Posts tagged ‘social networking’

April 14, 2011

A Chalkboarder Fighting Project

We’ve got an exciting new “barter client” to announce this month…

Alive Mixed Martial Arts PDX & Jana Simms Alive Boxing

Alive MMA

Chalkboarder’s CEO Jeffrey J Kingman will be chronicling his journey into boxing and mixed martial arts at this gym, one of the top MMA gyms in North America. His personal journey will be shared on his latest blog, Two Guys and a Fight, and distributed via social media networks.

In addition, Chalkboarder will be providing continual social media consulting to Alive MMA’s management and members.


January 7, 2011

Squeaky Chalk News January 7 2011

#Crush2011

This is our slogan. We’ve made a few banners and got tattoos indicating our determination to absolutely crush 2011 in creating awesome villages for our clients and ourselves. Care to join us at the end of the day in Village Hall near the fire?

Chalkboarder is roaring into 2011 and we wanted to give you a little news from this past week.

James Beard Dinner Coverage – Berkshire Raised

Just today, we were approached by the Berkshire Chefs from around Albany, New York. In September 2009, they had been on their way to the James Beard House to prepare dinner using Berkshire raised ingredients. With a little 3000 mile collaboration, Chalkboarder was able to distribute content semi-live during the culinary preparation and dinner over social media.

They’ve asked us to do this again. I’m not sure of the date yet, but we’re very excited to become a “Social Media On Demand” producer for their benefit. It’s a challenge to coordinate social media production and distribution being 3000 miles away, but we’re pretty confident in conducting an effective campaign.

Urban Toile – Atlanta’s Hottest Food Truck (Launching Soon)

We’ve been working for the past couple months on a very exciting and challenging project – writing business plan, researching and coordinating logistics and relationships. Our client, Urban Toile, is only a couple weeks from ordering a $70,000 brand new food truck and is VERY close to signing a relationship with Atlanta’s hottest BBQ joint, Fox Barbeque. Stay tuned as we ramp up Urban Toile’s social media prior to the launch of the truck.

Northwest Foodservice Show

In partnership with Paul Paz of WaitersWorld (and longtime Oregon Restaurant Association board member), we’ve launched social media strategies that will help foodservice exhibitors and operators Raise The Bar in their social media adoption. Chalkboarder will be sharing a lot of messaging over the next few months from this source.

Foodportunity PDX

Foodportunity PDX is back! March 7th at the Heathman Hotel again. Join us that night for #nomnoms and great chat with great local restaurateurs and chefs. Chalkboarder was hired again to line up the participating restaurants and provide “Social Media On Demand” for this event.

Social Media for Pros

Over the last few months, Chalkboarder has been aligning with and working closely with The Scene Marketing Group, here in Portland. We’ve hired SMG to be part of some largeSocial Media On Demand” teams for six large (10,000 to 50,000 attendee) events around the country and are very excited by all the collaboration.

We’re in last phase planning for a social media educational program to be offered in two formats, here in Portland. An attendee of this program can learn enough skill and strategy to plan and execute a strong Social Media Optimization plan. It’s still a little early to release specific details, so stay tuned for announcements in a week or two.

Well, we don’t want to tie up your Friday when we’re certain you, like us, are trying to #Crush2011. Cheers and see you at Happy Hour!

Jeffrey J Kingman

October 13, 2010

Early Adopters (Restaurants) Sprint Ahead in Social Media Marketing

A majority of restaurants face serious risk as consumers increasingly shop for dining via mobile devices. A majority of restaurants risk ignoring the opportunity to drive sales by not adopting proven strategies that embrace this societal shift. They run the risk that society will view their late-game entry into social media as non-compelling, boring, or worse, spammy.

Are you using the tools of the social web yet? Even more important, are you doing so with effective and well designed strategies? Are you chatting up your fans/followers about your community, about their interests or about shared passions? Are you sharing local news from your community, such as local events outside your operation?

Brand owners and managers have to consider how entry into the social web is viewed by the broader community. In the last year, effective social web strategies for driving business have shifted. In the early days, simply broadcasting (or “shouting”) daily specials sufficed. Today, that’s considered spam. Jumping on Foursquare and rewarding “mayors” was fairly simple and effective during the newness of their web-launch, but today, if a restaurant simply jumps in without strategy, they’re behind the times.

