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Our Social Media Push Passes the Sales Test

By Laura Lorber

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

big-papa-social-media-passes-test.jpgIt's been just over 30 days since we began our Social Media Challenge for Big Papa's BBQ in Denver. Turns out, "challenge" was the perfect word for it. There was no online barbecue conversation to speak of in this city when we started. There were no followers for Big Papa's. They had no brand, voice or marketing plan. The winter was bearing down -- hardly BBQ season. And as for Big Papa's experience in social media? Nonexistent.

But, in Denver's Best BBQ Battle -- the social media campaign LeeReedy/Xylem Digital created, we've built a brand, a following and, most importantly for those who doubt social media's value, an increase in revenue for the restaurant.

To our reporting detriment, it took three weeks for Big Papa's BBQ to institute proper tracking mechanisms in its three restaurant locations. But we have two significant successes to share: the number of people walking into their restaurants who heard about us through our social media efforts and year over year revenue for December.

In one week:

  • 516 people heard about Big Papa's on Facebook, then went there to eat.
  • 153 people heard about Big Papa's on Twitter, then went there to eat.
  • 64 people heard about Big Papa's through email, then went there to eat.

Total: 733 people were driven to eat at Big Papa's using social media in just one week.

In the first two weeks of December:

  • Big Papa's has year-over-year revenue gains of 7%.

What's next? Facebook, Twitter, email, as well all ongoing promotion and dialogue on these venues, transfers over to the management team at Big Papa's BBQ. Our blog posts will be less frequent for Entrepreneur. But each time we check in, we'll let you let know how it's going, and you can weigh in on how you might do it better.

Progress TrackerWeek 0Week 2Week 3Week 4
Online Media Mentions:0336
Twitter Mentions:0262956
Facebook Daily Post Views:03,1424,9837,969
Twitter Followers:0179217230
Facebook Likes:210363428491
Email Subscribers:5978809781,032
Email Click Through Rate:0014%14% *
Email Open Rate:0035%35%*

* The restaurant industry average for email click-through rates is 3.4%, and email open-rates is 26%, according to 2010 Marketing Sherpa Benchmark Guide.

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