Consumer reports have continuously found that consumers (just like you and me) prefer the recommendations of their peers instead of other advertising means. Why? Because it’s (for the most part) unbiased and since these friends and colleagues know you well, you assume they would know what you like and have your best interests at heart. Yes, word of mouth marketing is alive and well, and will continue to thrive.
Restaurants have always relied heavily on word of mouth marketing. When you want a delicious meal, you often ask your friends or read reviews from critics. But what if our reviews of our favorite tasty places could be shouted from the rooftops to all of our connections? With the advent of social media and user-generated content, word of mouth marketing has become a tidal wave of great marketing opportunities that just need to be harnessed. So how can restaurants get on board and start surfing the wave? Here are some unexpected ideas…
Start monitoring, join the conversation, and some shameless self-promotion never hurts either. Twitter is particularly handy because it’s short and it’s RIGHT now. Lots of twitter users are looking for suggestions on where to go or watching where other users are going. Twitter can be a great venue for the customer satisfaction pulse. If someone has an issue, it’s great to provide on the spot customer service, and this can create amazing brand loyalty. Also, what a great way to help loyal customers (your Twitter followers) know about menu updates, specials or just how much you love them.
Yelp, Urbanspoon and other Review Sites
These great sites will help you keep up on what people are really saying about your establishment. Don’t ignore these reviews. Sure, you can’t please everyone, but if you’re looking for suggestions on how to improve your service, look no further than these treasure troves of great info. Tip: Don’t be afraid of the occasional nasty/rude review. These bad apples make the rest of the great reviews more genuine. Sometimes you’ll even get a loyalist on your side that will discount those mean mentions. Also, many review sites have iPhone applications, so going mobile is a snap and free to you.
Get yourself listed! With Google Maps it’s free to list your business and may be more helpful than you may think. Let me tell you why. Google is the number one search engine and is moving forward with blended search results (particularly local). This means it’s more likely a map result will get precedence over other content. Want to be on the first page? This is a good way to do it! Also, Google Maps is a leading service in mobile mapping technology, so if someone is looking for a good place to eat while they’re out and about, you’ll show up! Also, Google will aggregate most review sites and average those reviews, making it really easy for consumers to get the scoop on your delicious venue.
Meetup, Upcoming, Facebook Events and other Event Sites
Looking to promote a particular event at your establishment? Broadcasting it on local-based event sites is a great way to get visitors that didn’t even know you existed before. Also, look to partner with groups that may need venue suggestions. If you have a particularly slow night (say Tuesdays), offer them up a great deal (maybe happy hour prices) to host their group. This is a great way to start brand loyalty with new faces.
Flickr and YouTube
Got a camera? Take some shots of your famous menu items to share with fans and people that might be interested in learning more about your restaurant. This will help people get a better understanding of portions, how delicious your food is, etc. Also, there’s a great chance these photos will show up in blended search results! Got a video camera? Even better! Take a video tour of “behind-the-scenes” to give guests a unique experience on what goes into creating the amazing dishes you offer. This can really create buzz and be a nice personalized touch, especially if you already have fanatical brand loyalists.
Hope your mouth is watering with all these delicious new marketing opportunities that online relationships offer. Now that you’ve had a taste, how do you think you could harness this new trend to get more patrons?
Originally written for On Our Minds – Santy Integrated’s blog.
Alright, so I’ve been out of the circuit for a while on these, but they’re coming back! Check out these sweet links I gathered up from the interwebs last week.
Ever wonder if your boss, and his boss, and their boss has it out for the company? Do some of their managerial tactics don’t make sense and end up wasting time and money? Perhaps their team management manuals have been switched with this 1944 sabotage manual that reads like a 2008 Management Guidebook. Download the whole pdf and share with your team mates, I’m sure they’ll agree! Thanks to Tomas from The Closet Entrepreneur for this great link.