As the use of social media by American restaurants has progressed, a clear trend has emerged. Those that embraced social media (less than 10%) in the past two years are sprinting ahead in diverse and sophisticated tactics and strategies, while those that held back run a risk of appearing unknowledgeable, un-savvy and “soo” Web 1.0.

Early adopters such as AJ Bombers, a popular restaurant in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, increased their sales by nearly 100% in the last year by effectively using social media. Two of the best food trucks in Portland, Oregon (Whiffies and KoiFusion), attribute 80% of their growth in the last year to effective social media. Success stories like these demonstrate the power and allure of social media strategies for foodservice operators.

In a study published last fall, Chalkboarder analyzed the “virtual ease of entry” (how easy it is for a new or existing customer to enter your restaurant virtually) into 2200 popular restaurants in fourteen major markets. One year ago, less than 10% had adopted Facebook, less than 6% had adopted Twitter and less than 2% were blogging. Of the 2200, less than 65% even had active websites. The base information of Chalkboarder’s study was confirmed a few months ago by Fast Casual Alliance, who hired Forrester Research to do a similar assessment. The numbers haven’t changed in a year.

Statistics from Socialnomics paint a vivid picture of the opportunity the social web offers this industry. Fifty percent of the world’s population is under the age of thirty; ninety-six percent (96%) of these millenials have joined a social network. One out of eight USA married couples met through social media. Eighty percent of companies use social media for recruitment. The fastest growing segment on Facebook is females aged 55-65 (household decision makers). Fifty percent (50%) of mobile social web traffic in the UK is on Facebook. Youtube is the second largest search engine in the world.

There is still massive opportunity to reap the benefits of social media. Fundamental strategies of talking online with fans/followers, publishing community news and sharing features on your distinctive brand proposition — apart from the food and beverage — are the main drivers. Build on these fundamentals and sustainable community happens.

For restaurants that have not adopted social media, caution and research is in order. Avoid the risk of bumbling your foray into social media by seeking consult with a reputable social media strategist (perhaps over a few dinners in trade). As with any new-course business strategy, observing and researching a definable course takes a little time, but the return is measurable.

 

October 11, 2010

It Takes Two

It Takes Two

It takes two to tango is an idiomatic and well-worn expression in the United States. Often spoken when describing personal relationships, it is also used to describe peer or business relationships. As brands have jumped on the social web express, how many have signed contracts with or hired web community managers and assumed that these individuals or outsourced providers can take the ball and run with it, without support?

We’ve learned at Chalkboarder that some clients are a “bear” to fully collaborate with. It seems no matter how many times a week we seek raw content from these clients, it’s damn difficult to get collaboration. The reasons are varied, of course. Some clients are simply so busy managing day-to-day operations that social community management and content production is a big after-thought.

Other clients have assumed that, since they have a community manager, that’s all they need.

I’ve spoken with other social web managers who’ve experienced this as well. One, a mentor and friend, recently told me one of her clients cut short the relationship, stating that they were going to do it on their own. My friend described to me how the former client had, in her estimation, only used her minimally, despite repeated requests for raw content and collaboration.

If you’ve hired a web community manager, are you giving them all the tools and ingredients they need to do outstanding work for you? Take a look at this – don’t assume that just because you hired a manager that the social media show is a wrap. Hiring a web community manager without providing collaboration and raw content is a lot like a restaurant hiring a talented chef into a well equipped kitchen, but then not supplying food ingredients for them to work with.

If you truly desire to take advantage of the social web, you have to provide good quality raw content to your community manager. Better yet – flood them with good raw content. They’ll generate wildly distinctive and effective dialogues, build communities and drive sales if you do.

I’m curious how many other web community managers struggle with this?

March 10, 2010

Client Case Study: Coffee Fest

This past weekend Chalkboarder headed over to Meadowlands NJ to provide social media coverage of Coffee Fest’s first of three 2010 tradeshows. We were fortunate to meet some truly outstanding people within the specialty coffee and tea industry, from growers and suppliers, to roasters, coffee/tea shop owners and baristas. There seemed to be a fair number of folks attending who were planning to open a coffee/tea house.

