Social Media Examples: How downtown restaurants & coffee shops are using social media in Raleigh, NC.

By now everyone should know that social media marketing and restaurants are a perfect mix. Especially when it comes to using social media to reach local customers. Restaurants have an advantage of the ability to interact with their customers and explore other marketing opportunities without spending a lot of money with little risk. Sadly this also means most restaurants are using social media on a small level posting Twitter account and/or Facebook fanpage on their website and blogging without thinking about the offline marketing opportunities or using social media for customer service opportunities. Also a lot of times this means there is no employee social media policy, 24/7 monitoring, established goals and no social media monitoring or measuring tool being used to track engagement and what’s working. Regardless it’s working for some and there’s always room for improvement. Below are three examples from Cafe Helios, Busy Bee Cafe and Sauced Pizza. *Disclaimer, I have not worked with any of the three and this blog post is only coming from preliminary observations but I have eaten all three. :)

Cafe Helios
History | cafe helios
Website: http://cafehelios.com
Blog: http://cafehelios.com/blog
Twitter: @Cafehelios – 655 followers
Facebook Fanpage: – 212 fans – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Raleigh-NC/Cafe-Helios/21777426721

Pros:

  • Clean simple website design
  • Blog design matches brand with seamless integration ( I think the entire site is WordPress)
  • Facebook and Twitter icons on contact page
  • Using Twitter to Tweet specials and event promotions
  • Twitter logo and background matches brand
  • Using photos, in-store and on website and Facebook fanpage tab
  • Using Facebook Fanpage to to post specials and event promotions, just like their twitter account
  • Using blog to post more detailed information about events
  • Welcomes the community to host events/meetups/tweetups at location.

Cons:

  • No “find us” on Twitter and Facebook logos or icons on the home page
  • I don’t see an option to join an email newsletter online or in-store. I can’t remember if they have one in-store either but I don’t think so
  • Lack of constancy on Blog, Twitter and Facebook Fanpage updates
  • Monitoring the @cafehelios account with little engagement from @cafehelios
  • Posting same content on Twitter and Facebook Fanpage
  • Not using video on blog or Facebook fanpage
  • No in-store signs that say contact or follow/fan us on social media sites.
  • Not showing social networking profiles on blog sidebar
  • No custom Facebook fanpage username

Sauced Pizza/strong>
Sauced Pizza | New York-Style Pizza on Glenwood South | Raleigh, NC
Website:
http://www.saucedpizza.com
Blog: http://blog.saucedpizza.com
Twitter: @SaucedPizza – 207 followers
Facebook Fanpage: – 454 fans – http://www.facebook.com/SaucedPizza
Email Newsletter Sign-up – http://www.saucedpizza.com/email.html
*Opened in the last 3 months

Pros:

  • Email newsletter, Facbook Fanpage and Twitter icons on the homepage
  • Advertising Free wi-fi on homepage
  • Using Google Calendar to show events and allowing users subscribe to calendar
  • Showing Facebook Fanpage Fan box on blog sidebar and on contact page of main site.
  • Showing social networking profiles on blog sidebar
  • Using blog for promotions with consistent updates
  • Using notes Facebook app to sync/link blog and Facebook Fanpage content
  • Have a tab on Facebook fanpage to sign-up for email
  • Using Facebook Photo gallery and events tab
  • Custom Twitter background

Cons:

  • Using Blogger for a blog platform, (sorry I’m a wordpress guy)
  • Blog link not in main navigation
  • Twitter, Facebook and sign-up for email newsletter on the footer of the website
  • Posting same content on Twitter and Facebook Fanpage
  • Not using video on blog or Facebook fanpage
  • No in-store signs that say contact or follow/fan us on social media sites.
  • Better Twitter engagement than @cafehelios but not consistent coming from account.
  • Website and blog design not consistent

Busy Bee Cafe
Safari
Website: http://www.busybeeraleigh.com
Blog: Not obvious ( I think it’s the Homebrew/Outide the Hive link)
Twitter: @BusyBeeCafe – 457 followers
Facebook Fanpage: – 1428 fans – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Raleigh-NC/The-Busy-Bee-Raleigh/88670951056
Email Newsletter Sign-up – Top right home page: http://www.busybeeraleigh.com
*I visited for the first time yesterday, Nov. 16.
*Opened in the last 7 months

Pros:
Twitter and Facebook icons in consistent locations throughout the site.
Share-this / social bookmarking icons on the footer of the website
Consistent updates on Facebook and Twitter
Using Facebook Twitter app to post updates to Twitter (I think)
They have a clipboard asking me to sign-up for their newsletter on the counter
Custom Twitter background
One video on Facebook Fanpage ( it’s a pro because they are the only one to have a video out of the three)
Using Facebook Fanpage as their blog (also a Con too if you don’t have a blog)
Welcomes the community to host events/meetups/tweetups at location.

Cons:

  • Blog not obvious
  • Very little if not zero engagement on Twitter
  • No email newsletter sign-up on Facebook Fanpage
  • Using Facebook Fanpage as their blog (also a Pro too if you don’t have a blog)
  • No in-store signs that say contact or follow/fan us on social media sites.
  • No custom Facebook fanpage username
  • No in-store signs that say contact or follow/fan us on social media sites.

Stats:
followerwonk.com Twitter account comparison
Follower Wonk: compare Twitter users
Follower Wonk: compare Twitter users


Compete.com comparison
Site Comparison of cafehelios.com, saucedpizza.com (#1,830,141), busybeeraleigh.com (#1,335,722) | Compete

Summary:
Again this was preliminary observations without using any major measuring or analytics tools. Also I’m not a big Yelp user and I didn’t look to see if they have a Yelp profile and if there is any feedback on it.

  • All three are using Twitter and Facebook to “push” out updates about in-store promotions and events with very little engagement.
  • All three are not using video to create content with the exception of Busy Bee Cafe one Facebook video.
  • The content strategy seems to be same message on all three platforms (blog, Twitter, Facebook)
  • http://www.busybeeraleigh.comphoto

  • All three have cork boards for people to post flyers and posters but those are also good locations to post information about their social networking profiles. None have a visible presence to say find or follow us on Twitter or Facebook. Twine Interactive office downtown Raleigh is a good example of how to use social media icons in windows to attract customers.
  • photo-1

What’s next or to do?
Brightkite

  • Using Location based apps such as Tri Out, Brightktie, Whrrl, FourSquare and Gowalla for location based marketing.
  • Create video content for hire engagement and customer reviews
  • Better blogging. Yes restaurants need content strategies too.
  • cafe helios

  • Mobile: Have a mobile version of their website and/or create restaurant iPhone/andriod interactive app with menu and pictures/videos of food.
  • Augmented reality, I wouldn’t worry about this until 2nd half of 2010

Questions:
What are other ways have you seen restaurants use social media and how can they use it better?

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