Advertising and public relations can be complex and expensive, which is why small businesses turn to social media.
For nothing more than the few minutes it takes to set up an account, a business can tap into literally millions of potential customers through Twitter (241 million monthly active users) or Facebook (1.2 billion users).
Tombstone is a town made up of small businesses and many of them are on Facebook or have been tweeted about using #TombstoneAZ. Silver Strike Winery, for example, has 254 likes on Facebook and posts of the winery’s profile include updates on inventory, sales and advertising. The company does not use Instagram or Twitter, but a search of the #SilverStrikeWinery resulted in five photos on Instagram, a photo-sharing site, posted by patrons.
“When I came on with the company, they had a website that was being underutilized,” said Silver Strike Manager Kyle Bengel. “I knew from experience in other professions that websites are good for some information, but people like to communicate (through social media).”
Bengel said that social media has been useful for cross marketing with Tombstone Oil & Vinegar Co. and local coffee houses.
The O.K. Corral created an Instagram account two weeks ago and has posted five photos.
“Our website and Facebook page are the main pushers for our business,” said Assistant Manager Josh Hawley, who said social media falls flat to its primary customer demographic, which averages 60 years old, but has opened them up to a younger audience. “Seeing more younger generations is a good thing.”
Social media is so current that keeping up on posts has become a full-time job.
“I don’t have a Twitter because I don’t have time for one, but it requires someone who is constantly thinking about what to put up two or three times a day,” Bengel said. “With Facebook I can address it for 10 minutes and then I’m done with it.”
Corporations and even small businesses are beginning to hire social media strategists, copywriters and search engine optimization specialists. Search engine optimization increases the visibility of a website.
“Tombstone needs more of an online presence — being at the top of the search bar is the key point to any successful business these days,” Hawley said.