Coffee Fest NYC Barista Competitor Megan's Signature Drink

Our mission at the Show was to journalize – to capture as much of the activity as we could to share with the friends of Coffee Fest and hopefully – that they would then share the high energy of Coffee Fest with their communities.

We’ve got some blogging to do – some retrospectives of the show. We were able to capture a large number of videos, create a Youtube Channel for Coffee Fest and engage a lot of the attendees and exhibitors through Twitter.

You can find all the videos over here at Coffee Fest Youtube, search the Twitter archives by using the hashtag #coffeefest, and stay tuned for the blog postings over here on Jeffrey Kingman’s Leaf & Berry Blog.

February 20, 2010

Small Biz Social Media

I’ve become really fascinated with how small independent businesses can take advantage of emergent social web tools. Much of my professional experience has been in the non-corporate world (except for Ritz Carlton, Hyatt, GTE Sprint, and some early career positions); independents generating less than $5 million in annual revenues.

The growth challenges posed to independents are, I believe, much more difficult than that for larger organizations. With larger organizations comes economies of scale. The independent organization manager has so many more hats to wear and not nearly the time or educational resources available.

How can these organizations take advantage of the new tools of the social web? The social web research firm Wetpaint/Altimeter found that organizations with total social media engagement were able to grow their businesses by 18%. It’s no secret that the social web offers organizations opportunities, but these players aren’t able to afford the market rate for social media strategists and community managers ($100/hour and $60/hour respectively).

**Please do not think you can conduct good social media by hiring a kid with a large Facebook account – that will FAIL miserably.

How does an independent restaurant, inn or coffee house effectively compete against the multi-units in social media? This question has been rattling around my brain for the past six months and I think there is a minimum of three answers:

Do It Yourself.  Doing it yourself offers the operator complete control. It also means significant time in learning effective strategies, tools and methods. In addition, it means significant time involvement in maintaining your social media activities (production, distribution, monitoring, engagement).

Outsource To A Large Firm. Outsourcing to a large firm can be attractive because of the automation offered in distribution, monitoring and analysis. In addition, you don’t have to invest time and money in learning effective strategies, tools and methods.  The disadvantage is that your organization will still have to do the content production and the engagement, requiring your time and attention.

Hire A Small Professional Creative Company. I posit that this is the best option for the independent small business. The creative company brings all the resources for production, distribution, monitoring and engagement – crafting and executing a sound and highly individualized strategy. Time requirement for the organization is minimal, requiring meeting in person or through technology for the creative professional to gather some raw content and give reports/feedback. It’s personal and accountable.

I’m going to forecast here that 2010 will be the year we’ll see an explosion of small creative social media providers catering to small business. Market rates will be reasonable, ball-parking in the $500 to $1000 per month range. With small business being the backbone of the American economy, I believe these social media providers will become the norm.

January 27, 2010

Brave New World

Illustration by Kathy Boake

A great article on how foodservice and hospitality operations can use social media, written for the Canadian hospitality industry by author Lesley Young for Foodservice World Magazine.

FH 01 10_BraveNewWorld

She quotes our CEO Jeffrey J Kingman in several places.

January 20, 2010

Yelp & Urban Spoon Comments

Guest Experience Staff Training

I’m researching a study of the restaurant industry, using Yelp and Urban Spoon as the main viewframe. While I’ve written in the past about how operators could use these two sites to their advantage, I feel compelled to share a different observation tonight.

Does your team need a refresher on what makes great experience for customers? I bet if you spent one hour with an all-staff meeting, asked them to all bring their laptops in for the meeting, then gave each staff member ten restaurants in Urban Spoon’s “Affordable Fine Dining” Category to view – that you’d have one hell of a good meeting discussion.

The trick to this is having your staff read the comments of these ten restaurants, then share the outstandingly good and bad comments with the team as a whole and then to look at yours.

Not only is this good training on excellent guest experience, it will give your staff the direct feedback of the dining public in your area; what they think about you, about your competition and what their expectations are of a good or great experience.

