One Tough Clam - A Twitter Story

Let Your Customers Help Your Business

I often hear business owners say, “I’m fine without getting my business involved in social media platforms. I have no need or time for any of that.” You know what? They’re right. A business owner usually has no time for Facebook banter and daily tweeting; however, customers do see a need to talk about a business on Yelp, Facebook, Twitter and throughout the internet.

Choosing not to get involved in the conversation is similar to being at a party where everyone is discussing your business. You show up to the event in a vacuum in which you can only hear what people are saying but cannot respond to any of the feedback, positive or negative.

Imagine you own a top restaurant. Your establishment boasts glowing reviews on every online outlet, and customers love your business. But one busy Friday night your #1 Chef is on vacation. Tonight you must rely on the chef’s assistant, who is equally talented. But he is new to this, and in the heat of the rush, overcooks the clams (ever so slightly) for your restaurant's signature seafood dish.

Twitter For Business

A new customer has read great reviews on Yelp and Twitter about your restaurant and decides to celebrate his anniversary there tonight. The customer’s wife orders the signature seafood dish (with the overcooked clams). Before her husband even leaves the restaurant, this Gordon Ramsay-in-disguise decides to hop on his iPhone and share his negative experience with 15,000+ Twitter followers.

Without a Twitter presence for your restaurant, this disgruntled customer is now the sole voice for your business. Conversely, if you had a plan in place to monitor Twitter and respond to both positive and negative comments posted on the platform, you would be able to handle the situation better and lend your brand’s voice to the conversation. For example, you would be able offer to remedy the customer's disappointment with a gift certificate for a free appetizer if the customer would like to come back and try the restaurant when the head chef returns from vacation next week.

In one 140-character response, you have done the following: Told your customer that you hear him and that you care; Let him know his experience was unique (the head chef was on vacation); Offered publicly to remedy the situation (with a free appetizer, should the customer decide to return when the head chef is there).

Your customer now tells everyone how wonderful it was to receive a response directly from the restaurant, and he retracts his prior feelings. The customer even decides to praise your restaurant in a new public tweet, for paying attention to the customer and for being direct and honest about the situation. This public dialogue allows others on the Internet to realize this was just a fluke experience, successfully recovering your restaurant's image and highlighting additional positive aspects of your business.

The possibilities that a properly managed social media online presence can offer your business are endless. The ability to engage with your customers online in an environment where they are already discussing your business is now a necessity in order to have control of your restaurant’s brand and image. Between you and me, we all know it is sometimes the customer who is one tough clam. Having a plan in place to address the social media conversation will give you the peace of mind to focus on your business and not the online banter.

We will work with you to help you realize the potential behind using Facebook and Twitter and to understand how properly maintained review pages and map listings can help your specific business gain and maintain a competitive advantage over your competition.

You've probably asked yourself, "Does our company really need to use Facebook and Twitter?" In almost all cases, the answer is YES. When used properly, Facebook, Twitter and company review sites such as Yelp and Google Plus Local all have the potential to increase your customer base - exponentially.

Having a website that you can feel comfortable sending your customers to is a start. Being able to respond and engage your customers online in an environment where they are already discussing your business is going to separate you from the competition.

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