I've just come back from a trip to Rome. During the four days of my visit, I managed to see an overwhelming number of amazing historical sites, museums, and charming piazzas. Apart from that, I couldn't help doing my usual "screening" of brands and their marketing behaviour.
My most surprising discovery was this: lots of small Roman shops and restaurants advertise their presence on Facebook. I have come across a number of artisanal jewellery shops, "trattorias" and "gelaterias" proudly displaying Facebook logo in the most visible parts of their establishments, usually right next to the entrance. In most cases, it was a small poster containing a Facebook logo, name of the shop, and an invitation (only in Italian) to join a respective group on Facebook.
It is of course an interesting trend -- after all, even tiny businesses begin to realize the power of cost-effective marketing through social media. What many of them probably don't realize yet, is that they have to get down to business basics before employing any funky social media channels to promote their businesses.
Most of the Roman shops with Facebook posters that I saw were located in tourist zones. Unless a small business is into e-commerce and can ship goods overseas (which is hardly a case for a local ice-cream shop!), why would a Japanese or Ukrainian tourist find it interesting to join its Facebook group? If there are any incentives for tourists to do so, besides perhaps a mere fact of demonstrating nostalgia for all things Roman to their Facebook friends, maybe it would make more sense to explain these incentives in English?
If you have come across similar trends in other cities, post a comment on Schmoozy Fox!