Case Study: Bay Area Café Opts for Full-Service Social Management

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Merchant: Sam’s Anchor Café
Location: Tiburon, California
Vendors: Main Street Hub, Facebook, Yelp
Bottom Line: Opting for full-service social media management saves business owners time and eliminates the emotional burden of responding to negative reviews on Yelp.

Keeping on top of the endless stream of reviews posted on Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, TripAdvisor, and similar online platforms each day can be time-consuming for a busy small business owner. Responding to negative reviews can be emotionally draining, as well, which is one of the reasons why Brian Wilson decided to take another route.

The owner of Sam’s Anchor Café, a popular waterfront restaurant in Tiburon, Calif., says a large chunk of his time was being eaten up by responding to customers online, and his responsibilities outside of social media management made it hard to respond to every online posting as quickly as he would have liked.

“You cannot ignore it,” Wilson says. “Especially Yelp, which is very much not my favorite platform.”

More than 840 reviews have been posted about Sam’s Anchor Café on Yelp, and an additional 700 have been posted on his business’ Facebook page. But in a competitive market, where customers rely heavily on the reviews being written by strangers online when deciding where to eat, Wilson says it’s incredibly important to take reviews seriously. At one point, he was spending hours each week reading and responding to customer reviews.

Wilson ultimately decided he couldn’t afford to keep spending so much time manually managing his company’s social media presence. Instead, he opted to hand the reigns over to Main Street Hub, a full-service marketing automation and CRM platform that integrates social, reviews, mobile and email marketing.

An unsolicited email pitch from Main Street Hub that invited Wilson to check out the company piqued his interest, and Wilson soon found himself relying on Main Street Hub’s writers and managers to respond to nearly every review (positive and negative) posted on Yelp, along with many that have been posted on Facebook and TripAdvisor. Main Street Hub’s writers also help craft social media posts and work closely with Wilson on an email newsletter.

“I know it saves me lots of time and the response from active reviewers has been very good,” Wilson says. “If someone has an issue, they get a reply much quicker, as I need to spend my time running the restaurant.”

Wilson has cut down on the time he spends reading reviews and posting on his company’s Facebook page, and now spends just two hours a week on related tasks. In addition to increasing his average star rating on Facebook, Wilson also credits Main Street Hub with generating more interest around his café’s social properties through regular postings. For example, his café’s Facebook page is updated daily with customer photos, amusing anecdotes, prompts to sign up for an email newsletter. The Facebook page also includes links to positive reviews that have been posted about the restaurant on Yelp.

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

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Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.