Charmed Article July-Aug 2010 | Restaurants | Media Sharing

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~~the business of social v~ media marketing
z~ Facebook. Twitter'P', Foursquare'Y. These logos and mentions are everywhere you turn: on television and radio, in print ads, in menus, on billboards so if you're not fully up to speed with one or more of the social media, let's discuss the practical uses for them from a consumer and business perspective. Social media, by its very nature, is engaging and is all about creating conversations with its audience. "Did you like that movie? What did you think about the meal you just had at that new place? Where are you now?" While from an outsider's or newbie's view, the conversation seems a little too simple, from a marketer's stance, it's pure genius. Social media conversations allow companies to track what is being said about them and interact with their customers in a way that is non-confrontational and fun. If you 'like' a business on Facebook or follow them on Twitter, you are privy to some insider knowledge, or at least you feel that way. Locally, Keeper's Chowhound Burger Wagon uses this technology perfectly. Every day they update where the burger wagon can be found and from what time you can find them there. Seemingly simple, but seriously smart. Other locals that embrace social media and do it well are Cupcake, a chic dress shop in Fell's Point, whose owner Lisa Schatz is tireless in her updates, photos and social media marketing efforts. When she's getting in a new shipment of hot little summer dresses, everyone who 'likes' Cupcake gets an update. Alexander's Tavern, Gin Mill, Bartender's, V-NO, Taco Fiesta, Helen's Garden, Ale Mary's, Todd Conner's, Tapas Adela, Miguel's, Ryleigh's and many other bars/restaurants are all in on the act. And, there's a reason for this: social media works. It communicates important messages to its favorite customers in a succinct and relevant way. If you have a happy hour special, a new 'blue plate special' or anything to tell people, social media is the best way to do that, quickly and inexpensively. Foursquare is the new game on the scene; people are 'checking in' to let their friends know where they are and what they are up to and businesses can 'shout out' to their friends about specials. Points and badges are earned and the game continues without end. Should anyone become a 'mayor' of your business, well, you had better acknowledge them in a spe-

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cial way. Heck, maybe they wear a crown while they are in your place so others can envy the specials you've just thrown their way because of their allegiance to your establishment. Foursquare also allows its players to recommend places, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, gyms, movie theatres ... the list is endless. It's a game of loyalty and isn't that what all business owners are hoping to earn from their customers? With all this STUFF going on, it's really quite simple to see that the core principles of marketing are very much in play. The 4 Ps are still here: Product, Price, Place and Promotion - but I'd like to add a fifth PPEOPLE. And social media is the grand dame of tying that fifth Pinto your brand. Having conversations with your customers and potential customers what a concept - because without customers, you have no business and you know where that leaves you.
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