Can Social Media Save a Local Business?

John Andrews from Simply Gourmet Grand Opening John Andrews runs the Simply Gourmet Bistro and Groceria in Peabody, Massachusetts. I was fortunate enough to attend a grand opening ceremony the other day, and sample some of his amazing hot food.

John’s situation is like a lot of other small businesses. Things are tight, and he really needs more business to stay afloat. For those of you in Massachusetts, swing by and visit John at 297 Lynn St, Peabody, MA 01960 or call (978) 530-1100. For those of you on Facebook, check out the fan page.

But seriously, is there anything that we could do with social media that would save John’s business?

I really don’t know. Because if you don’t live near John (and I don’t really), I can’t buy his food often enough to keep him funded. If you do live near him, as @CharJTF from Twitter does, you already know about him.

So how would you help John?

And, some pictures:

Simply Gourmet Ribbon Cutting
Char James-Tanny at Simply Gourmet Grand Opening
Vera Simply Gourmet Grand Opening
Simply Gourmet Grand Opening
Simply Gourmet Grand Opening
Vera From Simply Gourmet Grand Opening

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  • David

    A shot story. I lived across the street from a little sandwich shop for a year, and never went it… I stuck to what I knew, or what was recommended. Then one day, on a whim, I went in… guess what, best sandwich in the city. A little social media would of helped his situation… well that and some new signage… and maybe getting rid of those tacky posters in the window :)

    okay, he needed an makeover, but he had a great sandwich, for a great price, and sharing that 411 is what social media is all about.

  • http://www.croz.com.au Croz from Oz

    Hi Chris

    You have answered your own question.

    Where else could you get the assistance of almost a hundred people to give ideas freely to assist a total stranger.

    The total secret of social media is this phenomenum of giving. In the real world people still have not adopted this strategy.

    Abundance to All

    Croz
    PS. I have a few extra special ideas that I am prepared to sell. lol

    @crozfromoz

  • http://www.croz.com.au Croz from Oz

    Hi Chris

    You have answered your own question.

    Where else could you get the assistance of almost a hundred people to give ideas freely to assist a total stranger.

    The total secret of social media is this phenomenum of giving. In the real world people still have not adopted this strategy.

    Abundance to All

    Croz
    PS. I have a few extra special ideas that I am prepared to sell. lol

    @crozfromoz

  • http://www.croz.com.au Croz from Oz

    Hi Chris

    You have answered your own question.

    Where else could you get the assistance of almost a hundred people to give ideas freely to assist a total stranger.

    The total secret of social media is this phenomenum of giving. In the real world people still have not adopted this strategy.

    Abundance to All

    Croz
    PS. I have a few extra special ideas that I am prepared to sell. lol

    @crozfromoz

  • http://www.croz.com.au Croz from Oz

    Hi Chris

    You have answered your own question.

    Where else could you get the assistance of almost a hundred people to give ideas freely to assist a total stranger.

    The total secret of social media is this phenomenum of giving. In the real world people still have not adopted this strategy.

    Abundance to All

    Croz
    PS. I have a few extra special ideas that I am prepared to sell. lol

    @crozfromoz

  • http://www.travelinlocal.com LisaNewton

    Social media doesn’t have to be online, but social could also be just up close and personal. Why not try to work with the local high school? How about offering field trips for the younger students and cooking classes for the older ones? 1st and 2nd graders love the idea of being able to walk into a refrigerator and taking home a small goodie bag. For the older students, to off set costs, maybe charge just the cost of the food. Students get a great meal, cook it themselves, learn, plus, he gets the opportunity to reach out to their parents.

  • http://www.travelinlocal.com LisaNewton

    Social media doesn’t have to be online, but social could also be just up close and personal. Why not try to work with the local high school? How about offering field trips for the younger students and cooking classes for the older ones? 1st and 2nd graders love the idea of being able to walk into a refrigerator and taking home a small goodie bag. For the older students, to off set costs, maybe charge just the cost of the food. Students get a great meal, cook it themselves, learn, plus, he gets the opportunity to reach out to their parents.

