The Small Business Social Media Profiles is a series where BlogWorld talks with small businesses about how they’ve incorporated social media into their website, marketing, and promotion. We ask for their input and hopefully encourage you to further your social media reach!
This week we are talking with Southern Hospitality BBQ. With two locations in NYC, you’ll find everyone from Hollywood stars to locals, a menu of fine pulled pork sandwiches, baby back ribs, BBQ chicken, Southern fried catfish and many other southern favorites. You can follow them on Twitter and Facebook accounts. They also have photos and videos on their website.
When did you start integrating Twitter and Facebook into your business marketing and outreach?
We started in 2009 with Twitter and 2008 with Facebook
How did you begin promoting your account and encourage fans to follow you?
We began promoting the accounts in the restaurants. We offered free food or drinks for likes/follows. We also handed out business cards to customers and offered them discounts if they followed/liked us. In addition to that, we reached out to fans of BBQ, Beer, and Bourbon.
Do you run any contests, or specials, or have other interesting activities in place for social media?
We have two locations, so it varies depending on which location. We like to run sports themed trivia for our Upper East Side location. Sometimes we will run spontaneous contest. For instance, on Earth Day we tweeted a few articles about ED and a follower asked if we had a promotion if you wore green. In response, we created a special if you wore green or had something green on you (including money). It was a fun, quirky way to show the community that we are listening. We reach out to our community and offer them free appetizers, drinks, tickets to shows, gym memberships and much more. We also have foursquare and Facebook Deals specials. Currently, we are working on partnerships with a few NYC based tech startups.
Do you have a social media plan and/or policy in place?
Our social media plan is always evolving. Our short term plan is to increase engagement and incubate our community. Long term, we want to humanize our restaurants and make everybody feel like they are at home when they are at Southern Hospitality. We would like you to know your waiters and bartenders by their first name. We are also beginning to create partnerships with everybody from celebrities to small tech startups. We even had Charlie Sheen tweet about us last week.
Do you have social media goals for your business?
We are looking to expand our digital footprint. We are partnering with startups, bloggers, foodies, everyone we can. We would like to grow our online community, not only in size, but engagement as well. Size can be impressive, but we really want to engage with our customers, we want to find out how we can make ourselves better and what we can do to give our customers the best possible experience.
Do you have a dedicated employee for social media or do you all interact?
It is a mix. We have an employee dedicated to digital, but we love getting input from our managers, bartenders, waiters, everybody. They are the ones in the trenches every day, they know our customers best.
How important do you think social media is for a company, especially restaurants?
I believe it is very important. You now have the ability to get to know all of your customers. I try to make everybody who comes into our restaurants feel like they are a regular, wether it is their first time or their tenth time. Wether it is buying them a drink or reserving them a table, it’s that extra touch that makes people feel special, and now it is easier than ever. We also get feedback right away; we know if people had a great experience or a poor one, and we can act on it almost instantly.
How do you deal with questions/concerns/complaints via social media? Do you ever fear being too accessible?
We are 100% accessible. I ask every person who tweets that they are coming in to tell me how their experience was. I don’t care if it was good, bad, or ugly. I want to know the people who enjoyed themselves, but even more so I want to know when things don’t go right. I want to rectify the situation right away. We can’t be perfect, so getting all the feedback we can helps us improve our service.
If you’d like to have your small business profiled, please shoot me an email with your name and website!