Introducing social media into your marketing strategy can be daunting—especially if you’re not familiar with tools like Facebook and Twitter or how to use them for your business. In fact, you may be a little bit like our friend, Mario.

You probably already know Mario. He’s the owner of the family pizza shop down the street who’s been making delicious pies since before you were born. He hypnotizes you with his pizza tossing proficiency.  Though you love it when a Mario coupon appears in your mailbox, you wonder why you can’t find him anywhere on the Internet. That’s because Mario, like so many, hears about Facebook and waves his hands. “I don’t need that,” which is really code for, “I’m not comfortable with that.”

Mario needs to get over it. While Mario can reach a couple hundred people in his neighborhood with a direct marketing campaign, he can reach potentially thousands with a social media campaign. And Mario’s fans (of which there are many) will then start doing that marketing for him. Imagine Mario’s jubilation when he discovers some of his fans posts:

Twitter: I’m eating Pizza—awesome. #Mario’s.

Facebook: I love Mario’s pizza.

Foursquare: Mario’s is the best pizza in town.

Instagram: Have you ever seen a better-looking slice? (Which, of course, includes a picture of Mario’s pizza.)

YouTube: Here we are eating some great pizza at Mario’s.

After explaining these benefits and possibilities, Mario raises his eyebrows. “This sounds good. Where do I start?” Well, that’s pretty simple:

  1. Create a great website with a blog. For Mario this could feature his mouth-watering pizza, his location and a blog where he brags about his secret sauce.
  2. Get a Facebook page—not a profile—that links to your website start filling it out. Of course, you should provide detailed information on your location and hours of operation, but also upload a few albums. In Mario’s case, a storefront album that makes his location recognizable and a menu album would do nicely. Captioning the pictures with clear, descriptive language also makes for great sharing (e.g., “Mario’s amazing Double Pepperoni Pie baked fresh to order” is a caption that also brands the image). Don’t forget to invite your friends to link to your new Facebook page.
  3. For Mario, we can hit the pause button. Between Facebook and a website, he has plenty to keep up with for a few months. After he grows his online presence, he can look into adding other tools, like YouTube or Twitter, depending on how relevant they are to his business.

Our last tip for Mario (and for you): Be yourself. Just because you’re promoting a business, doesn’t mean you should lose your personality. Mario’s fans (and future fans) will much prefer reading a colorful entry about his grandfather teaching him how to toss dough than some sterile corporate blog post about the aeration of dough.

The more Mario is present online, the more he’ll be present in the mind’s of his online community, making it more likely that their next slice will be enjoyed at Mario’s.