Tag Archives: restaurant

Starbucks Introduces ‘Tweet-a-Coffee’ E-Gift Card

Are you an eGifter? Last week, Starbucks made it possible for customers to gift coffee with a simple tweet.  With the “tweet-a-coffee” program, now in beta, customers in the U.S. can sync their Starbucks account to Twitter and tweet a coffee to a friend on Twitter.

Starbucks eGift card on Twitter

How does it work?

  • customers sync their Starbucks account to their Twitter account
  • once synced, customers tweet @tweetacoffee with the Twitter handle of the gift recipient
  • the recipient gets a $5 digital eGift
  • the eGift can be redeemed at Starbucks via print, mobile, or the Starbucks mobile app

Starbucks is not new to eGifting; the platform launched back in 2011 and already includes Starbuck’s iPhone mobile app and Facebook, reports Fast Casual.

The brand promoted the recent expansion of eGifting to Twitter by offering a free$5 Starbucks Card e-gift for each of the first 100,000 customers to use the “tweet-a-coffee” program (by November 6th).

“What’s so exciting about extending our eGifting platform to Twitter is the open and real time nature of the platform,” said Adam Brotman, chief digital officer, Starbucks, said in a press release. “We love the possibilities that the Twitter community can unlock to share acts of kindness with one another. Tweet-a-coffee is a key next step as we innovate our social digital gifting offering.”

3 Tips To Get The Most Out Of Foursquare For Your Business

Social media and the tech world in general are experiential in nature — meaning that the more you use them, the better your understanding.  In a world where it seems that anyone born after 1993 has hard-wired WordPress proficiency and sixteen year old “digital natives” have 150,000 Instagram followers, this presents an issue for some business owners who could benefit most from a strong social media presence.

Here are some ways that a business owner can improve their presence on Foursquare and other social media:

1. Immersion

Throw yourself into the social media platforms you’re using to interact with customers and build your brand.  This way you can get a hands-on feel for how your customers will interact with the platform.

Foursquare customersFor example, I had never used Foursquare before when I realized that my restaurant had over 300 check-ins in the space of three months.  I quickly claimed my business and got a personal Foursquare account.  With my personal account I’ve been aggressively checking into as many places as I can think of, and in doing so have come to understand how users interact with the platform (by being one!) and what makes a business page pop.

Without thrusting yourself into the game-like world of apps (such as Foursquare), it’s easy to write them off or misunderstand how or why users would use them to engage with businesses.  By becoming a user, you get an inside look on how or why a guest would check in to your business or find you through an app.

2. Entice Customers With Great Specials

Immersing myself in the platform as a user has allowed me to craft eye-catching specials that actually pique users’ interest — rather than flat, uninvolved content that doesn’t take into account the various ways in which users can stumble upon your page and unlock its specials.  For example, I realized (by doing it myself) that when you check into a local bar or event venue, Foursquare will often recommend a nearby eating place to go to afterward, particularly if there’s a special.

Recognizing the proliferation of bars and live music venues in the area, I chose to offer a “drunk food” special of sorts, a free order of our Salchipapas (waffle fries smothered in toppings – the Colombian answer to poutine!) on a guest’s first visit.  Business owners can put whatever stipulations they like on a special; in this case guests had to buy a drink and sandwich in order to redeem the free item.

My staff (and I) have been instructed to ask guests who redeem the special upon check-in whether they stumbled upon it – while checking in or browsing Foursquare – or if they were already planning on coming.

Foursquare Newbie Special

Out of 62 redemptions between May 6th (date of inception) and June 15th, around 75% of them said that they had never been to the restaurant before and were not planning on coming until they saw the special.

Since my cost on an order of salchipapas is around $1, I essentially bought 45 brand new customers for only $45.  Considering that all of them brought at least one friend and purchased at least the minimum requirement, this seems like a good bargain to me.  The ones who didn’t come exclusively for the special were not a complete wash either – a free dish only adds to the experiences of regular guests or those who just happen upon the special – and since they had to order a full meal besides, I didn’t lose much off the bottom line.

3. Make Your Content Pop

I find that often in digital marketing, especially for small local businesses, traditional marketing and advertising ideals are thrown to the wind. Specials like the ones detailed above are a cool, fun, way of adding content to your page, even if the users don’t come in!  But put some thought into it – simply adding a special like “Free bag of chips” is not enough to “hook” savvy potential customers.  The content of your specials (or advertisements in the case of Facebook) should be catchy and provide a point of interaction between the users and your brand.

