Restaurants share keys to social media success at Summer Brand Camp conference
Representatives of restaurant brands shared their social media knowledge at the conference
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Take a look at some more social media best practices gleaned from other People Report Summer Brand Camp panels:
Be selective with social media channels. “What's important is that you do what makes sense for your brand,” said Avery Block, social engagement and brand champion for Taco Bell Corp. She said brands have to decide which social channels the target market is involved in and work within those platforms.
Integrate social media into other marketing. Matt Olsen, digital marketing manager for 509-unit Firehouse Subs, said, “When we look at digital, what is important to us is integration."
On Labor Day in 2011, for example, Firehouse Subs offered a rare giveaway for a free sub sandwich when a customer ordered a combo. “We promoted this through email, Facebook, Twitter, PR to bloggers and traditional media,” he said. “We had a 17-percent sales lift vs. 2010 and a 20-percent transaction lift. That is the power of integration. Nothing works in a vacuum.”
Build a business case. Krista Gibson, senior vice president of brand strategy for Chili’s Grill & Bar, said measuring return on investment, or ROI, in social media has remained a challenge. “It does have a very low ‘I’,” she said. “Compared to TV, it’s like the deal of the century. We do marketing-mix modeling. We are able to put in variables to see how it’s working for us.”
When the platforms start showing results and success, Gibson added, it creates momentum for increasing the scale. “We do use data to help the organization be with us,” she said.
Use social media to connect with consumers. Jill McFarland, who works in social media for Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar, said the brand tries to bring a connection in the digital space in the heavily franchised chain. “Each of our restaurants has its own Facebook page so the personality can come through, bringing the neighborhood to the digital space,” she said. The brand tracks the effectiveness of Facebook ads with Nielsen ratings, she added.
Respond to consumers. Cassidy Q. Brettler, who works in social media for the 18-unit Boloco burrito brand, said, “Our big thing is every customer, or every guest, deserves a response, whether it’s on Twitter, Facebook or videos.”
Compare results. Restaurants can monitor how they compare with peers through the Restaurant Social Media Index, which was created by DigitalCoCo in partnership with Nation’s Restaurant News. Founder Paul Barron said the index measures influence, engagement and sentiment and looks at food, service and brand experience.
Overcome fears. “There still is a lot of fear out there,” said Jason Seiden, chief executive of Ajax Social Media. “I lost a client because I told a social marketing director/digital strategist, ‘You’ve got your voice; imagine what you could do with 10 percent of your workforce amplifying your message, 600 of your 6,000 people taking your message out there.’ And she fired us on the spot because she was petrified she would lose her job. She couldn’t picture her future.”
Look for the opportunities. “I still visit with a lot of operators out there who frankly don’t get it and haven’t embraced a lot of opportunities that social media and technology can bring to their brand,” said Nate DaPore, president and chief executive of PeopleMatter.