We’re starting a new series on the BlogWorld Blog called Small Business Social Media Profiles. I’ll be talking with small businesses who’ve incorporated social media aspects into their website, marketing, and promotion – asking them for their input and hopefully encouraging you to further your social media reach!
First up is The Mermaid Inn in NYC – a casuallly sophisticated urban fish shack located in the East Village and Upper West Side in New York City as well as the Mermaid Oyster Bar located in Greenwich Village. Very prominently on their homepage they have links to their Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr accounts – plus a link to their Oysterpedia app!
I think their website layout and flash elements are very fresh and sophisticated. I was excited to talk to them further!
When did you start integrating Twitter and Facebook into your business marketing and outreach?
We started our twitter and facebook outreach about two years ago.
How did you begin promoting your account and encourage fans to follow you?
At first we reached out a lot to people in the food community – food bloggers, oyster lovers etc and they helped get the word out about the account. Also we made sure everyone on staff was aware of what we were doing and supported/promoted it in the restaurant as well.
Do you run any contests, or specials, or have other interesting activities in place for social media?
We have Social Media Mondays in which we tweet a password or phrase as well as put it on our facebook page for a 20% discount if a customer says this phrase to their bartender or server. We also have the best foursquare deal in the city – check in for a free side for your table or steal the mayorship for a free lobster sandwich (a $26 entrée!). We also have an iPhone and Android app called Oysterpedia that is a guide to over 200 North American oyster varieties, with tasting notes, photos, and rating system to save your favorites.
Do you have a social media plan and/or policy in place?
Our social media policy is to connect and communicate with our customers – both current customers and potential – and to do that in an engaging, fun way that promotes the Mermaid brand as a quality, laid-back neighborhood seafood restaurant.
Do you have social media goals for your business?
Our social media goals involve increasing our social media presence and quality of interactions, sharing (and learning) about topics relative to us – such as oysters, etc., staying on top of what is going on in the social media world, and finding new ways to promote our brand as well as listen to our customers.
Do you have a dedicated employee for social media or do you all interact?
Many of our employees are on social media and post their own things about the restaurants but we have one dedicated person who is the voice of the Mermaid and her personality through our official social media accounts.
How important do you think social media is for a company, especially restaurants?
I think social media is important for companies because it’s a great way to interact with customers as well as get new customers, and hear feedback about your company and the things you’re doing. For a restaurant it’s a great way to share information about what is going on – such as new menu items and special events – and having other people (your followers) promote it too.
How do you deal with questions/concerns/complaints via social media? Do you ever fear being too accessible?
We deal with questions/concerns/complaints on social media the same way we would if we heard the complaint at the restaurant. We respond in a timely manner and if there is anything that needs to be resolved, we resolve it as well as answer any question asked to us.
I don’t fear we are being too accessible. We’re a laid-back, fun and casual restaurant environment and we’re not too stuffy to hear what our customers have to say. It’s fun and it gets people excited about the restaurant.
If you’d like to have your small business profiled, please shoot me an email with your name and website!