Category: Social Media

Things that make you go poo.  Not “hmmm”.

I’ll never forget it – that gurgle in your stomach that’s just a little bit off, signaling something bad is on the way. And that bead of sweat that forms on your forehead, partly because you’re about to come down with something and partly because you’re begging your body – “NOT HERE PLEASE!”

I was sitting in row 2 of business class on a flight from Barcelona to Houston (and then Houston to Tampa) when that all-to-familiar feeling hit me last August.

It turns out, I was about to experience the worst 8 days of my life because I, friends, had picked up a nasty little food borne bacteria called Campylobacter [pronounced kamp-pil-o-back-tur] from a restaurant in Barcelona.

All I can say is…don’t get it.  EVER!  So as long as your restaurant, or the restaurant you’re in handles and properly cooks meat, especially chicken, this nasty bacteria can be avoided.

You might be wondering what any of this has to do with Facebook right?

Well I thought it would be an interesting exercise to check out the Facebook pages of some of the restaurants reported closed on one of the numerous ‘dirty dining’ reports that each of the local news outlets seem to produce to see if we could find any connection to the way these folks handle their social media (Facebook) and the public’s reaction to violations.

I didn’t have to dig too deep to learn something right away.  Whether you like Facebook or not, you need to have an active page for your restaurant.  Because if you don’t, the consumers will do it for you…and if they’re controlling it, it may not be so pretty.

Take for example the restaurant at the Inverrary Resort.  It was closed for 5 violations including roaches.  On closer inspection, a much better story unfolds and it starts with Facebook.

When i searched for the resort/restaurant, the first Facebook page I found on ‘the graph’ was this.  Yep, that’s right…either some pissed off customer, or past employee, or just plain old concerned citizen has started a page that talks about the rodent problem At Inverrary Resort.

But this page dates all the way back to 2011.  Now it could be argued that since they’re still in business, this has no effect on the restaurant and resort.  But one look at Yelp and you can see that the Inverrary Resort is operating on borrowed time.  That bill is going to come due with a vengeance.

Get this though: there was another establishment listed in Boca with 6 violations – 1 more than Inverrary.  But you take a look at their Facebook with 6,400+ likes, and 15,000 check-ins and you can see that people are taking their violations in stride.

“Things like this happen” right?  Yes, they do.  But when a restaurant takes the time to communicate with their customers…especially on Facebook, incidents like this for them seem like they at times, can be worked through amicably.

Plenty of restaurants have been forever marked by poor Facebook etiquette like Chik-Fil-A or the worst Facebook meltdown in history – Amy’s Baking Company.

What every restaurant needs to know about Facebook

Facebook cannot be ignored by restaurants.  Eating out is a social action by nature, so it stands to reason that social media fits nicely into this activity.  With Facebook being the 800 pound gorilla in the room of all things social media, it is just a matter of time before your customer will take over the reins of your social media persona if you won’t.

Now I could go on about how hard it is for restaurants to gain organic audience these days, and that’s very true. You almost have to ‘pay to play’ to get any eyeballs on Facebook FOR YOUR CONTENT.

But here’s the thing…if you’re not playing nice with your customers now on Facebook…when something negative happens related to your restaurant – AND IT WILL…you won’t remotely like the firestorm created by the rapidly-gained detractors that you will surely acquire.

Get your weekly dose of restaurant marketing hacks by signing up below.  And listen…I hate being inundated with a bunch of useless emails that I don’t want.  I promise you that you will only receive what you sign up for – once a week.  So what are you waiting for?  Sign up already…

Exakt Marketing is happy to announce that one of our social media marketing internship opportunities has been taken on by fall 2013 intern, Cami! Only a week in, Cami has shown promising characteristics that will make her a great part of our marketing team. Without further adieu, meet Cami!

Name: Cami Nezam2a921e3
Major: Advertising and Public Relations
School: The University of Tampa
Hometown: North Potomac, MD
Favorite color: Turquoise

Why did you choose to intern at Exakt Marketing? I chose to intern at Exakt Marketing because while searching on the Web for companies in the Tampa area, Exakt caught my attention because I was familiar with some of the clients they work with. I wanted to find a Tampa marketing company that would give me the hands-on experience I need before entering the real world and I thought Exakt would be the perfect fit for me!

What are your goals for your Social Media Marketing Internship? I am eager to truly immerse myself in the field of marketing by helping design and implement marketing strategies for various clients. I want to utilize my skills knowledge and further expand on that knowledge throughout my internship.