  • http://www.travelinlocal.com LisaNewton

    Social media doesn’t have to be online, but social could also be just up close and personal. Why not try to work with the local high school? How about offering field trips for the younger students and cooking classes for the older ones? 1st and 2nd graders love the idea of being able to walk into a refrigerator and taking home a small goodie bag. For the older students, to off set costs, maybe charge just the cost of the food. Students get a great meal, cook it themselves, learn, plus, he gets the opportunity to reach out to their parents.

  • http://www.travelinlocal.com LisaNewton

    Social media doesn’t have to be online, but social could also be just up close and personal. Why not try to work with the local high school? How about offering field trips for the younger students and cooking classes for the older ones? 1st and 2nd graders love the idea of being able to walk into a refrigerator and taking home a small goodie bag. For the older students, to off set costs, maybe charge just the cost of the food. Students get a great meal, cook it themselves, learn, plus, he gets the opportunity to reach out to their parents.

  • http://www.jean.ghalo.com Jean Ghalo

    well it is nice from you chris to feature hometown super heroes and local businesses on your blog, at least your trying to help.

    what I think for food business all what can be done, is held like a tweetup there bring more friends who might become regular new customers… am miles away to attend but duno if those near by can do…

    good luck guys.

    cheers!
    Jean

  • http://www.jean.ghalo.com Jean Ghalo

    well it is nice from you chris to feature hometown super heroes and local businesses on your blog, at least your trying to help.

    what I think for food business all what can be done, is held like a tweetup there bring more friends who might become regular new customers… am miles away to attend but duno if those near by can do…

    good luck guys.

    cheers!
    Jean

  • http://www.jean.ghalo.com Jean Ghalo

    well it is nice from you chris to feature hometown super heroes and local businesses on your blog, at least your trying to help.

    what I think for food business all what can be done, is held like a tweetup there bring more friends who might become regular new customers… am miles away to attend but duno if those near by can do…

    good luck guys.

    cheers!
    Jean

  • http://www.jean.ghalo.com Jean Ghalo

    well it is nice from you chris to feature hometown super heroes and local businesses on your blog, at least your trying to help.

    what I think for food business all what can be done, is held like a tweetup there bring more friends who might become regular new customers… am miles away to attend but duno if those near by can do…

    good luck guys.

    cheers!
    Jean

  • http://www.jean.ghalo.com Jean Ghalo

    well it is nice from you chris to feature hometown super heroes and local businesses on your blog, at least your trying to help.

    what I think for food business all what can be done, is held like a tweetup there bring more friends who might become regular new customers… am miles away to attend but duno if those near by can do…

    good luck guys.

    cheers!
    Jean

  • http://www.101ThingsAudioVideo.com Penny Haynes

    If they have Twitter, then search for other Twitterers in their local radius and subscribe to them, to build relationships locally. Also, consider helping other businesses in your area use social media – be the small business guru in your area, and create a social network in your area where local businesses and local people in general can communicate. By hosting such a site and using it as part of your marketing budget, you can create great online place where everyone in your community can come and participate, and you be front and center on the best advertising spots. Have contests for the best local video and post them online for voting.

  • http://www.101ThingsAudioVideo.com Penny Haynes

    If they have Twitter, then search for other Twitterers in their local radius and subscribe to them, to build relationships locally. Also, consider helping other businesses in your area use social media – be the small business guru in your area, and create a social network in your area where local businesses and local people in general can communicate. By hosting such a site and using it as part of your marketing budget, you can create great online place where everyone in your community can come and participate, and you be front and center on the best advertising spots. Have contests for the best local video and post them online for voting.

  • http://www.101ThingsAudioVideo.com Penny Haynes

    If they have Twitter, then search for other Twitterers in their local radius and subscribe to them, to build relationships locally. Also, consider helping other businesses in your area use social media – be the small business guru in your area, and create a social network in your area where local businesses and local people in general can communicate. By hosting such a site and using it as part of your marketing budget, you can create great online place where everyone in your community can come and participate, and you be front and center on the best advertising spots. Have contests for the best local video and post them online for voting.