Foursquare Loyalty SpecialThis is a tremendous – and free! –  opportunity to showcase your brand’s personality and make the experience of finding and redeeming the specials a fun and interactive one.  I use the wit and humor of our brand in conjunction with questions and imperatives (“Hey, you’re kinda cute. Come here often? How about we buy you this beer (or soda) to show you how much we care?”) to get the most out of specials and make sure they show up on peoples’ radars.

Like a good gardener, it’s important to curate and maintain the content on your page (not just your specials).  This can be difficult – as much of your brand’s Foursquare content is user-created – but as with other platforms, you want to make sure your Foursquare presence “shines” and provides a fun, exciting, and useful place for users to interact.  Making sure there are photos that reflect both your product and brand identity is a definite, as is making sure all information on the business is correct.

In addition to clever specials, a good byline that sums up what you are is key, since users will almost certainly be viewing the page from a mobile device and it’s important that they get the gist of what you offer.

A well-curated page leads to more redemptions of specials, which leads to satisfied customers and better ratings.  Our rating at Los Perros Locos has gone up one full point, from 7.6 to 8.6, since I started paying attention to the page and specials.

By utilizing platforms such as Foursquare solely from the vantage point of a business, it’s possible to miss many of the nuances of the platforms and how to get the most out of them. With the proliferation of new social media platforms, what are some ways you can boost your business’ visibility and presence online and on mobile apps?

How Can Small Businesses Best Use Hashtags?

Hashtags for Small BusinessThis is a guest post by Megan Totka, Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com.

Hashtags are a cornerstone of social media. First utilized on Twitter in 2007 as a means of organizing tweets, hashtags have come to represent anything from the pulse of pop culture to the completely irreverent. With sites such as Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr further breeding the concept of “tagging,” and Facebook creeping closer towards utilizing hashtags themselves, it’s clear that tags are here to stay. In addition, the influx of mobile users today only adds to the popularity of the modern hashtag.

Internet marketers and big brands have been jumping on the bandwagon in order to leverage hashtags in their own marketing efforts. We’ve seen a huge influx of big brands using hashtags to create buzz or push a new product. It was difficult to get through a single commercial during this year’s Superbowl without some sort of corresponding tag for each ad.

Hashtags are challenging for marketers due to their seemingly random and spur-of-the moment nature, short lifespan and difficulty to control, and small businesses in particular face challenges when it comes to hashtags. How are SMBs to compete with big business when it comes to leveraging tags? Where’s the money? Are hashtags more trouble than they’re worth? It’s important to step carefully, but hashtags have certainly their place for small businesses looking to create a buzz.

What Are #BigBrands Doing?

Let’s first focus on what big businesses are doing. Today’s biggest brands are attaching a hashtag to just about every product launch. Movie trailers, fast food, you name it; if it’s out there, it has a tag. Hashtags provide a way for brands to gauge interest in what they’re pushing and examine the buzz accordingly.

An effective ad or commercial combined with an equally memorable hashtag can spark a sensation. Consider KFC’s recent “I Ate The Bones” (#iatethebones) promotion. The catchphrase has been used in their latest commercial campaign alongside the hashtag. In conjunction with a contest on their website, users are invited to submit their own photos and videos reacting to the campaign on Twitter through Vine and Instragram, coupled with the #iatethebones tag. The concept here is rather simple; KFC wants users to talk about the promotion, the commercials and also enter the contest. Through hashtags, they get the best of all three worlds.

Is the campaign a success? Difficult to say. True, users are utilizing the hashtag. With an estimated 1 in 100 tweets actually corresponding to KFC’s contest, however, it could be argued that a large chunk of the hashtag’s usage is white noise. This begs the question: if a hashtag is being used beyond its intended purpose, is it still good “press?”

The challenge for small businesses becomes clear when we look at how big brands use hashtags. Hashtags are not always easy to measure in terms of effective engagement. Tags are often short-lived, and a hashtag’s “owner” has almost no control over how it’s utilized.

