Technology

Stop being afraid to show off

Patrick Stafford /

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to head over to PAX Australia, a branch of the American convention of the same name which focuses on all things nerdy: video games, comic books, technology. All that jazz.

It was a great few days, a good atmosphere.

But I don’t want to talk about games. I want to talk about food trucks.

During the convention there were a variety of food trucks lined up on the grounds to feed the hungry attendees. For most of the three-day convention, these trucks had lines that were at least 15-minutes long – some tweets I saw had a line for a taco truck pinned at an hour.

Now, most of these trucks were fairly nondescript. They were white vans with a sign and a menu. Nothing really spectacular.

But some of them had clearly gone to the extra effort. They were designed extraordinarily well, had simple menus, and they had signs pointing people to where they could find them on social media.

Especially at a convention, this is gold – people are going to be recommending food to everyone else. In that situation, you want to make sure you’re on Twitter or Facebook.

There has been more of this happening lately. Bricks and mortar businesses throwing up signs and directing people to social media pages. Some even go the next step and offer a discount to anyone who checks in or mentions them in a tweet.

Such strategies are fine, but they don’t go beyond putting a piece of paper in the window or at the cash register. Unlike the food trucks at PAX, they don’t take social media seriously enough.

Of course, creating good branding and a fancy sign isn’t going to do anything for you if your social media strategy is terrible overall.

But there’s something to be said for showing off your social presence. If you’re in a retail store, there’s no reason why you can’t stencil your Facebook and Twitter handles on the front window, or on a prominent sign.

Don’t assume people will just search for you on Google. Give them an action – tell them you’re online. They’re not going to find you, otherwise – and your hard work is just going to waste.

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Patrick Stafford

Patrick Stafford is a freelance journalist and a former deputy editor of SmartCompany.

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