Posted by Dawn Marie Bailey
Note: Although this blog doesn’t really have anything to do with the Fourth of July holiday, the burger image made us think of cookouts and barbeques. So we wanted to take a quick moment to wish you all a very happy Fourth of July!
Picture in your mind the classic Texas burger–juicy, mouth-watering, topped with the perfect fixings (apologies to vegetarians).
Now assume that your key products are hamburgers, and that a picture of the perfect burger is used consistently in your social media activities. It’s simple. It’s attractive to us carnivores. It allows for customers to contribute (they can post real photos; no need to enlist a professional studio). It’s an opportunity to show your product in a great light. And suddenly you have a social media theme–an image and its description. You also have us bloggers and others hungry and looking for the nearest Mighty Fine restaurant.
In a Quest for Excellence© presentation, K&N Management Owner Ken Schiller said, “What’s interesting to me [in regards to social media] is how interested our customers are with engaging with the brand.” K&N Management, a 2010 Baldrige Award recipient, is the licensed Austin,Texas-area developer for Rudy’s “Country Store” & Bar-B-Q and the creator of Mighty Fine Burgers, Fries and Shakes, two fast-casual restaurant concepts.
Schiller said as an owner, he doesn’t personally have a lot of time for social media, but “it doesn’t mean it’s not important to me because it’s important to our customers. The menu is not designed around my personal preferences, it’s designed around what our customers desire. . . . Social media is no different. The bottom-line where the rubber meets the road for me and also for you is that it can impact our results and our profitability.”
K&N Human Resources and Brand Director Allyson Young explained the top reasons that organizations should build social media strategies:
- People do business on the road; Web sites are being more aligned with mobile applications.
- 50% of the world’s population is under 30 years old. If you are under 30, you grew up on the Internet, texting and using mobile devices.
- Each minute, 2 million queries are searched on Google.
- 25% of Facebook users access their pages 5 times or more each day.
- 175 million messages are tweeted each day.
- 50% of subscribers use Twitter to recommend products.
- 80% of social media users connect to their preferred brands on Facebook.
- Social media gives a consumer instant access to products and brands.
K&N uses social media for three purposes: create brand interest, listen, and build relationships. Young said in creation of interest it’s important to align messages across all channels, so, for example, the same message is on Twitter and Facebook, and the same photo is used to promote a product.
The 2013–2014 Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence have a focus on mastering social media to (1) reach customers and potential customers, (2) connect employees with each other and organizational leaders, (3) coordinate with suppliers and partners, and (4) gather data and perform research.
So how does an organization get started with a social media strategy? Young outlined the basic steps: build a social media team, benchmark, develop internal and external messaging, decide how you will measure/monitor social media activities, identify your audience (e.g., the majority of Pinterest users are female), have a human voice, and know your platform.
Some other tips from Young:
- Know how often to post. People don’t want you to clog up their inbox or Facebook page. Post something relevant about every other day. Anything more becomes a distraction/annoyance.
- Measure your reach; consider tools like HootSuite and Sprout Social.
- Create a process for promotions. For example, K&N gave away T-shirts to customers who provided feedback.
- Make sure everyone who needs to know is prepared to answer questions–and this includes the people on the frontline.
- The best time to post is 8 am.
- Train your employees on the appropriate use of social media when talking to guests, and monitor what customers are saying.
- Be polite. Send a thank you privately for each great review. Respond publicly to negative reviews; however, know when to respond, too. If a posting is incorrect, ask the poster to consider removing it, but consider that it may do more harm than good to respond if a person is angry and just looking for an audience, or if you are angry.
- Have a good social media policy in place that clearly outlines what can and can’t be shared.
Social media also can be used for great benefits within an organization. Young suggests using it to engage with, communicate with, recognize, and recruit/promote employees. It also can be used to share best practices, brag about team members, introduce new team members, and share great reviews (e.g., “because-of-me stories”). At K&N, Young said a university marketing student helps the organization stay current with social media tools.
Young and Schiller, who offer a learning session entitled “Cooking Up Excellence Using Baldrige Ingredients,” ended with this advice: “Have fun but use good judgment. Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want to show your mom.”
How does your organization’s social media strategy measure up? And can your organization be depicted in one clear image?