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Vending more via social media?


ReillyNoFun

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Hey there - as someone who's both younger in age and years of vending experience than many of the members here I'm interested in hearing some of your thoughts about starting to market your vending business via social media.

I know that some of you have Facebook fan pages for your Brands as I remember doing a link exchange with a handful of people here a while back - but what else are you doing, or what more can I be doing, to promote your vending online? The best advertisement is word-of-mouth and much of that is happening now on Instagram, facebook, tumblr, or pinterest rather than literally. For me - I run a clothing + accessory company and use vending machines to sell products that I design and produce, using these platforms are super important to me for building brand visibility.

 

I placed my 5th machine yesterday in a tattoo shop and in the 30 minutes it took me to push the dolly back home from the location - the tattoo artists had posted a picture of my machine that had gained a few hundred 'likes', a customer had seen that photo and gone to the shop to crank a few $2 coins into my machine and posted another photo of the prizes from his capsules for all his friends to see. I don't have to worry if that location is doing well because I am literally getting alerts to my phone when I have satisfied customers - and I know more people might be driven to go there to see my machine- regardless of how well the shop's walk-in traffic is alone. That's pretty powerful.

 

I'm posting this in the bulk forum because this is where it applies to my business and this is the section I'm in most - but I think the idea here definitely applies across the board, especially maybe to amusement games. I think the key to winning fans (..then turning them into customers) on social media is sharing a good story. Although that maybe isn't the easiest thing for a bulk vending company to do, trying to build brand visibility is a good idea even just to remind people about all the vending machines everywhere that are totally overlooked. Share a nice bright photo of a handful of M&Ms dropping out of your clean well kept machine in the morning and by lunchtime probably your followers will be cranking a quarter into a machine somewhere. Maybe it's not your machine this time, but that's good for everyone in the long term.

 

I've also noticed that independent business owners really appreciate it when I try to promote their business as well as mine via my social channels (Eat at Joe's for their great lunch special and get a gumball on your way out, etc). I have never paid a commission to a location and have never been asked for one - I think this has a lot to do with it.

 

Although part of the charm of vending is that you can just drop a machine off at a location and forget about it until it's cash-out time, that doesn't mean you should. It's nearly 2015, doing stuff like this really shouldn't be considered "going the extra mile" anymore, it makes a lot of business sense. Adding "#nofunpress" or "@nofunpress" to my display cards doesn't cost me any extra money and at the very very least reminds me to service my machines on time. If they're clean and well stocked people may be more inclined to use + share them.
 

I'm starting to go on and on now... I'm interested in hearing your thoughts too.

 

post-8013-0-69790900-1411151318_thumb.jpg

instagram pic - 595+ likes, - their LYPC that vends pre-drawn tattoo designs and my NW60

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Orsd - I realize I am in a unique niche and position in the vending market here- obviously plain photos of gumballs won't gain 600 likes in a day, but I'm curious about how people in a more "normal" vending business could apply some of the same principals and see results.  - because I think it's something that a lot of people on this board aren't thinking about.
Maybe start an "@coolgumballguy" account and post pics of you and your behind the scenes setup, locations you're at, things you're seeing on route to locations, etc. People like the human-angle.

For example - I forget who it was - but a new member here recently posted asking about how to improve the candy cart he and his young daughters were building for events. I believe the goal was to tour it around to events and save for college - That story would crush it on twitter or instagram and definitely help to drive sales.

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I like what you are doing.  I've always thought there must be more to offer a location.  After all, they are helping you make money why shouldn't help them?  The old locating methods hardly work anymore. If you could in and say "I can help you get more customers..."  you might get exclusive on the location

 

Bart

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Thanks Bart - being able to quickly flash phone pics of happy customers to potential locations may help as well. "look at my instagram feed, here are X number of people who were happy with my service, I can send them here", rather than letting them imagine machines would be 'in the way'.

I've been approached to place my machines in a few shops based on business owners seeing my machines online - its totally free and almost effortless Locating.

 

 

unrelated - but it says in your signature you were trying to locate 23 machines by end of May - how did you do??

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I only have 1800's.  I was thinking of making a "top hat" that would be large enough the hold the charity sticker, Facebook Like and Maybe Yelp or some other advertisement.  The FB and Yelp would be smartphone QR code compatible.  They could scan the labels and add 'likes' or comments. Moving the charity sticker out of the canister would make the machine look cleaner.  Just need to find a shop to cut and fold the metal parts.  Also it would keep drinks and what not off the machine.

