Revisiting Foursquare as a way to market your restaurant.
We dug into Foursquare just over two years ago and given one significant recent update for businesses, it’s worth it to revisit the app, which has always offered up simple ways to connect with people who are connecting with you. Let’s start with the basics and then talk a little bit about their recent addition.
The CEO, Dennis Crowley, was just at SXSW (South by Southwest) 2013 and said that the app isn’t about checking in, which is where it started (check in, get points, beat your friends). Now he says it’s evolved to become about finding recommendations and search. And, indeed, with over 54 million locations in the database, it can be a useful place to grab a recommendation for anything from coffee to campgrounds.
Instagram is our top pick for restaurant social media tools to master in 2013.
One of my most favorite web memes is a picture of a distraught looking hipster on the phone and a caption that reads, “Instagram is down. Just describe your lunch to me.” Instagram taps into a base need that social media has exposed in many of us: our desire to show off the beautiful food we’ve prepared or are about to eat.
While it may drive some people insane (I have a favorite rant that appeared on the topic in McSweeney’s called “An Open Letter to People Who Take Pictures of Food With Instagram”), the very fact that food porn takes up such a huge portion of social media signals great opportunity for restaurant owners.
When I talked about Instagram in this column last spring, the platform was mobile only. While you can’t (yet) upload photos from the web, the web profiles do make it much easier to browse and share content. You can follow, comment, like and edit photos on the web. If you already have a profile, you just need to type instagram.com/yourprofilename into your browser. If you don’t yet have a profile, I hope that I can convince you it’s worthy (and not overly time consuming) by the end of this piece.
A column that raises more questions than answers about bringing the power of technology and marketing to our local food economy.
If you’ve read this column for any period of time you’ll know that I love—and believe in—the transformational power of local food. In fact, the first several years that I wrote it, I only highlighted local purveyors and producers and the impact they were making in the market. This borderline obsession began with an adoration of local farmers’ markets, community gardens and CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture shares).
It was further enhanced by the forward-thinking farmer obsession I witnessed while working at Ristorante Luci and Luci Ancora. I fondly remember owner Al Smith waxing eloquent about the benefits of local beef and lamb long before such things were cool and still chase the elusive sunshine coloring of a crème brulee made with fresh eggs from Sandra Jean, a local farmer who brought local bounty into the restaurant on a regular basis.
There’s a whole host of topics that we wanted to do a quick catch up on this month, including the benefits of continually boosting your local presence, as well as the updates to Facebook’s Timeline feature.
Let’s start with Facebook, since as I write this they’re on the brink of an IPO and everyone’s in a veritable lather about their prospects and pricing (turns out it was an up-and-down day, with shares finally negotiated to a price that from which they started, at about $38. Facebook became a $104 billion company; founder Mark Zuckerberg retains 22 percent ownership. The stock today (June 19) hovers at about $32).
A picture’s worth a thousand words on Instagram and Pinterest, two visual social networks that are getting lots of buzz. But are they worth it for restaurants as a marketing tool?
Pinterest and Instagram (or as I’ve dubbed them Pinstagram) are my two new social media obsessions (which has meant, “So long Facebook!” at least for the now-term). Judging from the number of e-mails I’m getting that say so and so is now following you on Pinterest and the flood of photos that I see in my Instagram feed, I’ve got a whole bunch of good company.
Let’s start with Pinterest. The site launched its beta version in spring 2010 but really hit its hockey stick of an adoption curve this past year, growing to 10 million page views a month in no short order. It’s still in “invitation only” beta, meaning that you sign up and eagerly hit refresh until you receive an e-mail saying you’re in. That’s genius right from the get go.
In a nutshell, Pinterest is an online bulletin board that lets you share (or in the platform’s parlance, pin) visuals—images and links—that inspire you. As an example, I pin boards of stairways, ideas for my home, quotes and fun DIY projects. You can surf endlessly on the site by clicking “Everything” or you just look at, “like” and comment upon the pins of the people that you follow. (more…)
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