There's a restaurant in Louisville, Ky, called Lynn's Paradise Cafe. Its food is good, its wait staff friendly, but its reputation outshines many other equally good restaurants in town. Bobby Flay has stopped to film a Food Network Challenge there, celebrities in town for Derby are sure to book a table, and every weekend without fail there's a line out the door. Why? Because Lynn's Paradise Cafe knows how to have fun. There's a gift shop in the waiting area with ridiculous, unique gifts, there's a large stand up of a fork and spoon in the parking lot you can stick your head into and get your picture taken and there are toys on the table for you to play with, yes, even the adults, as you wait for your bourbon-infused pancakes. From the moment you pull up to the moment you leave you are in an environment that is fun. Your social presence should be the same. People aren't on Facebook to be serious, they want to have fun. A recent study says 49% of people follow brands because they want fun engaging content and only 16% follow brands because they want information on the brand. Makes sense to me. So how do you have fun with your fans? Let's take a few lessons from Lynn's:
1. Create something for them to do. Much like trying on quirky hats in the gift shop or playing with rubber dinosaurs at the table, you should give your fans something to do on social. Maybe it's as simple as throwing out a few trivia questions or having them think of words that rhyme with your brand name. It doesn't have to be rocket science, but it should be something light, fun and easy for them to participate in.
2. Stretch their imagination. The colorful decor and tree made of teabags in the middle of the restaurant make you feel like you are in another world when you're dining at Lynn's. While visuals are sometimes limited on social, there's no reason your fans can't help you dream up a new world for your brand - suggest new flavors, suggest new ways to serve or use your product.
3. Project fun. Even if you are having a bad day, it's hard to be miserable at Lynn's. There's just something about being surrounded by an atmosphere of fun that makes you want to be fun too. Have fun with your social voice, post fun content, think of fun promotions online. If BlendTec can make a blender fun, so can you with your business. When people are having fun, they are happy. When they are happy they are associating positive thoughts with your brand, company, organization. Good leads to good leads to more good.
At the end of the day Joe Schmo up the street may have better pancakes, but he doesn't make me smile. Guess where I'm going for breakfast, despite the long wait?