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There are things that stick with you forever…certain people, different quotes, or maybe great conversations. At some point, there are memories that really hit home and stick with you through your life. One of the best memories I took from college was from my Marketing 101 professor. I will never forget it. There were about 18 of us in his class and it was second semester freshman year. The topic we were discussing was building a brand and marketing that brand. He told us that in four or so years each one of us will be responsible for marketing our brand. We have four years to build it. The better you build your brand, the easier it will be to market. He really honed in on taking advantage of different opportunities on campus and also participating in as many internships or co-ops as possible. He told us that this was our warning; that four years will go by like that (as he snapped his fingers) and before you know it we would be graduating and searching for a job. He told us that the boat was moving and either you are in the boat or you’re out. If you’re in, you have a strong chance of beating the storms but if you are out, you will drown and you’ll have no way of replaying time. Powerful, huh? I mean here I was, a freshman and this guy is telling me that I need to do this and do that and the boat is pulling away and I better get in or I am going to basically fail. Well, I have kept that with me throughout my career and it has helped mold me into the professional I am today.

There are many things I can compare to that conversation I had with my Marketing professor that day. The world changes day by day. Opportunities are presented and we all either pass up on them or we take advantage. Some opportunities work out while others…not so much. I really want to share an opportunity I was pressing for a customer of ours to take advantage of. It took a while but finally our customer came on board and it has paid dividends.

Social media is an interesting topic. It has changed the world for sure. It’s very black and white; you have people that love it and people that just can’t stand it; some people say it has changed the world for the better while others say it has changed the world for the worse. No matter what side of the fence you are on, I think we can all agree that social media has changed the world!  As mentioned in one of our previous blogs, back in 2014 we created an awesome service for the restaurant industry. Part of that service is to provide the outsourced handling of social media needs. The restaurant industry is a fast-moving, busy industry. For many restaurants owners, finding time to post on social media is at the bottom of their “to do” list. Some restaurants assign internal staff to handle social media…sometimes it works, while other times it ends up being a disaster. My personal thoughts are that if you have a great restaurant with a cool story to tell, why wouldn’t you take advantage of social media? The whole world tunes into it and if social media users can’t find you, you may become irrelevant pretty quickly.

One of the restaurants we work with struggled with this concept. They did not believe that social media would make a difference. Why post something just for the sake of posting it? Everyone knows where we are and when we are open. (I often get this pushback when discussing social media with restaurant owners/manager.) One of the struggles this particular restaurant owner had was finding a way to increase week-day business. The restaurant is pretty busy on Fridays and Saturdays; Monday through Thursday however…crickets. After going back and forth for quite some time with the owner, he finally allowed us to take over his social media presence. Through creative writing and really learning about the restaurant’s message, we were able to create a strong following on Facebook and Twitter. The Monday through Thursday business picked up and they went from having 4-6 reservations on a week night to 16-20 on a given week night! The coolest part about all of this was that the restaurant owner pulled me aside and thanked me. He said “I am glad you pushed because this social media stuff is working!”

I don’t have a crystal ball but if you are not taking advantage of social media you are missing the boat! Check out some of the powerful social media stats. If you have a strong brand why wouldn’t you market it to your audience? According to fastcompany.com, check this out:

  • The fastest growing demographic on Twitter is the 55–64 year age bracket. (I struggle when restaurant owners/managers tell me that the population of restaurant goers is older! Clearly the more seasoned population IS getting their social media fix.)
  • 93% of marketers use social media for business (if you fall in the 7% you may want to re-consider)
  • 189 million Facebook’s users are "mobile only (This is great news if you are a restaurant owner. What do people do when deciding on where to eat? They look at their phone!)

These are three quick stats that should force you to get on the boat today! The boat is moving and social media has caught on. It’s for real! Restaurant owners are busy with all kinds of other tasks that require them to run a business. Outsource your social media today and have peace of mind knowing that your brand is being marketed to your specific audience!

By the way, after that conversation with my professor, I wasted zero time. I set up an appointment with my career advisor on campus and participated in four years of internships. To this day, the sole reason for my early career success is because of that conversation. I didn’t let time pass. I took advantage of what everyone else had the ability to take advantage of. The difference was, I was all in and “on the boat”. Everyone has the same opportunities; it the ones who take advantage and do everything they can  who end up successful. 

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