As we already know, social media can drive sales. But Toronto entrepreneur Ryan Smolkin didn’t need a study to tell him that. He is living proof of the power of social media, not just to build brands – but to actually grow revenue.
Smolkin is the founder of Smoke’s Poutinerie, a growing chain of restaurants selling poutine, a popular Canadian favorite containing French Fries, cheese curds and gravy. The mixture is often served with additional toppings like carmelized onions and bacon.
Recipe For Success
His social feeds share information about his latest restaurant openings, giveaways and other events. There’s also banter with customers and information on visits to local college campuses.
Smolkin told CNN Money recently:
“We put up things that people care about and want to see. We give them a reason to come back and they bring their friends when they do.”
So successful has Smolkin’s social media effort become that fans of his specialty now regularly share their experiences themselves. It is a nonstop word of mouth campaign that continues without even needing his direction.
Smokes poutine is mandatory at least once per week. pic.twitter.com/Bpr8LLNKkp
— Denz Detoya (@CallMeVitaminD) November 12, 2013
No Marketing Plan Other Than Facebook
Smolkin launched his chain of restaurants in 2008 with what many would have considered a crazy idea at the time.
He had no marketing budget, but instead, spent five hours a night on Facebook sending invites to friends from his company’s account.
The strategy paid off. Friends came, told friends, and the company’s reputation grew. Today, Smolkin’s chain has 60 restaurants across Canada and projects $28 million in sales by the end of the year.
He soon added Twitter to his social media marketing mix as well.
What You Can Learn?
The key to Smolkin’s success continues to be what he chooses to post and share on social media. Though his Facebook and Twitter account clearly drive sales, they never seem to visibly sell.
Rather, he shares news and information he knows will be important to his community, including giving customers directions to his chain’s nearest location. What he won’t do is post coupons and offers, feeling they devalue his product.
Social media can be a powerful driving force for revenue if used correctly. Just remember to treat your community well – and they will do the rest.
Images: Smoke’s Poutinerie Facebook