The Social Networker

by Chris Miller at 02:34:57 PM on Wednesday, March 11th, 2009
As I sat in a lunch tweetup at a local restaurant today, it hit me that they are not using they social media presence ability effectively.  All they had was a sign-up sheet on the counter collecting email addresses.  The sheet had no mention of why or how often, just a simple bunch of boxes.  This restaurant is found in Brightkite, and that is about it.  So what is the additional exposure ideas?
  • Instead of sending some monthly email or random news, think about coupon blasts via Twitter and building a follower list.  Imagine you know it is normally a slow Tuesday, or weather hits the area.  You could send a "today only" coupon to drive traffic and turn tables.  Remember a free tweet (which then hits clients, web pages and SMS devices) is free to you.  Just send it in enough time for followers to make the lunch plans.
  • When there is a sporting event, run a promo for your followers.  Ask them to bring in tickets (pre-game) or stubs (post-game) for a dining special around the event.  I can't imagine the times before any concert, comedy show or game where we head down early near the event location and try to find food.  Each time it is a guessing game  You would get me there.
  • As the restaurant itself, follow the RSS or local newsletter for conventions and sporting arenas.  You will know when to target staffing and what menu to build.  Football game coming? Tailgate party.  Conference for vegetarians?  Change the menu up that day and make more items for them.  Lawyer convention coming?  Make sure everything is safe and cooked.  Ok a small joke.
  • Invest in a few dollars a month for Wifi.  Password protect it for customers and tell them it is there.  Plenty of days I do not want to tether my modem and actually use the phone while surfing and working.
  • Share a music library out on iTunes for customers to stream while there.  I encountered this once and loved it.
  • Open an online storefront for ordering, even via Twitter for known followers.  I could see being able to say "@restaurant small Caesar Salad, red pesto pasta, small drink for 12:15pm"  and they have it waiting at that time
  • Invest in sponsoring your local social media meetups or breakfasts.  Not only are you giving them a meeting place, you are building your name brand in their community
  • Create some quick videos (Vimeo, Viddler, YouTube) on preparing a dish with your location and info in the corner.  Let them see how you make that awesome food and they get a quick cooking or prep lesson while at home
  • Think about some more power outlets/charge stations/USB chargers around the place for the business workers to charge devices or simply plug up conveniently.  Amazing how much longer someone will sit there.
  • Lastly, talk to your customers on-line and in person and see what the heck they want to make you stand out.

Most everything I mentioned can be done for free or very low cost.  In today's market you need to stand out, more than just well priced food to keep me coming.  I will gladly pay the extra dollar or so to get more of the conveniences.  And if you have a slower day, as most do, get them in there with alerts and specials.  Do not be afraid to test a free tool.  One or two customers more will awaken your eyes to the power of social media.

For gosh sakes do not forget to promote your presence to your customers!!!

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Yes this is a blatant theft of the outline that Jess uses on her page, but I asked permission. Why?? Because I am a hardcore admin and can make ugly tables to make you developers frustrated, but this was too nice to pass up.

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