  • http://simplygourmetbistroandcatering.wordpress.com JohnA

    Oh my god!!! I am speechless, so many great ideas. Just an update on things I am trying desperately to get into place. (Money is a huge factor right now as we had a nasty break in before the holidays) For now I am aggresively trying to do the things I can afford. I have started an email list and am corraling every one that I can get for a bi-weekly mailing. (Have already gotten a few bites off of that) As many of you know i started a store specific twitter page http://www.twitter.com/simplygourmet where I am trying to push out daily specials and exclusive twitter offers. I have updated as many sites as I could find, yellow pages, yelp, facebook, etc. and I have started a blog with which I would like people to know more about my story and cuisine(there is a lot more than chris wrote about, believe me) http://www.simplygourmetbistroandcatering.wordpress.com I truly am amazed at the outpouring over this post and I feel blessed that chris reached out and blessed that you all took a little time out of your hectic lives to give me some advice. Now I will just continue to buckle down and see if we can make this work. Namaste
    j

  • http://simplygourmetbistroandcatering.wordpress.com JohnA

    Oh my god!!! I am speechless, so many great ideas. Just an update on things I am trying desperately to get into place. (Money is a huge factor right now as we had a nasty break in before the holidays) For now I am aggresively trying to do the things I can afford. I have started an email list and am corraling every one that I can get for a bi-weekly mailing. (Have already gotten a few bites off of that) As many of you know i started a store specific twitter page http://www.twitter.com/simplygourmet where I am trying to push out daily specials and exclusive twitter offers. I have updated as many sites as I could find, yellow pages, yelp, facebook, etc. and I have started a blog with which I would like people to know more about my story and cuisine(there is a lot more than chris wrote about, believe me) http://www.simplygourmetbistroandcatering.wordpress.com I truly am amazed at the outpouring over this post and I feel blessed that chris reached out and blessed that you all took a little time out of your hectic lives to give me some advice. Now I will just continue to buckle down and see if we can make this work. Namaste
    j

  • http://simplygourmetbistroandcatering.wordpress.com JohnA

    Oh my god!!! I am speechless, so many great ideas. Just an update on things I am trying desperately to get into place. (Money is a huge factor right now as we had a nasty break in before the holidays) For now I am aggresively trying to do the things I can afford. I have started an email list and am corraling every one that I can get for a bi-weekly mailing. (Have already gotten a few bites off of that) As many of you know i started a store specific twitter page http://www.twitter.com/simplygourmet where I am trying to push out daily specials and exclusive twitter offers. I have updated as many sites as I could find, yellow pages, yelp, facebook, etc. and I have started a blog with which I would like people to know more about my story and cuisine(there is a lot more than chris wrote about, believe me) http://www.simplygourmetbistroandcatering.wordpress.com I truly am amazed at the outpouring over this post and I feel blessed that chris reached out and blessed that you all took a little time out of your hectic lives to give me some advice. Now I will just continue to buckle down and see if we can make this work. Namaste
    j

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  • http://www.tina-m.com Tina Mammoser

    I think you’ve mentioned (if you haven’t I’m sure you would) the importance of repeat customers and customer service in this economy. What about daily Twitter specials? A small discount or special offer, an announcement of the sandwich and/or coffee of the day. Keeping people coming will means holding on to that steady side of business. A newsletter, blog or Facebook page could have something a little less fleeting – perhaps weekly offers, “bring a friend” ideas, info about staff or a product feature.

  • http://www.tina-m.com Tina Mammoser

    I think you’ve mentioned (if you haven’t I’m sure you would) the importance of repeat customers and customer service in this economy. What about daily Twitter specials? A small discount or special offer, an announcement of the sandwich and/or coffee of the day. Keeping people coming will means holding on to that steady side of business. A newsletter, blog or Facebook page could have something a little less fleeting – perhaps weekly offers, “bring a friend” ideas, info about staff or a product feature.

  • http://www.tina-m.com Tina Mammoser

    I think you’ve mentioned (if you haven’t I’m sure you would) the importance of repeat customers and customer service in this economy. What about daily Twitter specials? A small discount or special offer, an announcement of the sandwich and/or coffee of the day. Keeping people coming will means holding on to that steady side of business. A newsletter, blog or Facebook page could have something a little less fleeting – perhaps weekly offers, “bring a friend” ideas, info about staff or a product feature.

