Humphrey concurs, and says infusing a “real life” human aspect into the campaign is critical. “You can’t just put messages out there like ‘50% off hot donuts today,’” he says. You have to leave your own page and interact and engage on the pages of the people you are trying to reach.

At Black Tie Catering, that means interacting with bloggers and social media users who have their own large base of followers, and sometimes even taking the interaction offline. One year, for example, the company gave a popular Atlanta blogger a turkey and a red velvet cake for Thanksgiving. “She talked about our products on Twitter and Facebook, and a lot of her followers fell in love with our products,” says Humphrey. “It was social networking at its finest.”

As you develop your own social media campaign(s), remember if you have a great service or product, social media will amplify it, attract new customers, and keep current clients happy. “If you have a crappy service or product,” warns Sreenivasan, “no amount of social media can help.”BE

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