This is Lazarus. He has a new cafe in the South Hills Shopping Center. The shopping center is a little tired but the DMV office, the Roses store and the other remaining stores have loyal customer bases survive and keep a steady foot traffic. Still, the foot traffic is light enough that I meet my Mandarin tutor in the central hall for my weekly lessons. When Lazarus opened the cafe I told him that social media could help him analyze the traffic. I showed him how you could see a lot about the different people checking in at the locations in the mall and in the immediately surrounding area. He didn't think that information was useful to him. This is why he might be right:
Before Lazarus opened the cafe, he operated a hot dog cart in the parking lot of the mall for three years. Rain or shine, broiling or freezing, he was out there selling hot dogs to all comers. By the time he opened the cafe, he already knew everyone that comes to the mall whether they bought a hot dog or not. He's that kind of guy.
You know those thick tortilla chips that are made from actual tortillas? "Restaurant style" they call them. Lazarus sells little bags of them along with containers of toppings. He has a microwave and will give you a paper plate to spread out the chips and melt the real shredded cheese. He asked me what kind of toppings I wanted and I said that I wanted the chemical-filled liquid cheese spread that comes in a jar.
The next week when I came in for my Mandarin lesson he informed me that he wasn't going to be carrying that. He had asked all of his other customers and I was the only customer that wanted chemical-filled liquid cheese spread. He knows what everyone at the mall likes on their chips. "Besides," he said, "I care about your health."
Lazarus's business model is old-fashioned, but it is also very new-fashioned. It isn't enough to do a demographic study any more. If you don't know your customers by name, your competitor will stand in a parking lot for three years and get that information. I can show you how to use social media to get a sampling of that kind of information and use relationship mapping to project how your social media using customers are influencing their friends. I can also help you develop a social media presence where you get to know your customers better.
With all the time that saves you, stop by South Hills Shopping Center and get a plate of restaurant tortilla chips and meet Lazarus. Tell him social media sent you.