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Social media helps restaurant get off ground – from AZCentral.com

by Georgann Yara – Apr. 30, 2011 06:02 AM

Social Media



When Dean Slover and his business partners were preparing to open RnR Restaurant and Bar, they debated over whether to hire someone to manage the business’ social-media aspect.

Nearly 14 months after the doors opened last March, the continued buzz and steady stream of patrons let Slover know the investment is paying off for his Scottsdale restaurant.

RnR has more than 600 Twitter followers and more than 3,700 fans on its Facebook page. Slover uses the page to post passwords that inform followers of specials, which has helped increase the restaurant’s visibility as customers share these deals with friends.

The restaurant’s social-media presence also helped create a buzz before RnR actually opened. In this struggling lagging economy, it proved to be a bonus.

The password element was a direct response to customers who suggested RnR come up with some kind of reward system for regulars. Social media also keeps the lines of communication open and allows Slover and his partners to track the level of service a patron received, how diners liked a new menu item or how any other strategy is going.

“With social media, it’s immediate and trackable. It serves as another venue to determine the level of satisfaction. People can give (feedback) online because they are comfortable doing that,” Slover said. “It’s such an integral part of what goes on here.”

Establishing a social-media presence has become just as or, in some cases, more important to drumming up business as print ads. The immediacy of the medium keeps users engaged and gets people talking about a restaurant or bar before day one.

Word about RnR spread about two months before opening day, social-media manager Uzra Vo-Cortazar said. She implemented Facebook ads, conducted polls about what prospective patrons wanted to experience and offered short teases about what was to come. Before March 2010, RnR’s Facebook page had more than 1,000 fans.

“I feel like it’s one of the best promotional and marketing techniques we use because it’s so direct with our clientele,” Vo-Cortazar said. “It’s like a close group of friends or extended family.”

Vo-Cortazar said the immediate feedback is most helpful in determining what, if any, changes should be made. Scottsdale resident Barbara Garganta has been a regular at RnR since it opened.

She and her friends keep up with the promotions and specials via Facebook, even following the restaurant’s community involvement with various charities.

“It’s one of the best and most reasonable,” she said. “The atmosphere has really great energy. It’s just a fun place.”

Slover calls the restaurant he owns with Les and Diane Coleri a “gastrobar,” which reflects the themes each of the owners originally envisioned: a comfort-food restaurant, a sports bar and a wine bar.

The kitchen serves up three meals and every snack in the between from 7:30 to 2 a.m. daily. The more than 30 items that comprise the breakfast menu reflects Slover’s personal passion for the first meal of the day. There are also dishes that give the menu a cosmopolitan flair, like the Dirty Chips inspired by a recipe Slover encountered in Boston and the Chicken Schnitzel, which is a nod to Austria.

The two-story, 4,000-square-foot building was built in 2009 and made to look like it had been there for decades.

Slover said he gets many comments from out-of-towners who think the structure is much older or resembles restaurants in older cities such as Chicago.

Slover said opening a restaurant in a lagging economy did not worry him.

“I should’ve been more concerned, but I had a huge amount of faith in the Old Town Scottsdale area,” he said. “With the location we had, it was the right time to do something like this.”

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You can't ignore Facebook in your Social Media Advertising

Facebook

According to the new Nielsen ratings released today, users spend and average of 7 hours per month on the social media and social networking site Facebook! Back in June 2009, Nielsen estimated that the average U.S. user spent 4 hours and 39 minutes on Facebook per month. That’s about 9.3 minutes per day in a 30 day month. In August, that number rose to 5 hours and 46 minutes, or 11.5 minutes per day. In January 2010 though, the amount of time the average person spent on Facebook jumped to over 7 hours. Each American Facebook user spent an average of 421 minutes on Facebook per month, which amounts to over 14 minutes per day.