If you could only eat at one restaurant for the rest of your life, which restaurant would you choose? If you were to ask my family and friends this question about me, you would most likely get the same answer from everyone. I choose…CHIPOTLE! I am a huge Chipotle fan and have never had a bad experience eating there. The food is so fresh and I can’t resist the chicken Burrito Bowls!

What is your favorite social media network and why? I have to say my new favorite is Instagram. While I was abroad in Italy this past summer, Instagram was my outlet to share photos with my loved ones, which allowed them to visualize my journey along the way! I like how it allows me to be creative in the way I take photos and also allow me to connect to others’ creativity!

From a professional perspective, what famous person do you admire and why? I admire Giuliana Rancic because of her personal story that got her to be an important face on television. She has gone through many struggles along the way and it is admiring how she never gave up on what she wanted. I find her to be very influential!

Welcome to the team, Cami!

You know how they say, “Someone’s always watching.”? Well, that same idiom goes for social media and online marketing. And that person “always watching” is me (along with the rest of Team Exakt)! I wanted to put together a list of my top social media pet peeves so anyone out there who is also watching and perhaps, exploring and evolving can take a step back to look at their brand on social media.

  1. Unresponsive Brands- If you have someone capable of tweeting or scheduling tweets, Screen shot 2013-09-19 at 1.19.43 PMthey should be able to respond or at the very least, throw me a ‘favorite’. Push notifications make Twitter very user friendly! Red Bull Tampa rocks on social media.
  2. Untimely Brand Posts- If I’m checking my social media accounts in the morning (as I always do… morning routines FTW) and I see your happy hour specials at 7 a.m., I’m uninterested. Let’s see those specials 1 hour or less before they start. Like many others, I have a lot going on each day and I’m going to forget about your specials or event postings if they come earlier than your business even opens. Plus, those awesome happy hour specials that you’re posting will get lost in the abyss that is the news feed.
  3. Facebook Links on Twitter- You may have, at one point in time, scratched your head and thought, “My Facebook fans are much different than my Twitter followers.” And you thought right! Connecting your Facebook to Twitter may seem convenient but it is not attractive in the least. Facebook allows you to bare your soul and be as descriptive as possible with your posts while Twitter does not (140 characters or bust, baby). Twitter users are kind of like Jimmy Johns customers, they like it fast. Get your message out there and put a creative brain behind it so it sounds awesome and you can rack up those retweets! I solemnly swear to never click a Facebook link on Twitter, who’s with me??
  4. Automated Direct Messages on Twitter- I truly dread seeing a direct message notification pop up because 80% of the time it’s a spambot telling me how they lost 15 pounds (by the way, I report you!) and the other 20% it’s from an account that has a populated Followers list. Either way, I don’t care about that message and I know there are others who support the idea that this technique of thanking your followers is an annoyance. You know what will really say, “Thank you for following me, we think you’re awesome too!”? An interaction.
  5. Brands Stealing Photos- I know at this point in the Internet’s life, all photos seem “up for grabs” but something just makes me want to hide when I see a brand using a photo that isn’t theirs. First of all, copyrights do still exist. Second, many a time I see these photos they’re not even good quality or they’re in poor taste. Be honest: Did that stolen meme or “someecards” image really sell a bottle of wine at your restaurant the day of posting? I get that for some business owners who are also running their social media, it’s important to get your personality across so your brand doesn’t look dull. I just think there are better ways to accomplish that and social media is after all, a form of restaurant marketing.

I hope that these social media pet peeves have helped you or at the very least entertained you! If you think I’m way off or have a bigger pet peeve to share, let’s tweet about it.

P.S.- Red Bull Tampa Bay did end up bringing Red Bull to the office! Thanks again!

It’s been 1 year since Facebook acquired Instagram and boosted its users to “more than 100 million monthly active users” by making the app available to non-iPhone users, according to Mashable. It’s all about being seen. Let’s talk about your restaurant on Instagram.

You might be thinking to yourself, “why should my restaurant have an Instagram?” or perhaps you’re questioning the functionality of it all. Let me just break this all down for you to help you understand why you should create an account for your restaurant and how to use it to its full potential.

