My friend Lisa is visiting me from Chicago with her three kids.

Last night, we took the kids out for pizza. On the way home, I wanted to stop by a bakery nearby to get a pie.

I peered into the bakery, past the “closed” sign and saw the glass cases full of cookies, cupcakes, and brownies. I really wanted to buy a pie for Mr. Becky, who loves pie.

I noticed some people working in the kitchen.

Then, the wind pushed the door open and I walked in. A few minutes later, pie (and brownie) in hand, I stood chatting with the bakery’s owner, Julie.

I asked her if she uses social media marketing to promote her business.

Yes, she said. We’re on Facebook. I use Twitter.

Julie is a busy mom and business owner, though. She shared how difficult it is to find reliable employees and how doing the work she does leaves little time for her to market her business through social media.

Because Julie won my heart by selling me a pie after hours, I am going to share a four quick tips she can use to increase her social media influence. (Hint: these tips might help you, too.)

Julie, here’s my advice:

1. Add social media links to your website.

You have a nice website for your bakery. It shows off your delicious cakes. It has a contact form. It even has a button to you mySpace page. Here’s what it doesn’t have: a Facebook or Twitter button. Add those. Quick.

2. Put social media contact information on your business card.

By including your social media contact information on your business cards, you make it easy for people to find you in the places that make the most sense to them. Even if you don’t want to include a link, use the Facebook and Twitter logos as a visual reminder to people to connect with you through social media.

3. Put your social media involvement on display.

Make sure ANY and ALL printed material includes information about how to connect with your business through social media. Include it on your signage. Print a flyer or two and hang them around your business location. Make it really obvious.

When I got home, I noticed a fun sticker on the pie box with the name of the bakery, address, and phone number. Very nice, Julie. You’reΒ  reminding me of how to find your bakery. And you could improve the impact of that sticker with the link to your Facebook page. But first, you need to get a vanity URL. You have one, right? (Julie, the answer is no. Go get one. It will only take a minute.)

4. Choose ONE platform.

I found your bakery easily on Facebook. I didn’t find you on Twitter.

If you don’t have a lot of time to invest in social media, choose one platform and invest all your energy there. Go where your customers are. My advice for you, Julie: use Facebook. For what you’re doing, it makes the most sense. When you have more time, you can explore other channels.

5. Mobilize your fans.

As a small business owner, you might not have time to update your Facebook page regularly. I get that. AND. Why not start by getting your customers involved? If your customers know you use Facebook, you can ask them to post their photos of your baked goods on your Facebook page.

That mom celebrating her son’s 1st birthday with the amazing Mickey Mouse Cake you baked and decorated? She’s going to upload photos to Facebook anyway. While she’s paying for her cake, ask her to post a photo on your Facebook page.Or create a simple flyer offering a discount on the next cake purchase to people who post about their cakes on Facebook.

Be creative. People talk about what they love. With a little encouragement, they’ll use Facebook to talk about how much they love your baked goods. When they talk, their friends will listen.

Pretty soon, they’ll be lining up to buy pies and brownies from you after-hours.

Tell me something! What’s your favorite bakery treat? What’s your best quick social media tip? Which of my tips will you implement today?