O’Reilly Ignite is the basis of the new Ignite movement that’s been happening around the United States. Basically it’s a 5 minute talk on what ever you think is interesting enough to talk about, 20 slides with 20 seconds a slide to help demo your opinions and ideas for crowd. Ignite Phoenix has just started getting the fire started here, and wanting to know more I started looking into past talks. I found one in particular that really spoke to me, it’s a comic for kids that teaches them to be creative, inventive, and to always be thinking.
Perhaps you enjoy being in touch with nature, with all of your five senses and twenty digits. If you hate shoes and would rather go barefoot, there is another way. BrainFuel spotlighted a site last week that answers this very issue. Vibram Five Fingers is a type of foot covering that allows you to experience the joys of being barefoot without the pain of that sharp rock or twig.
I have the pleasure of working over at GangPlank at least two days a week, and every so often Derek will break out the camera and snap some footage of us. Dana then goes to town editing and splicing digital bits to make us all more amusing than we are.. wait no.. we really are that funny, Dana just makes it MORE so. Anyhow, check out the new video A Day in the Integrum Lives.
Wireframes and complex UI design can be overwhelming for designers, but Adobe hopes to solve some of the burden with Thermo. Adobe will release Thermo during the Adobe MAX 2008/2009 conference, check out some sweet screen shots.
Now on to mobile! With the news of iPhone 3G in hitting markets in July, lots of buzz around that of course, but check out these other mobile gems you may have missed under the roar of Apple. Modzilla Labs gave a sneak peek look into a concept for Firefox Mobile Browsing for all you die-hard Firefox lovers out there, you will soon get your alternative . Flixwagon also gave video casters another way to get their fix by using your iPhone to stream live video.
Sometimes I find myself looking at the smaller details in life and wondering how random or perhaps meticulously designed the are. We interact with products all the time, and when the user experience is perfect, we seldom take design in consideration, take for example the car door handle. Luz, one of my brand new designer friends sent along this link last week, thanks hun for the designer touch on this week’s link list.
Onsite Insite, a local billboard leasing company, will be using their unoccupied billboard space to showcase local artists, creating community awareness and large-scale artistic expression at the same time. Tyson Crosbie, a local abstract photographer and a good friend of mine, was selected to be showcased on one of their billboards along the Santan Freeway. Congratulations Tyson. Tyson also had his Phoenix 20 book signing this weekend, where I scored three of my very own Tyson Crosbie prints!
Adaptive Path Employees share their new years resolutions with their users. Some of them are very much work related, some not so much, but I thought it would be interesting to see what other web professionals are reflecting on at the beginning of this year.
This amazing Honda Accord ad required 606 takes, cost $6 million dollars, and took 3 months to complete.
Pretty decent CSS cheat sheet for those of you who want to learn more about the production wonders of the world.
Interesting SEO Success Pyramid graphic that highlights some of the key requirements of great SEO success.
“How many five year olds could you take on in a fight?” Enter your stats and find out how many five year olds it would take to take you down!
Ever work with glitter and wonder if you’re ever going to get rid of the stuff? If so, you need this poster.
Everyone is trying to do something viral for Christmas this year, Tattoo Santa is by far the best I’ve seen.
So I got to sit down with Brian Shaler yesterday during the Phoenix BarCamp and really pick his brain regarding his recent boost in popularity on the net.
I’ve been on a big personal branding kick and I’m trying to talk to anyone who’s someone to ask them how they “did it”. Not necessarily to find the best way “in” but to be able to at least assess my possibilities and think of it another way. So when I heard Brian was getting some SERIOUS digg attention and had over 6k followers on Twitter… I started to wonder if he was my next brain-sucking victim in the quest to become immoral. Sounds kinda creepy when I put it that way eh?
Anyhow, when Chuck Reynolds and I finally hog tied him and tossed him into the back of the van, after HOURS of threating to toss him into a vat of scorpions, THE Brian Shaler gave up his secret to his AMAZING popularity rise.
