Case Study: How Small Businesses Can Use Pinterest

NTG Case Study 3

I’ve been wanting to do a case study of The Dandelion Patch for a long time, because its staff members do such a great job of marketing the company on social media. Their ability to be so active on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram made it hard for me to choose just one platform to talk about for a case study.


The Dandelion Patch provides stationary and party supplies for events from everyday parties to weddings. One of the tag lines it uses is “Paper is our passion,” but I’m reluctant to call it a stationary supply store or printer – that phrase just brings up mental images of boxes and stacks of paper and the smell of copier ink. I am familiar with The Dandelion Patch because it started out with one small storefront in the town of Vienna, Virginia, where I used to live, in the suburbs of the Washington, DC, area. The business has expanded since I moved away and now has a large showroom in Northern Virginia’s Tyson’s Corner neighborhood. Continue reading “Case Study: How Small Businesses Can Use Pinterest”


Case Study: How to Let Customers Know There’s a Problem

ntg-case-study-2Many businesses don’t like to admit when they have a problem, or when one of their services is interrupted. You try to call, but phone lines are busy as many other customers are also trying to call to see if the problem is on their end or the company’s.

One always hopes that service interruptions can be quickly fixed, but for the customers experiencing the problem at that moment, they want to find out two things:

  • Is this a problem with their account only, or is it company-wide?
  • When will service will be restored?

crisis Continue reading “Case Study: How to Let Customers Know There’s a Problem”

Case Study: How a Restaurant Effectively Uses Instagram

ntg-case-study-1While I was on a recent vacation, I regularly posted photos of my trip on Instagram. I used the hashtag #Ostrava (the town in which I stayed), as well as #CzechRepublic. Although the text I wrote to accompany the photos was in English, I soon noticed several of my posts were liked by an Instagrammer by the name of samuraiostrava.

I clicked on the name to look at its profile information and saw that the account was for a restaurant, Samurai Grill & Sushi Bar, which was located in the downtown (Centrum) district of Ostrava.

While I did not get a chance to visit the restaurant before I moved on to another town, I checked out its website and saw that it featured lots of great images and photos, along with a map and menu. The restaurant’s use of Instagram as a way of engaging with others on the social media channel struck me as a great way of reaching out to visitors in town.

Based on Samurai Grill & Sushi Bar’s effective use of Instagram, I’ve put together some tips for restaurants looking to use Instagram in conjunction with their website and Facebook fan page.

* Create an Instagram account with the name of your restaurant.

* In your Instagram account profile, be sure to include a link to your business website and info about what kind of food you serve. (Below you can see Samurai Grill & Sushi Bar’s Instagram profile, as well as the English-language profile of Muse Berlin.)

samuraiostravainstagram          museinstagram

* Use your Instagram account to post photos of your restaurant, menu items, special events, people enjoying themselves (get permission or have professional promotional photos taken).


* In Instagram, regularly check the hashtag for your city (e.g., #Seattle, #Pittsburgh, #PalmSprings, #Berlin, etc.). Do you see posts you like? Click on the heart shape to like the image. Your account name will appear under the image and the person who posted the image will see that you liked it. (Note: Don’t be spammy! Don’t post a ton of comments like “Come to our restaurant!”)

* Create a Facebook page for your business, using the name of your restaurant. If it’s a common name, you might also include your city, the way SamuraiOstrava did.


* In the About section, be sure to note your location, your opening hours, contact info, and details about the type of food you offer.


* In “Settings” on your Facebook page, click on “Instagram Ads”, which will allow you to connect your Instagram account to your Facebook page. Once linked, you’ll be able to have an “Instagram Feed” tab on your Facebook page.

* Connecting your Instagram account and Facebook page also enables you to create Instagram ads the same way you create Facebook ads. Read here for information on creating Instagram ads using the Facebook ads manager.

By setting up an Instagram account and using it regularly to post images – and liking the images of others – Samurai Grill & Sushi Bar effectively connects with Instagrammers in its city, thereby attracting potential customers who may have been previously unaware of the restaurant.

Instagram is one part of an effective, multi-channel social media strategy that other restaurants can emulate.

The No Time Guide series gives small businesses, nonprofits, and independent consultants the tools they need to attract more customers without spending a lot of time or money. Get a Guide here!