How State Restaurant Associations Could Use Social Media

Blog posted on FohBoh and Chalkboarder.com’s White Papers

Two weeks ago, Chalkboarder.com surveyed 2200 restaurants in fourteen major metropolitan US markets, to assess the Ease of Entering the Virtual Door. As a break from that labor, we did a quick study of how many state restaurant associations are using social media and discovered that about 6% do.

This begged us to ask how these associations could use social media to benefit their members. Here are some ideas we’ve generated based on our negotiations to provide the oldest cattle ranchers association (see below) in the country with social media services:

  • Positively address restaurateur legislative concerns to the general public.
  • Showcase restaurateur community involvement.
  • Create a social network where suppliers, legislators, restaurateurs and the public can engage in dialogue.
  • Highlight the best features of the industry.
  • Address public concerns about the industry through direct engagement.
  • Tell the story of the industry in their state.
  • Communicate with all stakeholders (public, industry and journalists) the issues and concerns that restaurants face daily.
  • Offer instant forum for dialogue between the stakeholders on the issues.
  • Strengthens the community – leading to local sustainability’s.

You may say that websites do most of this already – that’s true. The advantage that social media brings is the engagement, authenticity, dialogue and transparency to all parties – public, journalists, legislators, restaurateurs and suppliers. It builds deeper communities.

Our conversation with the cattle ranchers gave us the opportunity to consider the diverse and complex needs that could be addressed by social media for a highly visible association. The ranchers have to communicate with the public, with legislators (locally, regionally and nationally), tell their story and promote their agendas. Some of the issues they face with the public are:

  • Herd management with predator threats (wolf hunting)
  • The threat of diseases from bison and elk
  • Stream water access
  • Grazing rights on public lands
  • Food safety
  • International trade
  • Grass fed vs. feed-lot

There are many other issues they have to communicate about, in addition to preserving a ‘way of life’. Their complex needs are not much different from the complexity of needs state restaurant associations face representing you.

As always, Chalkboarder.com loves engagement and dialogue – it’s what social media is all about. Please comment.

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