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Buffalo Social Media Firm Focuses on Educating Local Clients

  |  August 22, 2011   |  Comments

Young Western NY firm teaches mom-and-pops how to do Facebook for themselves.

Last week, a photo of Buffalo, NY area grocery store owner Frank Budwey was posted to the Budwey's Supermarket page on Facebook. In the shot, a beaming Budwey gives a thumbs up, and holds a sign printed on blue copy paper that reads, "We did it!!! 3,000 Fans!! Thank you!!!"

The small grocery chain has nearly doubled its Facebook likes since it began actively pursuing them, with the help of burgeoning social media shop, Social Yeah. The store offers customers a coupon for a free half dozen of "Budwey's Famous Donuts" if they like the brand. And, now that the grocer has built up a larger Facebook audience, it's begun posting its weekly circular of store deals there. "Pass it on, our ads are now on Facebook," states an image prompting fans to share the news.

budweys-frank-fb"Now you're putting your ad where there's an active audience," said Kevin Evanetski, social media strategist and founder of SocialYeah. Since he began working with Budwey's at the end of July, the store has grown its likes from 1,800 to over 3,000 today.

Evanetski, a one-man shop at the moment who's hoping to expand and open an office soon, believes his new company fills a gap for the 10 to 15 clients he's currently working with - all of them Western New York area businesses. Recent clients include Local Restaurant Week and Buffalo Chop House, a ritzy steak house in the heart of the city.

The key, he suggests, is combining social marketing services with actual training. Many mom-and-pops don't have the money to hire a social media staffer, or hire an agency, so they need to learn for themselves how to market on Facebook.

"They're the ones who know what's going on. You have to get the employees buy-in...from the secretary to the CEO, you have to empower them," said Evanetski. "I understand it's OK if I teach people to do what I do."

At Budwey's, for instance, two employees handle social media along with SocialYeah. "They're slowly getting other departments involved," Evanetski said, explaining that department heads often have their own customer stories to tell. It may be as simple as snapping a photo and passing it along to the folks in charge of the Facebook page.

For Local Restaurant Week, a twice-per-year event involving several local restaurants, SocialYeah is providing guides instructing restaurateurs how to promote the festivities on Facebook.

"I really try to take it slow and do things step by step," added Evanetski, who would rather help his less-digital media savvy clients excel at Facebook before they move on to Twitter, YouTube, or Foursquare.

SocialYeah is appealing to the Buffalonian's sense of history and loyalty in a just-launched campaign for Statler City, a firm renovating the Statler Building, the nearly-90-year-old home to the first of several Statler Hotels across the county. Ads that launched on Facebook on Thursday, August 18 ask people to "Click like to show your support for the renovation of Buffalo's historic Statler Building."

"The key thing that a lot of people don't understand is it costs money if you want a 10,000 fan page. You've got to invest. You've got to run ads,” said Evanetski. Likes for the page have grown from around 450 before the ads launched to more than 1,700 by Sunday morning.

"Click like if you've ever attended a wedding at the Statler,” notes a recent post to the Statler City page.

statleradshotRecognizing the fierce loyalty of Buffalonians who have left its inhospitable winters, often for more comfortable climes, SocialYeah chose not only to target the ads to Buffalo residents, but fans of its pro teams - The Bills, The Sabres, and younger sibling, The Bandits lacrosse team. The assumption is that people following the team probably have some connection to the city, which is also home to famous structures built by Frank Lloyd Wright and father of skyscrapers, Louis Sullivan.

SocialYeah finds itself up against local media and ad services firms like Local Edge, a search marketing company that offers Facebook marketing. While several companies can build a Facebook page for a small business, Evanetski argued, "If you don't know how to properly engage with your fans, you have a fancy looking Facebook page, but it's pointless."

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Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.

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