Last week I attended a social media workshop with digital guru Bob Battye. He told a story about a New York hot dog vendor who was doing such a roaring trade that he couldn’t serve customers quickly enough.

So he introduced an honesty box for customers to take their own change and as a result sold more hot dogs and received more tips.

The moral of Bob’s story is if you earn someone’s trust, you will make more money for less effort. And social media could be your honesty box, he said.

It certainly isn’t the place to make money. It’s where you meet likeminded people, have conversations, stand out, champion the things that are important to you and get people talking about your business. Being “remarkable” was a phrase used several times.

I’ve tweeted for the Retail Newsagent account for the past three years, but was so inspired by the session that, on the train home, I set up a personal account. Within 24 hours I was followed by 100 potential customers – retailers, suppliers, agencies and trade bodies – and was having conversations with many of them.

Your customers are already on Facebook, and if you can make it fun to go to your page or website, they probably will

Three other things Bob said stuck with me. You need a 3:1 ratio, where you post three interesting things for every one sales pitch. You need to find your ‘Otakus’ – a Japanese word for fanatics who will tell the world what you do and how great you are.

Finally, your customers are already on Facebook, and if you can make it fun to go to your page or website, they probably will.

But if all this terrifies you, we will walk you through the process of using social media to make your business remarkable at the betterRetailingLIVE digital bar in October.

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