The other evening, after a very long day, I went out for dinner. The place I went had received a favorable review in the local alternative newspaper, LEO Weekly.  With the beginnings of a headache due to a lack of food, walking in to bad music wasn’t a good start.

A trip to the restroom raised the need for a raised voice to gain passage.  Two strikes.  So how did the business owner make me walk away  a fan?  He noticed that I sat in the booth at the most distant part away from the entertainment and came to say hello and chat with me.  (Easy to do during a slow time.)

He asked about me and my guest, he discussed the LEO review and generally engaged us in a positive upbeat manner.   After having checked on us at least one more time, he asked if we cooked and gifted us with a bottle of the marinade used in the signature dish.

We went on to discuss how he’s getting the word out about his business and I exposed him to some ideas beyond the Facebook fan page that another guest discussed creating for him (not located at time of this writing).  Twitter and some on-line restaurant guides won’t be amiss as we continue those discussions.

Social networking in today’s business world is a powerful marketing medium.   Many business owners concentrate on traditional marketing and miss the new “word of mouth” tool that is truly a key to success.  This may be due to lack of understanding or even awareness of the tools or it may be just that the personally handed out flyer is preferable.

In the end, my desire to see this restaurant succeed wouldn’t matter if the owner hadn’t conducted good business through his interaction with me and my guest.  Sometimes good business is just recognizing a potential problem and addressing it proactively.  When you go to Johnny V’s I highly recommend the S&P500.

Are you using the on-line social networking and small business tools available to your full potential?  There are so many ways to take a presence on the web and make it broader.