Meeting the Hashtag Head On: Tips for the #SmallBiz

Find and Leverage Relevant Hashtags

Let’s consider a timely cost-effective approach for small businesses to handle hashtags. A brand could take advantage of a popular tag by either creating or finding a piece of unique content to correspond with that tag. For example, a business looking to take advantage of an #EarthDay tag could tweet a blog post concerning green office supplies or an equally topical article. An art-savvy business could examine similar tags to take pictures of their office or city’s skyline to correspond with a photograph tag on Tumblr or Instragram.

Attaching content to tags can quickly backfire if users feel that the content is overally promotional or even spammy, but if a marketer stays focused on relevant tags and provides meaningful content, it can quicly connect your business to new audiences. Tip: pay attention to the hashtags your customers are using and see if you find a pattern. Commonly used tags amongst your followers may represent opportunities for new content and engagement.

Hashtags? Newsjacking? Hashjacking?

A second approach, which requires a bit more attention to detail, is a modified form of newsjacking. Also known as “hashjacking,” businesses may look at trending topics and topical hashtags and then insert their own content or commentary depending on what’s being talked about. This is an effective way to get some short-term attention or buzz, although it may not represent the long-term engagement that most brands are searching for when it comes to small business social media. Again, the risk is that you insert yourself in a conversation in a way that feels spammy, or even entirely inappropriate–you don’t want to land on next year’s list of social media fails.  Make sure you first take the time to understand what a given hashtag conversation is about before you attach your brand and content to it.

The #BottomLine

Regardless of their viability for smaller brands, hashtags are here to stay. It’s important for small businesses to keep tagging it mind when it comes to their posts and potential engagement opportunities through social media.  As the social sphere continues to change, tags will continue to be part of the mix.

What’s your tagging strategy?

About the Author

Megan TotkaMegan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

70% of Active Users Are Connected to a Local Business on Facebook

Social media has leveled the playing field for marketers at businesses of all size to connect directly with customers. And small, local businesses are seeing the benefits.

Local Business on social media: Los Perros Locos has built an active community on Facebook

According to Dan Levy, Director of Small Business at Facebook, there are now more than 2 billion connections between local businesses and people on the platform. The scale of the network that local businesses have built is astounding:

  • Approximately 70% of monthly active users in the U.S. and Canada are connected to a local business on Facebook.
  • In an average week, there are over 645 million views of, and 13 million comments on, local business Facebook Pages.
  • There are more than 2 billion connections between local businesses and people.

Levy shares a number of examples of how local businesses have leveraged Facebook to grow their business, including Dixon, Illinois-based  Distinctive Gardens, which saw a 40% increase in revenue from peak season sales based on Facebook promotions.  He also invites other local businesses to share their stories with Facebook using this link: Submit Your Story.

According to Alex Mitow, owner of New York City-based Colombian fast food restaurant Los Perros Locos, “the impact of social media and other online platforms with a social media component impresses me constantly. Something like 70% of my customers were driven through the doors of my brick and mortar store by what they had seen online.” Mitow maintains a strong presence on Facebook, where he amassed more than 3,000 followers before his restaurant even opened, a blog, a Twitter account, and has a growing community on Instagram.

Are you connected to local businesses on Facebook? Do you think it’s worth the time and effort for a busy local entrepreneur to invest in the platform?

Wendy’s Hashtag Campaign: Tweet #twEATfor1K To Win $1,000

To promote its new Flatbread Grilled Chicken sandwich, Wendy’s is engaging consumers with an interactive mobile and social campaign, as well as advertising on Twitter.

Taking advantage of the “popular food spotting trend,” Wendy’s customers are encouraged to tweet a photo of the Flatbread Grilled Chicken sandwich to @Wendys with hashtag #twEATfor1K. Each day a customer tweets a pic of the sandwich with the hashtag, they are eligible to win $1,000.

The promotion began April 2nd and lasts for 42 days. “For every sandwich photo tweeted with #twEATfor1K, customers increase their chances of winning $1,000,” says Denny Lynch, senior vice president of communications at Wendy’s International (Mobile Marketer).

Consumers can also learn more about the company’s new sandwiches, and browse the latest tweets to see other pictures and entries as part of the mobile and social campaign.  With a daily $1,000 prize as an incentive, Wendy’s is sure to see some solid engagement from consumers.

