Weatherford Democrat

September 22, 2011

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ERIN COOPER
CNHI

DALLAS — Since its inception a little more than a month ago, hundreds of posts have been made offering everything from daily lunch specials at local diners to monthly specials for photographers. Customers have even begun asking for advice on the best businesses around town, including carpet cleaners and lawn maintenance.

Schweitzer said he does not know where the idea to create the page came from, but knows it is a practical marketing application for all businesses.

"It was an outlet for me to advertise, but also an outlet for everyone else to advertise," he said. "(Other business owners) love the idea and the concept of (the page)."

The most advantageous aspect of the Facebook page for Schweitzer is it is cost effectiveness, something he says he always takes into consideration as a restaurant owner.

"Social marketing is huge. It's really cost effective - you can offer things on there and see where your return is coming from," Schweitzer said. "Whereas with conventional marketing, especially with restaurants, it's a tremendous amount of money and you don't really know what is working and what is not."

Schweitzer's restaurant even takes the Facebook application a step further with his customers than advertising daily deals.

"When (customers) do the Facebook check-in, they get a free drink," he said.

Beyond advertising and creating new customers, Schweitzer said the Facebook page promotes the local community.

"My goal (with the page) was to keep the money local and keep our tax dollars here," he said. "Anything that can help out (economically) - it is kind of like a one-stop-shop for people on Facebook."

In an interview with TechCrunch, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg stated that an estimated 175 million people log into Facebook each day. While Schweitzer and other businesses in Weatherford may be far from reaching a target audience of that caliber, it proves that the social medium is being embraced.

"I think (Facebook) is a logical way for businesses (to advertise), but it is the way of the future. It needs to be embraced because it is going to happen with or without you. That's why I am doing it, because I know this," Schweitzer said. "If you can get those people (on Facebook) in once, then you've got a loyal customer."