The Why:

  1. You will have the ability to explore what your customers are eating and hear their input/comments.
  2. Repair a bad experience– if there is one. Chances are, if customers are taking pictures of food and drinks at your restaurant they are probably enjoying everything.
  3. You want to create a unique experience for your customers by taking advantage of their desire for pictures. Social media users love photos, especially of your food!
The How:
  1. Connect and follow up on customer experiences. There are 3 main ways that you can keep tabs on who has been at your restaurant: the user has tagged their location (your restaurant) and you can search for all photos taken there; the user has hash-tagged the name of your restaurant or perhaps a particular dish or drink; or the user has tagged you (the restaurant’s handle) directly.
  2. Feature your specials and leverage real-time events happening in house.
  3. Encourage your team and staff to acknowledge your restaurant’s Instagram presence. Utilizing Instagram as a marketing tool will bring in new and potential customers, especially those who already have a burning interest to visit.
Have you had an experience with Instagram that is worth sharing?
We would love to hear it!

If your restaurant or company is in need of a full-service marketing agency, please contact Exakt Marketing. We believe that every interaction is an opportunity to create a unique experience.

A new Facebook layout is in town and this time, photos rule everything. With social media, it seems to be that all we care about is the image rather than what we have to read. Considering Facebook’s recent acquisition of Instagram, we can’t say we’re shocked about its latest update being very photo-centric either.

Go ahead and Google “first Facebook layout” and enjoy that nostalgia for a minute.

Think back to those tabs at the top, those little info or disclaimer boxes underneath your picture, or how they listed each individual that you became friends with. That’s just far too much text for us now in 2013.

Now, even as a “friend”, you’re going to have to stay on top of your photo game if you don’t want to get lost in the news feeds. But what about as a business owner managing the Facebook page as a component of using social media to build your brand? The “rules” will apply to you too.

Get yourself a camera or smartphone to upload pictures so your business can stay on the radar. And if you follow our advice below, you should be on the right track.

  1. Serve food and/or cocktails? Customers are going to want to see what you can bring to the table—pun intended.
    *Investing time in posting photos or providing your marketing agency with photos is going to pay off. With the new layout, photos that people and businesses post are the central focus.
  2. Connect with your customers by posting to grab emotions rather than money.
    *Just because you have a special going on, doesn’t mean people care or would come in because they saw your status.
  3. It’s important to appeal to your customer’s pleasure factor.
    * Energy and good vibes can be transmitted through social media with the use of photos paired with humor, quotes, or a relatable emotion for that day.
  4. Yes, you absolutely want to post specials. But just posting your specials as a text-based status will get lost.
    *Focus on the most desirable special and pair it with a photo of a group of people who frequent your business, a bartender, or the staff.
  5. Photos on Facebook add to the personality of the business. New and current customers want to be able to know the business and recognize a face or two when they come in.
    *We bet you know that posting pictures of your animals is always great too (check out this great pic of Jayden and Emily on Exakt Marketing’s Facebook page).

Even if you don’t want to welcome this transition, it will move forward with or without you. Trust us when we tell you that pictures will sell. And awesome pictures will sell even more than that. Stay relevant and present with these social media changes so that your business doesn’t suffer.

For more information on leveraging social media for your business, contact Tampa marketing agency Exakt Marketing.

You won’t drive sales by posting on Facebook. In order to have a successful restaurant social media presence, you’ve got to lay off the sales push and focus on your relationship with your customers. Sure, on the surface social is a great avenue to promote upcoming events, specials, deals, etc. But it goes beyond that.

Your absolute main focus should be customer service and the experience that you’re creating for customers online. You’d think that this would be obvious to professionals in the restaurant industry, but it’s not unlikely to see restaurants on Facebook sharing their “daily deal” and then disappearing… leaving customers with unanswered questions, concerns, and even compliments – I can’t take it any longer! So, I had to share what must have been a secret. 😉

If part of your restaurant marketing strategy is to post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc., you’ve got to realize that getting word out there is just half of it; your response to those engaging customers is the other. Here are a few tips to keep in mind after that post gets blasted to the social media world.

  1. Acknowledge as many customers individually as you can. Whether it’s a “like” or a personal shout out, make them feel special and build that relationship! The stronger the relationship, the more likely they’ll think of you next time they’re looking for a restaurant to go to.
  2. Don’t let too much time pass. Let’s say you post a photo of one of your appetizers on special that night and a customer responds with a question and then no one replies… you just missed a huge opportunity to engage and influence that customer! (Example to the right is from the Green Lemon in Tampa.)
  3. Be human. Don’t be afraid to use “I” instead of “we” and let your personality come through. Customers will feel much more connected to you if they know a person is behind the scenes.
  4. Download social media applications so you don’t miss out on an opportunity! Facebook Pages, Twitter and Instagram all allow you to set up push notifications so you know what your customers are saying in real time.

Of course there is always the issue of time, but if you’re going to post, you better have a reaction plan in progress! If you cannot personally commit to looking after your restaurant’s social media presence, turn to a trusted employee or social media marketing professional.

