Bogota Latin Bistro’s 5,247th tweet was simple and alluring.
“Come closer,” the June 25 post read. “Take a look. You know you want one. Columbian chicken tamale: Delicious.”
For any of the 1,701 people who happen to follow ’s feed on Twitter, there was probably no question of whether to click on the URL following that tweet, which would have relocated him or her to a picture of a big green, glistening tamale.
Perhaps, after a long gander at the thing, that follower even picked up the phone and ordered takeout. Restaurant co-owner Farid Ali sure hopes they did. In fact, for a guy who doesn’t buy print advertising, he’s pretty much banking on it.
Ali is just one of the many Park Slope business owners riding the social media wave in a big way. Earlier this year, Business Insider reported that Facebook had over 600 million active users. Twitter has 125 million-ish users. Nowadays, a negative Yelp review is taken very seriously, and just about everyone and their grandma is blogging.
Park Slope businesses, in particular, have taken note, snubbing traditional print media advertisements to build their own online brand name via blogs, review sites, digital coupons, Twitter, and Facebook.
“I’m sitting in a great, great neighborhood filled with people that are savvy, that are educated, that love technology, that have iPhones, that love downloading apps, that jump on the next big thing,” Ali said. “It’s definitely an advantage of being in the neighborhood.”
Slope businesses are at the forefront of social media advertising in Brooklyn, says Drew Allen, head of sales in the New York area for Scoutmob. Scoutmob is a mobile coupon company similar to Groupon that uses a mobile app to show which nearby businesses offer discounts through the company. For someone whose responsibility is finding shops interested in using the service, Allen said it’s especially easy to explain what Scoutmob is to Park Slope entrepreneurs.
“They’re very engaged,” Allen said. “They want to see business improve in the area. and both were very, very cool, got it right away, understood it, and were onboard. So did .”
Some businesses have become so enthused by the power of social media that they've pushed to move business operations, like scheduling appointments, online. , for instance, advertises that customers will receive a free lip balm if they book their appointment through its Yelp page. You can do the same on their Facebook page, or by instant-messaging them on Gmail. Though you’re still able to call in the old-fashioned way, practice owner Justin Bazan prefers to start his online connections with clients early.
“For the first time in history we can engage as the business in a way that only people have had the ability to do,” Bazan said. “Instead of building relationships 30 minutes every year, we are building relationships frequently. We get a chance to share our experiences, information, and emotions with people who care about us back.”
Although not all the area’s businesses have embraced social media quite so enthusiastically, a strong online presence is still on the minds of many business owners, both corporate and local. Karla Mironov, owner of , said one of her suppliers recently sent her a handbook on how to build an online presence, something she knows is essential.
"Whether or not you’re getting direct feedback from people, I feel like that online presence is part of your branding now, whereas before it was a lot about your logo and the space itself, “ she said. “But there’s a virtual logo now in people’s minds. It’s not quite something they can visualize but it’s the way they connect you to how relevant you are based on their experience with other businesses.”