Last night, the Jaggers Communications team was delighted to be present as friends of the firm walked away with awards they earned by converting to a paperless system, reducing waste, increasing recycling efforts and reducing energy consumption. It was a fine display of environmental stewardship and we were proud to be applauding fans of the effort.
Teri has been at the forefront of the whole effort. She’s professional, efficient, inspiring and enthusiastic. When I grow up, I want to be just like her.
We’re also so proud to be affiliated with, neighbors and friends of participating organizations including Rebecca’s Natural Food, Woodard Properties, Beer Run, Camp Holiday Trails, Center for Nonprofit Excellence, the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce, C’ville Coffee, Eppie’s, GreenBlue, Jean Theory:, and Relay Foods. Congratulations to all the winners and, indeed, to all the participants; this effort is just another reason we’re so proud to be part of the Charlottesville community.
I’m having breakfast at Beer Run today, something I do with frequency. It’s a best kept secret, in my book. (OK, I guess not so much now that I just blabbed it here.) I like the energy here, the quiet in the morning, the really good breakfast menu (build your own!), the ability to be here when deliveries of super special craft beers arrive and the always consistent wifi. It’s odd, I know, to work from, what is MOSTLY a bar, but in the morning, it’s the ideal location.
Because I’m a regular here at all times of day (*cough*) I’m greeted warmly and often with my beverage of choice (dictated, of course, by the time of day I arrive). Yes, I am drinking a cup of coffee right now. Since the staff knows what I do professionally, sometimes we talk business — either theirs or mine.
This morning we’re talking a bit about questions we ask online to engage our communities. Sometimes, you can post a status update or a question and it just takes off like wildfire. There are comments and “likes” galore and everyone has to chime in. Topic is key, but timing is an important element. You have to be on the right platform at the right time, i.e., when everyone else is there and eager to engage.
When the heck is that?!
It’s really different for every community. Case in point, I’m at a beer joint in the morning! The engaged community is present around 5pm, not now. Paying attention to the trends in your business, the footsteps, either literal or virtual, and when they increase and decrease is important. Reviewing the referring platforms that deliver fans to your doorstep and posting there — also important.
I’m ruminating on the best way to post a personal question across my social platforms and the best time to do so (it’s not business; it’s personal, so even trickier to figure out). So stay tuned, if you’re into that sort of thing, because in my world, personal and professional blur one to the other.
Revolutionary Soup is by far, the leader of the pack. Will’s Blog is featured as a main element of the restaurant’s website, with the passion and philosophy of restaurant owner Will Richey coming through loud and clear. The blog is not updated often but posts are thoughtful and have a single-minded purpose, sharing the process of bringing locally grown and nurtured food to the community. Three categories say it all: local, Rev Soup Farm and seasonal specials. I’m particularly impressed with Rev Soup’s website – a design that incorporates a page for reviews, suggested beer and wine pairings and daily or seasonal specials. (It’s no surprise when, upon investigating, I learn that the site was done by my very talented friend Michael Davis of Yellowfish.)
There’s some opportunity for the Corner account to improve its bio, add a photo, increase followers and friends — but assuming that the focus is primarily on the downtown location, I focused on Twitter.com/@RevSoup. I like the way the account is being used, with tempting descriptions of recipes and daily soup offerings, mixed with observations from Will like, “Marker drawing all over my fav cook book. Should have known the 2 year old was not as impressed with Tournedos Rossini as I.” This kind of tweet, and indeed, all the real interaction from Will and the staff on the social web humanizes the brand and builds its loyalty. One might argue that the soup and sandwiches do that on their own, but if you’ve never been to Rev Soup, you don’t know that, do you?
When there’s more to say than what will fit in a Tweet, the restaurant uses its Facebook page, a smart way to use the additional presence — and to share good content with nearly 500 fans.
The BBQ Exchange is off the beaten path out in Gordonsville and, if you’re not inclined to leave the city of Charlottesville, a destination brand designed to tempt you on a short road trip with delicious smoked pork and spicy fried pickles as a reward. Craig Hartman is using Twitter and Facebook to get the word out to a broader audience than those in the immediate vicinity, a smart strategy for a restaurant that also serves customers’ catering needs. The restaurant has integrated its tweets into the home page of the website as a way to keep the home base of the online presence fresh. You can follow BBQ Exchange on Twitter (not recommended for vegetarians as main topics include pork, bacon and pork. ) As proof, here’s a recent Tweetcloud from the account:
Last, but certainly not least is one of my personal favorites, Beer Run. While the operation’s website leaves a lot to be desired, and does nothing to point fans to its presence in social media, Beer Run’s Facebook page updates have driven me to tastings or special events on more than one occasion. It’s disappointing to see Beer Run’s Twitter account so underutilized – there are thousands of engaged Twitter users in our community and yet Beer Run is following only one other user. I challenge Beer Run to get connected to the Twitter community by following and engaging with them, tapping into the power there to promote events or to boost traffic when business is slow.
While this is merely a selection of restaurants using social media well in a couple of ways in the Charlottesville area, I’m sure there are more that are worth a mention. Let me know in the comments if there are any I should see.