And the thought I’ll leave you with tonight is… no one likes to be ignored, especially when it comes to an industry where customer service could make or break you. So, like your mama always said, “treat others the way you’d like to be treated!” and if yours truly could add to that… “this includes online!!”

Ciao!

As the popularity of social media continues to skyrocket in 2013, more and more companies are joining in. If you are the owner of a company, a social media presence can be a great opportunity for you to get in touch with customers. Being on social media sites means much more than simply having a page. During my time as a Social Media Marketing Intern at Exakt Marketing, I have learned crucial strategies we use so our clients can harvest the benefits of social media while avoiding social media flops. Here are three strategies that Exakt uses to make our clients’ social media presence blossom:

1.      Stay True to You: Every brand, like an individual, is unique with its own personality and tone. This is reflected in a brand’s audience. Something that customers of one company get excited about could seem dull to another company’s audience. We take a strong look at each client’s followers, determine who we are talking to and figure out what would interest them. It is important in social media to be authentic when managing a brand’s personality. For some clients it is appropriate to make jokes or talk about pop culture while others can be more professional. No matter who the client is, knowing who their audience is and what will draw their attention is a must.

2.      Make Conversation: Social media is a different experience than traditional media like television or radio because it is inherently interactive. This is why many people enjoy social media; they know that they can avoid advertisements. In order to not seem pushy, we make sure to use a conversational approach with our clients’ customers. We are able to engage customers by providing them with information as well as responding to comments and posts. Making conversation with customers illustrates that the brand is likeable and approachable.

3.      Keep It Interesting: If what you posting isn’t interesting, it will get lost in your audience’s news feed. In a worst-case scenario, people who at one time chose to follow your posts would “un-like” and move on. One of the first things I learned at Exakt was to put my posts through a ‘why would I care?’ test before sending them to the Internet. While our clients are on social media to promote their brand, we recognize that it is important not to bombard your audience with ad-like posts. If I know a certain audience is interested in television or music, I can catch their attention through common interests and engage them rather than commanding them to buy a product.

Think your company’s social media could use some revamping? Contact Exakt Marketing and find out exactly what we can do for you!

As a senior in college, and a current intern at Exakt I know first hand the pressures of the competitive job market and the stresses of trying to get a foot in the door. With over a thousand students graduating from my university this year alone, the biggest question on my mind is: How do I make myself stand out? Just having a degree in hand no longer seems like enough. I believe the answer to this question lies in creativity and personal branding, which might be able to take a resume from the middle of the stack to the top of the pile.

With the modern explosion of social media outlets such as LinkedIn and Twitter, there are more opportunities then ever before to get in direct contact with potential employers. Some innovative individuals are using these opportunities to break away from the conventional resume and cover letter in order to get themselves hired.

One great example is Philippe Dubost, a Web Product Manager from France who was interested in finding new career opportunities abroad. He made himself stand out by turning his online resume into a strikingly accurate mock Amazon webpage, which allows potential employers to read his ‘ratings and reviews’ or contact him by clicking ‘add to cart.’ This resume speaks for itself as it bursts with creative potential and expresses Dubost’s unique personality. Rather then being dull and overlooked, his resume went viral and resulted in more then 1,000,000 page views and over 100 job offers throughout Europe and Asia.

Another creative job seeking effort comes from Steven Severn who used social media to go after his dream job at Saatchi & Saatchi. Severn used Facebook advertisements titled ‘Saatchi Hire me!’ to promote his personal LinkedIn page and targeted the advertisements to show up on current Saatchi & Saatchi employee’s newsfeeds. Spending only $3.43 in advertising costs, the technique scored Severn an interview with his dream company.

It seems that in order to compete with the high number of people searching for jobs today, one may need to think outside the traditional resume and cover letter box to get noticed. With interactive social media and other new developing technologies, the possibilities for inspiration seem endless. Especially when looking to work in a creative field it may be helpful to let your resume truly showcase your talents and personality.

Have you seen any interesting, creative or outlandish resumes? Would you hire someone who used a creative approach or do you believe traditional methods still reign supreme? Leave a reply and let us hear your opinion!

The social media train is nowhere near slowing, it is rapidly covering more ground and becoming smarter. Already, 2013 is providing updates and positive changes in your Facebook world and Twittersphere.

On Tuesday, January 15,  Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg announced the new feature, Graph Search. This new feature may not be immediately available to you, as only a small fraction of Facebook’s billion users will see it. The feature is taking the slow-roll path as most of their changes tend to do. Reminisce back to the time when everyone on your feed was complaining about the new layout, or cover photo. This new feature doesn’t seem to be posing any aesthetic problems, so there’s no need to be alarmed.

