I took my team to Pole Positon Raceway [ @racep2r ] this week as a thankyou for their many late nights and weekends of hard work developing our new corporate website. It was my first visit and I was extremely impressed with every aspect of the place from the iPad based registration to the intro video to the queuing to the racing to the score cards with rank/graph against others. Not only was the place very well run but the racing was really fun and fast [45 mph].
This experience got me thinking about how local businesses create brand advocates today. In the past it was hard to get referrals but now with social media it can happen in an instant [and the reverse is true also in that a bad experience is reported immediately]. As an example, some of our team took pictures/videos and posted them to Facebook on the spot with comments about what a great time they had. I found it interesting though that Pole Position [and nearly all businesses I go to] don't overtly ask customers to share their experiences. Small business owners will tell you that their most valuable marketing is referrals and word-of-mouth, yet they don't do anything to drive that behavior. Why not have signs around the place saying "Having a good time? Please Tweet/Facebook about it." Or "If you use Flickr, Instagram or YouTube please take some pics/videos and share them." It's 100% free advertising by happy customers to dozens/hundreds/thousands of their friends who are way more likely to try the place based on the endorsement.
And don't forget the huge SEO and reputation bonus of all that content indexed on Google for your business name. It's truly win/win and costs just a few bucks for the signage -- or nothing for staff to simply ask people who look like they are having a good time -- and even volunteer to take the video/group shot for them.
Tip to Pole Position Raceway Frisco: You need to create a Facebook fan page and Twitter page for the Frisco, TX location where you can and market the your leagues, special events and offers, driving even more fans and referred customers.