 

I guess I should update my counts and dated.  My Son was going to take over the route, but he a seizure and now can't drive for 6 months.  My other business has gotten busy at the same time - so I'm stuck where I'm at for now

 

Bart

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Sorry to hear about your son! You guys will get through it. My sister had a number of seizures when we were kids, I remember it was tough. At least you're busy though, business is business!

QR Codes are a smart idea, I hadn't thought of that. I was a late adopter to getting a smart phone and haven't really looked into the potential there - but it definitely exists. Could maybe even put them onto the folders in flat machines to give customers some extra "bonus content", etc.
For your display toppers, maybe try looking at Uline or somewhere similar online. They sell industrial warehouse + retail supplies- might have a ready-made metal display sign you could bolt down. could save time and money? I was looking for something similar to mount on top of one of my NW60s a while back to display my business + online info but couldnt find anything small enough.

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I'm still getting the same error asking for a password. Yes you will need an app on your phone to scan the code with. there are tons of free ones. I believe the app reads the code and then loads whatever content you've linked with the code.

 

This thread has nearly 100 views now, I'm finding it hard to believe that the two of us are the only people with opinions about this stuff!!

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I'm just watching. I think its an awesome idea to try and bring bulk vending into the interactive internet era. I am really intrigued by the QR code idea. The possibilities are endless.

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Yeah, my kid tells me I need and smartphone and some app to scan the code.  I'm still using old dumb phone  :wacko:

 

I have thought about this before and brought it up here, but nobody really jumped in on the idea much.  They were telling me the old and tried methods were good enough. Worked in the past, so it should continue to work, 

 

I'm not so sure.  Imagine you are a business owner of a restaurant.  I'll bet you'll get 10 calls a month from telemarketing and 5 visits from locators each month, maybe more.  I think your automatic response would be a resounding NO! An annoyance at best to the owner.  I mean really, why should he help you? The restaurant could care less about what little money the machine might bring in to his gross.

 

How about "You help Me and I'll help you"  approach.  "Mr Restaurant Owner, If could help you increase your customers base at no cost to you would you be interested?".  I think this might perk up his ears a bit.

 

I don't know if it would work.  But it might be worth a try

 

Bart


I once thought of having gumballs printed with "Free Drink" or whatever and seed the gumballs canister.  

I don't know if it's legal here in California, but it might get you more sales

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  • 1 year later...

Well - I wrote this thread in 2014 - its now the start of 2016, the future is now - Has anyone who had their nose up at social media a year and a half ago changed their minds?
Some of the things said in this thread are relevant to what's being talked about in the "Networking" and "ghost town" threads so I wanted bump this one up and hopefully get some more discussion going.

I'm still having success with the things I mentioned earlier - I've noticed Entervending has been posting a lot of good consistent instagram content, anyone been trying anything else?

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I'm reading this post for the first time, sounds like a great Idea, i'm wondering how did you start getting followers for your account? or is it a personal account? I don't use instagram, but i know some people that do that can probably give me a shot out on their pages. 

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Solo - I have an account for my apparel brand, the followers I have are both friends of mine and also fans of the brand. Obviously not all of them are in my city but a few thousand are for sure. The best way to get followers is to have people shout you out, essentially. I have my instagram info on some of the signs on my machines too.

Musser - yes, totally!! just placed one at a new tattoo shop, getting another ready for a general store, and a few more heads almost ready to go into the field after that. Your sarcasm was noted though - it honestly only takes me an extra minute to take a phone photo and write a blurb while I'm out servicing my machines. counting coins takes longer. Of course placing more machines will boost your sales - my hope for this thread was to brainstorm things we can do on top of doing the things we should be doing anyways.

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Yep I'm excited about the idea you have, especially the idea of being able to show a potential location your reputation on the spot. I know that it won't be cornerstone of a business, but if it's a tool that's available, why not use it? I'm no seasoned vet to vending, but i've noticed in other areas that people who take advantage of their available resources tend to do  better than those that don't. 

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My thoughts exactly solo. Ive got my phone in my pocket when I'm servicing machines, I might as well use it.

I was refilling a single head that I have in a small clothing store a few weeks ago, as I'm talking to the owner she starts to tell me about how she was getting emails from a guy in Peru. He had seen on instagram that my machine was in their store and sent them a bunch of money via Paypal so that they could pump 15 or 20 loonies into the machine and mail him the prizes, capsule and all. I vend 1" pinback buttons and stickers out of that machine - both things he could have used his paypal to buy from my online store for less money. He said he "wanted to get the authentic Loonie Trap experience". Totally bonkers!!

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