 Wendys Twitter campaign

Denny’s Uses Mobile, QR Codes To Reach ‘The Hobbit’ Fans

Denny's QR Code Campaign Featuring Exclusive Content for 'The Hobbit'Denny’s latest campaign uses QR codes to provide fans with exclusive content from Warner Bros. Pictures upcoming film “The Hobbit.”  Before the film’s official release on December 14, Denny’s is promoting new “Hobbit-themed” menu items and enabling mobile users to access exclusive video, online games and other content via QR codes on placemat menus.

“Mobile is a channel we will increasingly support moving forward,” John Dillon, vice president of marketing at Denny’s, Spartanburg, SC told Mobile Commerce Daily.  The brand introduced its first mobile app earlier this year and has already used QR codes in-store to bring consumers to Denny’s home page and Facebook pages.  For this campaign, “..some of the more exclusive pieces are unlocked in-store only, so mobile platforms play a critical role in delivering the Hobbit-themed content.”

Denny's new Hobbit-themed menu itemsEleven new “Hobbit-themed” menu items are available starting today, including the “Hobbit Hole Breakfast,” “Gandalf’s Gobble Melt,” and “Build Your Own Hobbit Slam.”  Customers purchasing Hobbit-themed entrees will receive a card pack featuring exclusive collectible trading cards designed around the film — and Denny’s coupons.

Any customer at Denny’s can also scan any of the four QR codes found on placemats. The codes link to an exclusive video, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” online games, and a behind-the-scenes look at a new national TV spot.

The fast-food restaurant chain is clearly trying to appeal to a younger audience with this promotion:  “Our Hobbit campaign and accompanying QR codes allow us to give access to a much more robust array of content and really give our guests a new layer of the brand experience. QR codes are especially relevant in interacting with the next generation of Denny’s guests, specifically the younger demographic where social media and the mobile experience is an important part of their everyday lives,” said Dillon.

Denny’s is also using traditional billboards, online banner ads, and a national TV spot to promote the new menu and the brand’s partnership with ‘The Hobbit.’

What do you think? Will the focus on a younger audience – using mobile technology – around a highly anticipated film release lead to greater engagement for Denny’s?

Follow @MellowMushroom Pizza on Twitter, And They’ll Follow You Back — In Real Life

Mellow Mushroom Mascots Follow You Back - In Real LifeFor those of you who still have power, here’s a quick distraction from Sandy updates: check out this hilarious (and weird) social media campaign from Mellow Mushroom Pizza.

“Follow us and we’ll follow you” is the tagline, supported by several videos of ridiculous mushroom-outfitted mascots ‘following’ around random people who have followed the brand on Twitter.  The premise: if you follow @mellowmushroom, the pizza chain may send its “scary-yet-smiley yellow mushroom mascot” to ‘follow’ you back – in real life (Huffington Post).

[tweet https://twitter.com/MellowMushroom/status/261532558804803584]

Here’s a compilation of Mellow Mushroom’s quirky video ads:

“The notion of being stalked…unsettles most of us on some level, allowing the campaign to successfully tread a fine line between goofy and edgy,” says AdWeek.  What do you think? Did it make you laugh – and wonder where the nearest Mellow Mushroom Pizza is?

P.F. Chang’s Twitter Advertising Results: 70% Engage Via Mobile Devices

Restaurant chain P.F. Chang’s spent $25,000 to advertise a Lunar New Year promotion this winter, and the results from mobile Twitter users were “staggering,” Jason Miller, digital content and community manager for P.F. Chang’s told The Wall Street Journal.

The brand displayed sponsored tweets promoting dining rewards to Twitter users searching for terms such as “Chinese New Year,” on their mobile phones or their personal computers.  In the first four days of the campaign, approximately 1 million people clicked through or engaged with the posts via retweet or reply; of those, roughly 70% did so from mobile devices.

As a result, P.F. Chang’s switched its entire ad spend to focus on Twitter mobile advertising, with results that the brand describes as “staggering.”  After some additional experimentation, Miller speculates that Twitter advertising works well for time-sensitive promotions, rather than broader awareness-building efforts.

It’s ease-of-use for mobile users has always been one of Twitter’s key strengths over other social networks.  Twitter introduced its mobile advertising products in February of this year.  By June, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo told an Economist conference audience that the company was making more money from mobile advertising than from ads displayed on desktop computers.  “(Twitter ads are) inherently suited to mobile because Tweets are suited for mobile. Even though we launched first on the web and only started to run on mobile a few months ago. It’s already been the case a couple weeks ago that mobile ad revenue in a day was greater than non mobile. Mobile revenue is already doing delightfully well,” he said.  Costolo also pointed out that mobile Twitter users are more active and engaged.