  • http://www.tina-m.com Tina Mammoser

    I think you’ve mentioned (if you haven’t I’m sure you would) the importance of repeat customers and customer service in this economy. What about daily Twitter specials? A small discount or special offer, an announcement of the sandwich and/or coffee of the day. Keeping people coming will means holding on to that steady side of business. A newsletter, blog or Facebook page could have something a little less fleeting – perhaps weekly offers, “bring a friend” ideas, info about staff or a product feature.

  • http://www.tina-m.com Tina Mammoser

    I think you’ve mentioned (if you haven’t I’m sure you would) the importance of repeat customers and customer service in this economy. What about daily Twitter specials? A small discount or special offer, an announcement of the sandwich and/or coffee of the day. Keeping people coming will means holding on to that steady side of business. A newsletter, blog or Facebook page could have something a little less fleeting – perhaps weekly offers, “bring a friend” ideas, info about staff or a product feature.

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  • Michael Hyde

    Here’s another article related to this topic on social media helping a business owner: “…created a Facebook account and sent out e-mails to his friends about what had happened to their neighbor. His idea was to organize a mass dine out, in which people would take turns eating at Zamiri’s Marlborough restaurant. He even created a Google calendar so friends and neighbors could see who was dining at Sorrento’s each night…”

  • Michael Hyde

    Here’s another article related to this topic on social media helping a business owner: “…created a Facebook account and sent out e-mails to his friends about what had happened to their neighbor. His idea was to organize a mass dine out, in which people would take turns eating at Zamiri’s Marlborough restaurant. He even created a Google calendar so friends and neighbors could see who was dining at Sorrento’s each night…”

  • Michael Hyde

    Here’s another article related to this topic on social media helping a business owner: “…created a Facebook account and sent out e-mails to his friends about what had happened to their neighbor. His idea was to organize a mass dine out, in which people would take turns eating at Zamiri’s Marlborough restaurant. He even created a Google calendar so friends and neighbors could see who was dining at Sorrento’s each night…”

  • Michael Hyde

    Here’s another article related to this topic on social media helping a business owner: “…created a Facebook account and sent out e-mails to his friends about what had happened to their neighbor. His idea was to organize a mass dine out, in which people would take turns eating at Zamiri’s Marlborough restaurant. He even created a Google calendar so friends and neighbors could see who was dining at Sorrento’s each night…”

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  • http://www.smblive.com Beth

    Inbound leads, inbound leads. Go social media. It’s great that you have a Facebook, but do more, invest more time not money. Twitter, blog, comment on other blogs to include inbound links. Make your brand, put yourself out there. Local Search for SMBs: Sign of the Times

  • http://www.smblive.com Beth

    Inbound leads, inbound leads. Go social media. It’s great that you have a Facebook, but do more, invest more time not money. Twitter, blog, comment on other blogs to include inbound links. Make your brand, put yourself out there. Local Search for SMBs: Sign of the Times

  • http://www.smblive.com Beth

    Inbound leads, inbound leads. Go social media. It’s great that you have a Facebook, but do more, invest more time not money. Twitter, blog, comment on other blogs to include inbound links. Make your brand, put yourself out there. Local Search for SMBs: Sign of the Times

  • http://www.smblive.com Beth

    Inbound leads, inbound leads. Go social media. It’s great that you have a Facebook, but do more, invest more time not money. Twitter, blog, comment on other blogs to include inbound links. Make your brand, put yourself out there. Local Search for SMBs: Sign of the Times

  • http://www.johnandrews.com john andrews

    Oh my more competition in Google for “John Andrews”.

    Good to see the ideas flowing forth. @chris I was in the audience at Wordcamp and enjoyed your humor. Maybe you could so some stand up at Simply Gourmet? Or maybe John can settle for running some Meetup.com events and tweetups, making sure to invite you ;-)

  • http://www.johnandrews.com john andrews

    Oh my more competition in Google for “John Andrews”.

