionally marks the end of summer in the U.S. Kids are heading back to school and sports activities are in full swing. The IMC fall semester is now two weeks underway and I am finally adjusted to writing posts and papers again. The past two weeks have been spent completing the final activities on our summer fun list. Since I am in Social Media and Marketing (IMC 641) class this fall, I have been paying extra attention to the social media sites for every business/event/activity since classes started. One particular event on our list struck me in its use of social media:

Nelson’s Ice Cream Shop in Stillwater, MN

Ice Cream at Nelson'sNelson’s is a small old fashioned ice cream shop located on the very east side of the twin cities, just on the border to Wisconsin. People have driven 40 miles to get this ice cream. Why?  Because you get a serving size that is likely bigger than your head and it only costs $3-$4. ‘Nuf said! The cones in the picture are a child-size. Imagine what a single, double, triple or lumberjack size looks like!

As we were in route from the park to the ice cream shop, I googled directions on my iPhone. I noticed that their facebook page was the first thing that came up in the search. Curious, I took a look and found that this small little ice cream shop has over 11,000 ‘Likes’ on their page. Yes, that may not seem like much, but keep in mind this is a town of just 18,000 people. But even more impressive is the amount of dialogue on their facebook page. People are posting comments, answering questions and taking their pictures outside the ice cream shop and tagging them on facebook. They also have YouTube videos which have gotten hundreds of hits (like their Lumberjack Ice Cream Eating contest – 5 softball size scoops of ice cream). They also are on FourSquare with a few hundred check-ins. What better way to spread the word about your business than to get your clients to do it for you over the social web. Facebook certainly is a prominent place to be if you are in the B2C space.

I am always impressed to see small businesses that likely have minimal marketing efforts succeed at something like Social Media. Of course in the IMC641 class on Social Media and Marketing, we would dive deeper into the strategy behind using Social Media for this little ice cream shop and how they could really leverage it for their business.

Without getting too in-depth into the topics covered in IMC641, here are a few tips if your are exploring whether social media is right for your business:

  1. Is your target audience using social networks? Which ones? Can you reach them there?
  2. Will it help you achieve your goals?
  3. Do you have enough time and resources to do a good job?

(By the way, if you are still looking for a graduate program in Marketing, the IMC program offered by WVU provides an excellent program with courses that are completely up-to-date and relevant to the marketing environment today.) 

Your turn
Do you have any awesome examples of small businesses using social media effectively? What struck you? Leave a comment below – I’d love to check them out.

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