Giapo is where people go to have a licking experience.

Giapo in Queen Street within the Civic theatre complex is a small two door Italian gelato shop that is driven by passion and has created a dedicated following using a range of social media tools.

The Tweet Twins dropped into the store recently to say hi and catch a few words from Giapo…. It is not often that the owner of the shop eventually becomes known simply as his store name.

In essence a strong theme Giapo mentioned was he has to be part of the conversation with his customers. So how can a company use Social Media tools. Here are some ideas in addition to the video we recorded with Giapo

1. Communicate
What conversation, you ask? The conversation taking place everyday with his customers in his local community and beyond. What does that mean for you? It’s time to open a dialogue with these potential customers. Do a youtube search for giapo or Twitter and you’ll see what I mean.

Giapo makes it really easy to maintain communication with these potential customers by using a free suite of Social Media tools to develop the communication. By unlocking these free tools, you’ll be able to update your business information, post special offers, announce upcoming events and, most importantly, communicate with your customers.

2. Tell your story
Inquiring minds want to know, and here’s your chance to give ’em the scoop, right on your Yelp business page. You can share the history behind your business and what you do best. Also, add a little something about yourself and your managers so that Yelp users can get to know you.

3. Smile for the camera.
Thats right every customer can record a photo and Youtube video whilst they are waiting for the cone to be loaded with a delight for the taste buds.

By the time you have got home there will be an email waiting for you with a photo and youtube link. Shortly Giapo will have it so that the video clip is automatically posted on your facebook wall.

4. Bring on the engagement
Now just imagine all your face book friends see where you buy gelato ice cream and the mind space that Giapo acquires of your friends. Pretty savvy marketing in my books. And of course the amazing flavours available are certainly a subject for conversation.

5. Make an announcement!
Now if you are following Giapo on Twitter you can easily know when he adds gelato flavour 33… and we’re suggesting he need’s a TweetTwins flavour 🙂 When you drop into Giapo in Queen Street make sure you ask for the TweetTwins surprise.

6. Do let people know you’re on Social Media.
You can find Giapo in many places – facebook.com/giapogelato or twitter.com/giapo, http://www.youtube.com/user/GIAPOTV http://www.giapo.com and of course they want to hear from you on email at giapo@giapo.com

7. Give your customers a platform to engage instantly
Notice the many comments customers have left on the youtube page, free endorsements by the scoop load. Any negative experiences or feedback is known immediately for correction.

8. Respond, Engage & Communicate

Customers want to become your friend and friends do business with friends and they tell their friends
Be open and honest when you have the opportunity to engage in a dialogue with consumers. It’s important to consider your approach and tone; your reviewers are your customers, more vocal than most, and though you may have good intentions, meaning can sometimes be misconstrued through the Internet.

Avoid getting defensive, making excuses, attacking or blaming the customer if the comments are not entirely favourable– this is your chance to establish a human relationship and make this situation better, even if it’s just to let them know you are listening and appreciate their feedback. When you take the time to acknowledge their personal situation and address their issue, it shows and may even help to change the customer’s perspective for good.

9. Measure your word of mouth
It is important for a company to have fans, friends and followers and soon you will have built your network. By using Social Media the analytics (measuring your word-of-mouth) is as simple as logging in to your account. You’ll be able to check on the number of page views your business has each day and each month, an important indication of just how much buzz your business is generating. You can also opt-in to receive email alerts when new reviews are posted and track your review distribution and rating over time with google alerts.

10. Lather, Rinse, Repeat
Once you’ve got your Social Media profile on line, uploaded photos, branded your online presence and posted an enticing announcement, stick with it! Keeping track of your Social Media pages and your reviews, along with responding in a timely manner to those who’ve taken the time to provide you with feedback, only takes a few minutes a week and doesn’t cost you a dime. By keeping the lines of communication open and being receptive to customer feedback — both positive and negative — you’re putting yourself and your business in a position of great visibility to the Yelp community and potential customers in your area. Be consistent, be positive and be engaging!

Don’t forget to ask for the Tweet Twins special if you want a surprise and can not make up your mind!

If you are small company that is making use of Social Media tools in an innovative way and would like to be featured in a video interview contact The Tweet Twins at tweettwins at gmail com

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