I promise you, it will be an eye-opener for your team.

The other thing it will do (bonus) is provide your staff with real-time competitive analysis of the other teams that they are directly competing with in your area. What a great way to bring your team even more together towards a common goal!

By the way, it’s so easy for operators to get their basic information on these sites. I am completely clueless as to why any operator would stuff these two sites with pictures, the menu, etc.

Also, it’s extremely rare to find an operator responding to the negative comments (much less the positive ones) on these sites. How much time a night does that take – to look for a comment from the night? Thirty seconds? And then to write a reply? Another five minutes to increase guest loyalty so they’ll tell all their friends about your place?

Yelp and Urban Spoon should be the most basic of social web management for a restaurant. An operator should visit them daily – that would take maybe two minutes, tops.

January 10, 2010

You Just Never Know

You just never know. You just never know where this social web/social media adventure will take you.

As I launched Chalkboarder in the summer of 2009, I became aware of a social media evangelist with deep restaurant experience. I think I first became aware of Paul Barron by seeing his name as a presenter on social media and the restaurant industry as a speaker at both the Western Foodservice Show and the annual conference of the Oregon Restaurant Association. I began reading his blogposts and learning his take on the social web as applied to the restaurant industry.

That August, I was fortunate to participate in the Northwest Sustainability Discovery Tour – exploring how food companies and restaurant operators were incorporating sustainability into their operations in the Pacific Northwest. It was at this conference that I met Paul. I think we exchanged a total of ten words the first day.

The second day we sat at the same table in the morning. I remember writing a little note about the speaker’s content on a blank business card and sliding it to Paul. He read it and later asked me if I always carried blank cards, which I did. He suggested I print at least the web address or my email on the blanks – as a way to incorporate my brand into a useful tool.

We traded a few emails back and forth over the next month and then I got a surprise email from him, asking if I would be willing to replace him as a speaker on social media at Coffee Fest Seattle. I felt pretty humbled and honored that he would think of me and immediately accepted. The folks at Coffee Fest have told me that my presentation was considered one of the best by their attendees.

Paul and I have built the beginnings of what I hope will be a great friendship. My respect for his thinking and vision is immense and grows with every communication.

Here is why I’ve written this post – you never know where the social media adventure and journey will take you. As a result of getting to know Paul, I have added a major client to our Chalkboarder roster with Coffee Fest. A year long social media strategy and execution with Coffee Fest as a client, with a deeply well-regarded brand image, will lead to other clients in the specialty coffee and tea industry. The ability to share Paul Barron and Coffee Fest as referrals to prospective clients of any industry is of huge value to us.

Paul, meeting, listening to and knowing you – created one of the early legs of Chalkboarder’s client base. I owe you much for entering dialogue with me and being willing to share so much. Thank you for being a mentor, sir.

December 31, 2009

2010 Is About Meaningful Content

Written for and cross-posted on FohBoh.com. I’m one of ten front-page contributors to FohBoh – the largest social network for the restaurant industry with over 13,000 members.

There’s been tens of thousands of conversations this past year about social media:

  • what is it,
  • how do you quantify ROI,
  • how can you compare it to traditional marketing/advertising,
  • what is the role of traditional PR/Marketing/Ad agencies with it,
  • how do you use it, and,
  • what is the most effective strategy?

Have you figured it all out?

I haven’t – social media is extremely dynamic, fluid and changing all the time. I read the leading social media theorists (Mashable.com, Paul Barron, Amanda Hite, Chris Brogan and numerous others) constantly; every day. While I’m not an expert and never want to be called a guru, I am most definitely a proponent, a social media evangelist and power user, both for my business and on behalf of some of my clients.

There’s been a number of pronouncements in the past few weeks – predictions – of what 2010 will bring for marketing, public relations, advertising and social media. I’m here on the last day of 2009 to share my distillation of these predictions with you.

The End of Traditional Marketing & Advertising (Static Announcements)

Let’s face it – have the marketing/advertising/PR strategies of the last forty years worked for you over the last two years?

