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chadLast week at the Charlotte Small Business Week conference, I had the opportunity to hear several alumni from TedX Charlotte speak. Among them was Chad Henderson, the head brewer for NoDA Brewing Company. Chad’s presentation was slightly different than the rest because he was the only speaker that was not the owner of a business and does not have any intentions of starting a business. Rather, Chad spoke about the importance of “empowering employees”, and how even as a non-owner, he has been empowered with the trust to help grow the business, create great beer, and make key decisions. As a result, he’s been on the front lines of the success of Noda Brewing Company.

noda-brewing-coAfter Noda opened their doors just over a year ago, they created a new position with the title “Director of Community Optimism” - which is a fancier (and more positive) title for having a Social Media Director, or a Community Engagement Director. The result? Noda Brewing Company has conquered social media – from posting online videos, pinning all things beer, and engaging their huge fan bases on Facebook and Twitter.

If you’re a restaurant, bar, or store owner, you may be wondering if you should invest in your online social presence. The simple answer is YES – and here are 3 lessons your small business can learn from Noda Brewing Company:

1. Create Buzz (no pun intended) About Your Business and Products:
Before Noda Brewing Company opened their doors, they created a tremendous amount social media buzz about the grand opening. The result was a packed house on the opening day and a steady stream of business since. They have several monthly events from hosting food trucks and musicians – all of which are easily promoted on their social profiles. And when they release their new weekly brew, they can entice people to come in and check it out.

2. Go Beyond the Bottle:
Part of the challenge of having an active social presence is that you can’t just constantly be selling to your followers. You have to engage, interact, and make them want to come back. When you think about a bar having a social media presence, you may think the only thing they ever post about is beer, festivals and music. Well, Noda Brewing has gone well beyond the bottle and leveraged their large fan base to create a social running club. Once a week – people meet at the brewery, go for a run, and then reward themselves with a beer afterwards. This brings loyal paying customers into the bar each week, but more importantly, it creates a sense of real community that goes beyond liking, commenting and sharing.

3. Reach Customers When it Matters:
After the Boston marathon bombings, Noda Brewing reached out to all of their fans across their social networks and hosted a “Beers for Boston” fundraiser to support two injured victims that were from Charlotte. Over 500 people showed up to the event to run, have a beer, and support members of their community. Noda Brewing would have never been able to reach so many of their customers so quickly without having a loyal social media following.

I must confess that I haven’t been to the Noda Brewing Company yet, but was really inspired about how well they’re using social media. If you’re local and want to go check it – the first pint is on me…no running required!

Jen Stretch

Jen Stretch is a marketing professional with a decade of web-based technical experience. Her core competencies include Salesforce.com and marketing automation consulting, implementation, and training. She is a certified Salesforce.com Administrator with five years of marketing automation experience.

Jen is also a enthusiastic cyclist and applies the same competitive spirit that she has on the bike to push businesses out of their comfort zone and beyond their perceived finish line.

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