P.F. Chang’s has been using Twitter for quite a while, delighting customers by responding to Tweets from across the coast, and sponsoring Twitter parties, among other things.  The chain’s Twitter account currently has just under 45,000 followers.

Have you ever clicked on a Twitter mobile ad?

Wendy’s Uses Stealth Twitter Campaign To Introduce New Burger

Wendy's Uses @GirlBehindSix and Twitter Promotions To Launch New Burger

New Yorkers walking down 6th Avenue or riding the 6 subway line may have been baffled at first by recent mysterious ads for @GirlBehindSix, which described it as a “140-character game show.” But that simple promotion, plus a one-day Promoted Trend on Twitter, generated 33,000 followers for @GirlBehindSix, which was a front for the promotion of a new burger at the Wendy’s fast-food restaurant chain.

The Six referred to an open slot on Wendy’s menu, which was then filled by the new $2.99 W burger.

People who figured out that the “140-character game show” referred to Twitter flocked to the site, which at first didn’t show affiliation with Wendy’s. By following @GirlBehindSix, retweeting the contest rules or sending photos of “where a tasty #SIX is missing” they competed to win prizes such as a remote control helicopter, a La-Z-Boy recliner, a bobblehead of their own pet, a voice activated R2D2 or an espresso and cappuccino maker.

 @GirlBehindSix, Wendy's Stealth Twitter Campaign

According to a story on Mashable, the stealth ad campaign launched on October 6th, and the game show – managed by ad agency Kaplan Thaler Group — started on October 31st and concluded November 14th. Its goal was to offer as prizes things people wanted, but wouldn’t buy for themselves.

The game show’s draw was impressive. Its Klout score that went from zero to 72 and certainly outdid the 3,500 followers for Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, which spent far more money on TV advertising and a Twitter campaign that also provided prizes to build its followers.

When the promotion concluded last Monday, Wendy’s revealed its affiliation with @GirlBehindSix – and began the more difficult process of migrating its new followers over to its Wendy’s Twitter account, which has about 48,000 followers.

Is this campaign clever, or too complicated? Will Wendy’s be able to transfer a significant amount of @GirlBehindSix’s followers to the @Wendys account, and will ‘W’ burger sales get off to a strong start from the social media buzz?

Social Media ROI: Ads Provide a Big Return for KFC

KFC Social Media Presence Sees Real ROI KFC, the fried chicken restaurant franchise founded by Colonel Sanders, has fully embraced social media activity. And it’s paying big dividends. A study by Ogilvy found that consumers who were exposed exclusively to social media ads for KFC were seven times more likely to spend more than the average consumer.

However, this impressive statistic doesn’t come from a strict corporate focus on social media ROI.  Instead, Rick Maynard, manager of public relations at KFC, says the social media team isn’t required to prove a return on investment. Maynard said the company doesn’t spend much time trying to calculate the value of its 3.4 million fans on Facebook or nearly 44,000 followers on Twitter, but he believes the use of social media to cultivate relationships with customers “has a real business output.”

Rather than focusing on social media ROI, the goals of the corporate social media team – which is managed internally – are:

  • to connect and engage with KFC followers
  • cultivate relationships
  • respond to any inquiries
  • have some fun – ex. asking questions on the KFC Facebook page, like “There’s one piece of chicken left in the bucket. What do you do?”

KFC fans are more than willing to respond, and sometimes even initiate brand interaction. Maynard said the Colonel – who passed away quite some time ago – receives marriage proposals and has been invited to weddings. While he could not make those celebrations, of course, the company sent buckets of chicken for the reception. Fans also tweet photos to the company showing off their Colonel Sanders tattoos.

Product introductions from KFC always incorporate an element of social media, according to a recent post from SmartBlog on Restaurants.  That ranges from a $20,000 college scholarship contest on Twitter to the launch of KFC’s Double Down sandwich. Thousands of people commented about the sandwich launch on Facebook, others used Twitter to arrange group visits to restaurants to sample it, and dozens created YouTube videos of people trying the new sandwich.

KFC is clearly engaging fans through social media; is there any need for a deeper focus on ROI, or a way to measure that engagement?  Maynard said “It’s a very important customer-service element, and that’s enough for us.”  Do you agree?