Social Media: Jump in…

I work with restaurants.  And small business, but primarily restaurants.  Some restaurant chains (+20 locations) but mostly I interact with 1 – 3 location businesses.  Average yearly revenues:  around $1 – $3 million, on average.

Most of these restaurant owners, for reasons well intentioned, are not sure they want to jump in with a blog or into ‘social media’ or ‘web 2.0′.  They aren’t quite sure what to do with a Facebook pages, nor are they quite sure what they think about them.  Whatever happened to the days where you just tried to run a good restaurant and you didn’t have to worr nor are they too keen on having a MySpace presence (that’s just not our demo). Restaurant owners tend to obsess over user reviews, namely, bad user reviews.

Forget about the bad user reviews, they’ll take care of themselves and washout. Pay attention to your business and start engaging online in a creative, “cool” manner. By cool I mean being more transparent, being more real, being more you! Be you. Do you!

Don’t tell me about your specials or sell me your happy hour. I want to hear what makes you tick, why your in the business, what is going on in the neighborhood, where you source your food and why, a bad or good experience from last nights dinner service.

And authentic responses to good and bad reviews posted! They mean something. Authentic yet yielding and professional, accommodating responses are critical, especially to good reviews.

Start to engage. Start to trust. Start to yield some of the control over to the social sphere that is your image, your story not quite under your control.

It will pay huge dividends to those who trust, and those who engage. Just be honest. Just be yourself. People see that, they sense it and they love it. Trust me. It works.