"The situation at St. Pete Brasserie is dire," the post still reads. "They are poised to close their doors if a miracle does not happen this week. Please support our local, independent restaurants. They have a great menu with an inspired chef and good prices. Prix fixe is $17. 15 jobs are at stake. (Please repost and spread the word!)"
Facebook ended up being that miracle, according to an interview Andrew "Wilco" Wilkins had with Central Florida News 13. In the story posted on July 8, Wilkins credits Facebook with helping restaurant sales increase 40 percent.
On Sept. 15, the DIYSEO Blog—an arm of Chicago-based search engine optimization software provider DIYSEO—highlighted the restaurant as exemplifying how small- and mid-sized businesses can use social media to enhance their SEO.
"Engagement on social networks is a great way for small businesses to help their search engine optimization (SEO) and drive customer acquisition," according to the blog. "Social networking can help small businesses develop relationships, influence purchases and help drive repeat business."
Here are three ways your business can do that:
Communicate before the sale. Use social media to make offers and extend invitations. For instance in July, the restaurant posted on its fan page that everyone liking St. Pete Brasserie on Facebook would get 25 percent off of their checks.
Help purchasing become social. For St. Pete Brasserie, that means the restaurant posts pictures of meals and menus, and its nearly 800 fans discuss the meals on the page—both with each other and the restaurant representatives.
Keep talking after the sale. In St. Pete Brasserie's case, that means a discussion of the resident squirrel's habits, a promise to buy a drink for a customer who stopped by before the restaurant opened, and advice from a customer who noticed the restaurant's site needed a higher bandwidth to handle all the traffic it was getting.