When he first found Twitter, he realized the growth potential of seeding the popularity contest that is viral marketing. How you ask? It’s brilliant really. You follow people… doesn’t matter who really, the more active the better I suppose. Lets say you start following… 3 thousand people… then all the sudden, even HALF of those people return the favor by following you. You instantly have a captured 1,500 user audience in which to broadcast yourself and things you want to become known. Once you have a decent size user audience, communication back and forth can continue the viral campaign, since every @brianshaler twitter statement someone makes is broadcast to all the users twitter followers as well, and these people start to ask, who is this person they’re talking to? Perhaps they too will start following you. All the sudden you have over 6 thousand twitter followers just like Brian Shaler.
He uses this captured market as a launching pad for things to become viral and tracks every link he sends out to this base group so that he can track the SEO effects of his experiment in viral activity. So, lets say… he has a site that he wants to promote. He sends out the link to his twitter followers saying, “Hey check this really cool thing out…”. Because of his extensive research on the SEO traffic produced by his Twittering alone, he knows that he can pretty much rely on about 100-300 click throughs from his Twitter followers alone. So perhaps his twitter followers actually think that this thing that he has sent them is a great idea, so they send it to a friend, two friends or three friends. The viral exponential factor already starts working its magic… but lets say that someone submits it to StumbleUpon or Digg, and the their own viral patterns start to build on top of this small 100-300 base click throughs. Suddenly you have created a mountain out of an ant hill.
The craziest thing about this, is that due to the way the internet naturally is a sharing device, people who will never ever meet Brian are now his number one fan. During the BarCamp we were recording and streaming the presentations. A Brian Shaler follower from Germany found out about the web broadcast and came into the web chat, this follower actually asked Brian to tell his friend (who was also a Shaler follower) that he had flown to Phoenix and had actually hung out with Brian. Crazy eh? Off of merely creating a viral platform to toss things out on, Brian has actually become internationally famous.
Besides creating that viral base for yourself, Brian also seriously recommended building your own brand of yourself. As cocky as this may seem, it really helps promote the idea of “he is someone” much like personalities such as Oprah or Michael Jordan. Then using this identity for everything that you toss out into the sea of the internet, or even in real life. Brian actually has business cards that just say “Brian Shaler” on them… on both sides, nothing else. Why? He says, “If you can’t contact me in 30 seconds using the information on that card, don’t contact me.” This very small piece of printed material just adds to the effect that Brian really is someone you should already know of.
Brian also chalks up his fame to some of the side projects he’s put effort into in the past, and believes that it’s better to have many sites to your brand with lower search rankings than one site with a high page rank. Why? Because different people have different interests and you can reach a larger, broader audience. He has recently broken out his blog from his personal portfolio site, widening his name sake that much more. But you can really see this effect in his creation crappygraphs.com. The whole site’s premise is crappy graphs that really don’t display accurate data at all, but more so a point. After creating only 20 crappy graphs, he decided to create a flash application on the site that allowed users to create their own crappy graphs and submit them to the site. After ten hours of intense manual labor over the course of one weekend, he now gave his crappy graph followers a way to really express themselves…crappily graphically. Crappy Graphs now has over a thousand graphs… why? Because of user submissions. These user submissions have been Dugg, StumbledUpon, and spread throughout the viral universe, and how did Brian accomplish this? By creating one, 10 hour application that allowed his users to express themselves.
So while the rest of us are trying to figure out the best way to market some silly viral ad campaign, Brian will be tossing links out into his twitter feed and reaping the click throughs, Diggs, and Stumbles.
** I was forced against my will to name the following links… part of the verbal agreement to be talked to by THE Brian Shaler. But do check them out anyhow. You’re welcome Brian. **
For those of you who DON’T know you Brian Shaler is, check out his blog, his personal portfolio site, his famous twitter account (6k followers and counting), the ShalerJump and of course Crappy Graphs.
I just wanted to make sure you were invited to all the awesome web and design happenings this week in Phoenix!