  • Is running a newspaper ad every week with a coupon really working for you?
  • Is running a thirty second radio ad like a used car salesman begging people to “come on down” really working for you?
  • Is the static “brochure” of a website really working for you?
  • Is getting listed on the restaurant page of the newspaper working for you?
  • Are the menu pages in the Yellow Book working for you?
  • Is your direct email campaign really working?
  • How results-satisfied are you with text messaging the special on hot wings and draft beer?
  • Did placing an ad in the State Visitors Guide really work for you?
  • Did making that 60 second video ad for the local cable network really pay off?
  • Are static messages (think: flyers/coupons/etc) on Facebook and Twitter working for you?
  • [for the major multiunits] Did that 30 or 60 second major network ad really build relationships in your local communities?

I could go on. It seems there’s countless means to market and advertise a static announcement to the public. Is it really working for you?

2010 Equals Content

Your customers want to believe you are in community with them – for their needs, desires and wishes. Are the traditional strategies listed above really demonstrating how much you value your customer?

So how can you communicate with your customer dynamically, meeting their needs and desires?

  • Listen to them
  • Comment on their messages – sincerely
  • Let them produce content toward you
  • Don’t get defensive
  • Keep the mantra simple: It’s Not About You : It’s About Your Customer

Paul Barron and I had a conversation last week about the landscape of marketing, advertising and the social web. In an excellent post titled “Real Time Search could impact restaurants – big time!” on his blog Social Coco, Paul states “The point is that real-time is consuming the web in terms of new content that was not there just a few short years ago. This new content will impact restaurants in a big way as consumers not brands post videos, blogs, tweets, wall posts and podcasts more about their restaurant experience. And guess what all this will come up in: real-time search!”

John Jantz, in an article titled “Small Businesses Will Simply Become More Naturally Social” (cross-posted on Social Media Today and Duck Tape Marketing), states: “Social media activity and behavior can help facilitate communication and connection with your entire collaboration universe: prospects, customers, suppliers, partners, and employees and as such should be freed from the limited thinking.”

Free Stuff

We all like free stuff in this industry – free samples from the sales rep, free food and goodies from the tradeshows, etc. The old saying “free is a very good price” is part of our weekly vernacular. How many of you like free positive publicity?

Why not encourage your customers to share their life-stories with you through social media? Maybe a customer’s son or daughter videotaped the parents wedding anniversary dinner at your place. Perhaps a kid on the local baseball team is a regular customer – ask him for an interview that you can share. Take a couple pictures of your favorite businesspeople around town – share them through social media:

“My friend Joe at Zeke’s Auto knows more about foreign cars than anyone else I know. (picture link on web of Joe)”

What I’m suggesting is to use your marketing/advertising efforts to build community instead of standing on the street corner bull-horning the nightly special.

The 24 to 48 Hour News Cycle

I’m not saying never talk about your business – I’m saying make the community needs of your customers take priority in your marketing/advertising. I’m saying that even large multi-units can do this – by being meaningfully engaged in local community through social media.

You have the opportunity to create a localized 24 to 48 hour news channel that benefits and build community. And when you talk mostly about others, when you put others first, when you give to the community – it will reward you.

People will respond – and they will love the occasional story from your crew! You – as restaurant owner, as chef or line cook, as general manager, bartender or waiter, hostess or dishwasher – have the opportunity; the right even… or perhaps responsibility, to connect community together – just as much as the minister, town council member or fireman.

Tell your community’s stories first through your messages and your stories last. People will notice. Make your message revolve around your customers, not you.

Blogpost Fluff: Top 2009 Facebook Statistics

Facebook currently boasts over 350 million users

50 percent of Facebook users log on in any given day

Each day, 35 million users update their status

55 million status updates are posted each day

2.5 billion photos are uploaded to the site each month

3.5 million events are created each month

There are more than 1.6 million active Pages on Facebook

Over 700,000 local businesses maintain active Pages on Facebook

Users

The average user has 130 friends on the site

On average, users spend more than 55 minutes per day on Facebook

The Like button is used on 9 pieces of content on average each month

25 comments are written by users on Facebook content each month

Most users are member of at least 12 groups

International

About 70% of Facebook users are outside the United States

Over 300,000 users helped translate the site through the translations application

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.