Graph Search Breakdown:

  • It’s a search tool
  • It is limited to your connections
  • It is designed to replicate the way you speak
  • As of now, it is limited to photos, interests, likes, people, and places (so, status updates are not included)

    Examples:

  • “Photos of my friends in Hong Kong”, “Music my friends like”, “Photos of my friends in 1993”, “Friends who live in my city”, and can even become as creative as “Movies liked by friends who like Coldplay and live in Seattle.”

Facebook seems to have diminished any privacy issues because you can only find what your friends have chosen to share. So, start going through your interests and likes if you’re not ready to share that information with your Facebook connections. Though, you already have been sharing, just in a less-searchable way.

Meanwhile, in the Twittersphere, look at the new update at work!

Yes, Twitter did previously notify you when you were exceeding your 140 character limit; it presented the “-5” as seen to the right. But now.. your lingering tweet is highlighted in red to let you know in a more obvious way that you are beyond capacity.

Along with that, if you’re about to tweet at someone or provide a link to your awesome blog, your link will appear blue as you’re typing. The benefit with these updates is that you will know that your link is going to work, you won’t ramble on excessively about the galaxy, and that Twitter is adjusting to make things easier for its users.

So what do you think about these updates? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section, on Facebook, and/or Twitter!

 

One thing I love about social media: it’s always changing.  As of January 2013, I have a handful of predictions that I consider to be “unavoidable” this year.  I write this post knowing that tomorrow could be a whole different story in this ever-changing social media world that we live in and I welcome any predictions or feedback you may have in the comments below!

  1.  It’s all about photos. This should come as a shock to no one. We learned early on in 2012 that people wanted to see pictures when photo-based sites like Instagram and Pinterest skyrocketed. It wasn’t long before businesses started to join users on the sites and now, more than ever, it’s important for brands to show rather than tell their story. After all, brands are competing with newsfeeds full of adorable babies and hilarious someecards – you’ve got to up the ante and great creative!
  2. Content is the whole damn castle.  You’ve heard the saying, “Content is king, links are queen and social media is the prince/princess” well, I think this year will be the year of content – not just any content though, engaging content. (Duh, right?) I predict that in 2013, if you’re just posting blogs for SEO purposes, your readers (if any) will begin to smell the BS. In order to stay relevant, you’ll need to first and foremost produce content that is interesting, unique and engaging. The more comments and distribution your blog gets, the more success it will have. The only way to get comments and distribution? Engaging, interesting content. You want that user to come back so don’t give them content that they can find everywhere else.
  3. The fall of Foursquare. Sorry Foursquare, but I’m predicting your extinction in 2013. As someone who was very much a Foursquare advocate a little over a year ago, upgrades to what used to be complementing social networks have stolen your thunder. Why go the extra step to check-in on Foursquare when you can accomplish the same on the sites that some of us check more than our own personal email – Facebook, Instagram. Not to mention, the two mentioned platforms allow for lots of  “likes” and “comments” resulting in one happy ego! Yes, the occasional free shot at the neighborhood bar was nice but you don’t need Foursquare to do that. If you want to offer a check-in special, I suggest going with Yelp. Reward those users who contribute to your online reputation on one of the biggest online review sites. Which leads me to my next point…
  4. All hail the Yelper. In 2013, there is no more hiding from it… Yelp is here and it’s here to stay. Some business owners automatically think Yelp (or any online review site) is nothing more than a forum for people to go complain. But the reality is the majority of Yelp is made up of potential brand advocates. So why wouldn’t you want to tap into that community? Of course, you’ll find the random Yelper here and there that has only left one horrible, awful review but you’ll also find a community full of potential customers and influencers. (Hint: the biggest influencers will have an “Elite” badge on their profile. Impressing them is definitely a great goal to set!) Jennifer recently wrote a great blog about responding to online reviews that I encourage you to check out when you have a minute.
  5. Survival of the fittest. People will begin to realize that social media does not follow that “if you build it, they will come” motto. Companies need to put time, effort and expertise into a social media campaign if they want it to be successful. The marketing strategy that you currently implement should absolutely transcend into the social realm and an effective way to do so would be to engage your social media company in more than just social media. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it forever – if social media is being operated in a silo, it will not work. Having a team of professionals who can cover all of your marketing ground (digital, traditional, print, etc.) creates a seamless experience for not only your company but your audience/customers as well.

What do you predict will happen in social media in 2013? Please share!

Top