Tues, Dec 4th – Refresh Phoenix
Refresh Phoenix meets every first Tuesday of the month to discuss current internet issues and trends. The topics range from becoming your own boss to css frameworks to make your work more efficient. This month the topic is results from the 2007 Web Design Survey that was put out by A List Apart. This should be a very interesting conversation since there really has never been a survey of the internet industry.
When: Tuesday, December 4th 6:30 – 9:30 pm (come early to get some networking in)
8658 East Shea Blvd, Scottsdale
Fri, Dec 7th – 16th Annual AIGA Art Auction
AIGA Arizona is holding it’s annual Art Auction event in Downtown Phoenix at MonOrchid Studios during December First Friday! AIGA Arizona is pleased to present over 100 original works of art (paintings, mixed media, photography, digital art, sculpture, jewelry, and more) displayed on sale in live and silent auction formats. Plus bid on a selection of special packages that include dining, entertainment and recreation. This year’s art auction will also feature the Mohawk Show.
When: Friday, December 7th 6-10 pm
214 E. Roosevelt Street, Phoenix
Sat, Dec 8th – BarCamp Phoenix
BarCamp is an ad-hoc un-conference born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos and interaction from attendees. All attendees must give a demo, a session, or help with one. This is great because you can both speak and be an audience member.
When: Friday, December 8th 9 am – 5 pm
University of Advancing Technology (UAT)
2625 W. Baseline Road, Tempe
I keep forgetting my notebook at work, so eventually you’ll have some good quotes and stats to go along with this post, but I wanted to get it up here before the content became stale.
I attended the Facebook Developers Garage in Phoenix, AZ on Wednesday. Overall it was extremely informative. We’ve been on a big facebook app kick at work lately, so the timing couldn’t be better.
It was great to hear Dave Morin speak, it’s not often you get to meet a driving force behind a cultural phenomenon. The amazing growth that Facebook has encountered in the last year is remarkable. What is even more remarkable is the amount of return traffic they continue to receive, about 50% of their user base return. Also, the user base isn’t a set target market, it seems everyone is getting value out of the social graph. Dave stated that the 25+ population is seeing rapid growth. And there isn’t an age limit to Facebook users, Dave mentioned that in international terms 50-70 year old users are booming user base as well. Over 50% of the Facebook social graph is international users, and is the top social network in England. The facebook developers platform is a remarkable way to continue the interactivity of the website, making sure there’s always something new to do, add and get value from each time the user visits.
Dave was clear in the honest reason why Facebook was created in the first place. To be able to share and communicate information through a one to many conversation platform. Being able to share information to a large group of people in your networks at the same time, allowing for communications to be timely and all inclusive to your network base. It’s interesting how the new platform and applications have twisted this exchange of information into all kinds of venues, from comparing your friends to sharing your interests and photos.
The real power of Facebook is the social graph, how people are connected through friends, locations, similar interests and other social networks. To make an amazing application it has to really link in and harness the power of that social graph, both in virility and in activity. Users need to be able to easily share the application with friends and the more you have activity with friends the more chances you have to introduce the application for install. Chris Johnson cited in his presentation that for an application to exponentially become more popular you need to have AT LEAST a 1:1.1 install ratio. That means for every install you have one or two installs of the application. Facebook gives you many many opportunities to become viral, your application appears in the applications list, user profiles (in two different locations, the quick bar and the profile view), invite friend controls, notifications sent to friends when interactivity is created, mini feeds when the user uses the app, and news items if the application becomes a large enough force within the community. However, having these entry points doesn’t spell success alone.
You have to build virility into your application, brainstorm ways your user base can connect with their social graph through your application. Share photos, tag friends, send gifts, link them together and create value through their communications. Give users a chance to share, compare and talk to their friends about the information your application provides. Again, this all comes back to communication, make sure you give your users a chance to communicate with their social network why this information is important to them. Not only is it important to be able to allow your base user to communicate to their network, it’s equally if not more so to support communication from their network BACK to the base user. Dave cited that to when a user receives feedback from their network on an application use, they’re TWICE as likely to reuse the application.