Five Social Media Marketing Stats That Will Blow Your Mind

The December 2009 data from comScore (SCOR) were released Tuesday, and the results for the social media sector are nothing short of staggering. Fifty-four percent (112 million) of the 205 million-strong U.S. internet-user population are on Facebook, with 27% (57 million) still using News Corp.’s MySpace. But according to data from both comScore and Experian Hitwise (EXPN), the most active users were on Tagged, MyYearbook and Orkut. And Facebook users were more active than those on MySpace.

There’s no doubt that plenty is happening in the social media space, but there are some facts that just might surprise you, either because of the speed of change or the discovery of players that may not have occurred to you.

1. Growing impact of social networking on surfing habit: In the U.S., 25% of all page views came from the top social networking sites and that is up 83% from the 13.8% posted in December 2008.
2. Social media is still growing: one in 10 went to a social networking site in December 2009, up almost 100% from December 2008’s 5.8%. Compare this to the page view data and you get a sense of how sticky the social media sites are.
3. Social media sites are more vulnerable to trends: From December 2008 to December 20009, MySpace and Facebook switched spots. A year ago, 64% of visits to the top 10 social networks belonged to MySpace, with 29% going to Facebook. By December 2009, 28% went to MySpace, with 68% at Facebook.
4. Facebook’s prowess: Facebook’s market share surged 286% year-over-year, but it wound up being good for everyone, since it grew the market at the same time.
5. Market share growth was a bit rare:
Aside from Facebook, only Tagged gained market share, as an increasingly crowded market required players to fight a little harder for eyeballs. Tagged amped up its share by 35%.

Facebook’s Major Redesign Emphasizes Search and So Much More

Here’s a link to an article on Mashable.com about Facebook, the social media and social networking giant’s new redesign: http://mashable.com/2010/02/04/facebook-redesign-4/

40 Ways Business Owners can Use Twitter

Twitter is an important part of your social media and social networking infrastructure. Twitter helps businesses:

Build Credibility
1. Share your opinion and expertise
2. Pass on interesting links/posts
3. Strengthen relationships with client, competitors and jv partners
4. Tweet often to keep your brand on top of your customer’s mind
5. Share quality content that addresses your clients needs, frustrations, fears & dreams
6. Promote friends and colleagues
7. Promote upcoming events

Market Your Business
1. Talk about your company believes in and is committed to
2. Offer special offers to customers who find you via social media
3. Talk about what you’re doing, who you are, and what you do
4. Direct people to your blog/website
5. Find & Give referrals
6. Hold contests and give aways
7. Promote your latest blog posts and newsletters
8. Tweet when you see or do something cool or funny

Listen To What’s Being Said
1. See what others are saying about you (use TweetDeck.com)
2. Listen to what’s being said about your industry
3. Conduct Twitter polls to quiz consumer opinion
4. Learn about what’s working/not working & next for your competitors
5. Find your competitors clients (Read: Sun Tsu’s Art of War, i.e. do not neglect the use of intelligence.)
6. Identify Twitter trends or hot topics related to your industry
7. Ask people for their opinions. Listen to them

Expand Your Network
1. Build relationships instead of selling
2. Use Twellow, We Follow to find clients & people with common interests
3. Meet POI’s (People Of Influence) and talk to them
4. Connect your Twitter account to your website, Facebook, LinkedIn and other medias you use.
5. Give and receive testimonials on Follow Friday and connect with new people
6. Use services like bit.ly to see how people are interacting with your content

Build Your Offline Network
1. Hold/Attend meetups/tweetups and meet your online network offline
2. Use TweetDeck to track when potential customers mention a competitor…and then reach out to them
3. Find new employees
4. Ask Twitter followers to leave testimonials on your site
5. Tweet about products and services on Twitter before offering to general public
6. Create special events around holidays for your Twitter followers

Meet People, Celebrate Life & Have Fun
1. Share content that you enjoy
2. Get inspired and motivated by others
3. Learn new things
4. Make friendships, not just professional relationships
5. Be part of a community (your industry or personal)
6. Find new ideas for your business or just for fun