Why social media are not like health club memberships

Home Why social media are not like health club memberships

And why social media are more like restaurants

As I mentioned in my last post “Why being nice to your customers is not enoughâ€, I visited a trendsetting Italian restaurant near Leiden the other day. The restaurant was great; however it didn’t embrace social media yet. So I had a chat with the owner and told him how I could help him exploit the online opportunities. Then he explained me how he thought about it:

“Social media marketing is like sports, you have to make a start before you get into your rhythm. The first step is to sign a contract at a health club, for instance. But that’s not enough. You need to take action. Then slowly, you will turn it into a habit. And then you turn into an aficionada and may find yourself going there every single day.â€

And so he signed up for a Twitter-account.

And he created a Facebook-page. But after that, he simply continued with his day-to-day routine. So his social pages were like empty restaurants on a busy street.

Developing communities is not just going with the flow.

I wanted to change this guy’s perception. So I used the analogy in line with his business. The analogy of a restaurant start-up.

Most successful restaurants don’t come out of nowhere. It all starts with having a great concept. Then you develop a plan and you think of potential partners. You think up a fancy name and decide on your location. Is your atmosphere classy, trendy, or perhaps formal? That also sets the tone-of-voice you demand from your employees. And what your interior will look like. Step-by-step, you find your way. You created your platform. Throw a little party. And then get back to business.

Cause now is not the time to sit back and relax

The doors are opened. You don’t want an empty restaurant, right? Except from not making money, a restaurant with no guests results in a lot (I mean really a lot) of bad publicity. So what do you do? You work you butt of to get those guests in (without giving the impression of trying too hard). Once your guests are in, you make sure you over-deliver. So that they leave with their mind (and body) full of stuff worth sharing. So that when they come back, they’ll take their friends with them.

Yes, I know that this is common sense for you.

But still, most restaurants fail to comfort guests online

So imagine you’re a restaurant owner. Would you be open only occasionally, like only when the weather is good? Would you ignore guests if they want to give you compliments? I suppose not. Still, most restaurants fail to be there, where their guests are. They rather stick to the rare health club approach. And check in only once in a while. Like working out once in a while will get you toned-up.

And it’s not only restaurants making this seeming innocent, but harmful mistake. In every single branch, you see that sluggish health club approach. Even health clubs themselves embrace this approach in their online social activities.

It’s just a waste. The passion… the smart ideas… the hard work. All of this to build a strong brand. Missing one part of the plan — forgetting to finish it off — can ruin all your brilliance.

I’m not sure if ‘senor’ changed his thinking or behavior. But I’m sure you would want your social place filled with cool people and conversations. Just like a fancy restaurant. Make it your day-to-day routine. And start; really start, at day 1.