    Good to see the ideas flowing forth. @chris I was in the audience at Wordcamp and enjoyed your humor. Maybe you could so some stand up at Simply Gourmet? Or maybe John can settle for running some Meetup.com events and tweetups, making sure to invite you ;-)

  • http://www.johnandrews.com john andrews

    Oh my more competition in Google for “John Andrews”.

    Good to see the ideas flowing forth. @chris I was in the audience at Wordcamp and enjoyed your humor. Maybe you could so some stand up at Simply Gourmet? Or maybe John can settle for running some Meetup.com events and tweetups, making sure to invite you ;-)

  • http://www.johnandrews.com john andrews

    Oh my more competition in Google for “John Andrews”.

    Good to see the ideas flowing forth. @chris I was in the audience at Wordcamp and enjoyed your humor. Maybe you could so some stand up at Simply Gourmet? Or maybe John can settle for running some Meetup.com events and tweetups, making sure to invite you ;-)

  • http://www.johnandrews.com john andrews

    Oh my more competition in Google for “John Andrews”.

    Good to see the ideas flowing forth. @chris I was in the audience at Wordcamp and enjoyed your humor. Maybe you could so some stand up at Simply Gourmet? Or maybe John can settle for running some Meetup.com events and tweetups, making sure to invite you ;-)

  • http://www.johnandrews.com john andrews

    Oh my more competition in Google for “John Andrews”.

    Good to see the ideas flowing forth. @chris I was in the audience at Wordcamp and enjoyed your humor. Maybe you could so some stand up at Simply Gourmet? Or maybe John can settle for running some Meetup.com events and tweetups, making sure to invite you ;-)

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  • http://www.selfhelpdaily.com Joi

    To thrive on the local level, I’d say they should offer the friendliest service possible – to treat each customer as a family member. People will return again and again to a place that feels like home.

    On the grand scale? They could develop a trademark cookie (or candy for that matter) and go after those of us who make up the online community. They could contact various bloggers in a wide variety of niches, and offer to send them a sample of their deliciousness (in exchange for them telling their readers about it).

    Bloggers are consistent. If you send us coffee, chocolate, or cookies – we’re instantly on your team! And, face it, no one makes more noise than we do.

  • http://www.selfhelpdaily.com Joi

    To thrive on the local level, I’d say they should offer the friendliest service possible – to treat each customer as a family member. People will return again and again to a place that feels like home.

    On the grand scale? They could develop a trademark cookie (or candy for that matter) and go after those of us who make up the online community. They could contact various bloggers in a wide variety of niches, and offer to send them a sample of their deliciousness (in exchange for them telling their readers about it).

    Bloggers are consistent. If you send us coffee, chocolate, or cookies – we’re instantly on your team! And, face it, no one makes more noise than we do.

  • http://www.selfhelpdaily.com Joi

    To thrive on the local level, I’d say they should offer the friendliest service possible – to treat each customer as a family member. People will return again and again to a place that feels like home.

    On the grand scale? They could develop a trademark cookie (or candy for that matter) and go after those of us who make up the online community. They could contact various bloggers in a wide variety of niches, and offer to send them a sample of their deliciousness (in exchange for them telling their readers about it).

    Bloggers are consistent. If you send us coffee, chocolate, or cookies – we’re instantly on your team! And, face it, no one makes more noise than we do.

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  • http://www.chris-moody.com Chris Moody

    I’ll volunteer some services if SimplyGourmet would like to move to a hosted solution. I posted on their blog, but I think a few easy changes could help their web presence match the desired perception [see suggestion here: http://simplygourmetbistroandcatering.wordpress.com/about-us-and-contact-information/#contact-form-38.

    For the sake of social media and what seems to be like a good group of people, I can donate some design services to do something like that if it is of any interest.

  • http://www.chris-moody.com Chris Moody

    I’ll volunteer some services if SimplyGourmet would like to move to a hosted solution. I posted on their blog, but I think a few easy changes could help their web presence match the desired perception [see suggestion here: http://simplygourmetbistroandcatering.wordpress.com/about-us-and-contact-information/#contact-form-38.

    For the sake of social media and what seems to be like a good group of people, I can donate some design services to do something like that if it is of any interest.