Reuse is extremely important! Chris Johnson cited attrition by uninstall as the number one killer of application success. You must create your application with value to the user that is ever-lasting, something that they will want to continue to use not just install once and forget about it. Because when that other application comes around that DOES provide that value, yours will be uninstalled or hidden to make room on their profile for the other application. An uninstalled or hidden application isn’t very viral is it? So make sure you add continued value for your users.
Nate from Red Bull candidly showcased the Roshambull application during the his presentation. It was a great presentation that reminded us to not just make an application and forget about it. Do testing, ask users opinions, they’ll tell you how to make your application even better. It was great to be able to hear from someone about what they did WRONG about and application and how they made it better, instead of just praising how amazing it was. Your application should be constantly evolving to continue to add additional value to your user base. Also, the facebook platform is far from being finally evolved, so keep in the know about the new stuff that’s coming out, maybe you can leverage some of the new additions to the platform to make your application more successful.
In addition to the keynote, marketing, technology and case study presentations there were also five minute presentations from developers in the Phoenix community to showcase their upcoming applications and brand new ideas for applications still in the brainstorming phase. These were very interesting and I really liked the energy challenge application idea. It was an idea for an application that would allow you to enter in your monthly energy consumption and challenge your friends and neighbors to competitions to decrease your energy consumption. I think applications like this are a great idea and really allow for more important information to be spread throughout the social graph and really make a difference in the world, not that fluffy friends don’t make the world a better place.
Social networking has given the web an additional depth of value in communication in our every day lives. Connecting and communicating with your family, friends and new contacts couldn’t be easier these days. With the facebook platform and applications the sky is the limit of how communication can rapidly expand the knowledge base of the entire world.
So hop on and become part of my social graph by visiting my Facebook profile.
This is just a happy little reminder about the Phoenix Facebook Developers Garage event!
What is a Facebook Developers Garage? It’s an opportunity for developers, marketers and any one else to learn more about Facebook, Facebook applications, marketing through Facebook applications, building applications and everything in between. Highlights of the event include a presentation by Dave Morin of Facebook on Platform and a detailed look at the evolution of the Red Bull Roshambull application by Nate Warner of Red Bull. Seating is limited to the first 150 that RSVP to this event, so if you have interest be sure to get in early! Click here to RSVP
Time: 6-9 PM
Tempe Center for the Arts,
700 W. Rio Salado Parkway,
6:00 pm – Networking & Refreshments
6:30 pm – Keynote Speaker: Dave Morin, Facebook
7:15 pm – Marketing Facebook Applications – Chris Johnson, Terralever
7:30 pm – Application Presentation: ‘Roshambull’ presented by Nate Warner, Red Bull
7:40 pm – Facebook Application Development, presented by Scott McAndrew & Joel Neubeck, Terralever
7:50 pm – 5-minute Apps and Ideas mini-presentations (If interested, contact one of the Event Admins)
8:30 pm – Live Social Networking
9:00 pm – Let the afterparty begin (location TBD)
Applebee’s has a new logo, and a new Spokesapple. Brand New has a reveiw of the new logo, and most of the reviewers are as mixed as the logo elements themselves. Personally, I think the logo brings Applebee’s to the current design trends, but the offset of the apple illustration and the monotone between the company name and the slogan is a little bland. The font choice for the tagline is a bit much, perhaps too much serif going on here.
Identity aside, I like the way Applebee’s has introduced a viral marketing video as part of the rebranding. Setting up Apple auditions for a new Spokesapple. Some of the clips are pretty funny, including the pineapple, orange and pear who auditioned, or Alan the Karate Chopping Apple. Check out the auditions here.
When all auditions were through, Wanda Sykes is the new voice over for the new Spokesapple. I love Wanda, and I think she’ll really bring out the comedy in having a Spokesapple. She is fun, funky, and still very fresh.