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Catering, Food Handling and Awareness *OnTopic* Forum to educate us on safe food handling. Not specifically for Catering or competition but overall health and keeping our families safe too.


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Unread 01-05-2010, 04:40 AM   #1
tmcmaster
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Question Social Networking?

I know most of us are probably familiar with them, but what do you guys think about trying to use a site like LinkedIn.com, Twitter or Facebook for getting, keeping in touch with customers/clients?

Thanks, and the floor is yours...
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Unread 01-05-2010, 06:16 AM   #2
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I think it is a wise decision to use twitter and facebook for sure. Its free advertising. Anytime you have free its all good. AS well You tube can be used for business promotion. a good example of this is Jacks Barbecue . Taking ownership of your online presence makes sense financially. Your customer base at that point is limitless. You can update Twitter about your specials and it can link back to your website. Facebook fan pages are a great way to communicate menus hours of operation and ongoing programs. A caution though if you are using twitter making friends with all of your BBQ buddies is great and fine but you need to find the foodies in your area. Go after them search online for their blogs etc. Start by going to your local newspapers and find the food critics- follow them on twitter. They are the people that can create the buzz (hopefully featuring you for free) around you and get traffic driven to your site and business. Post frequently. At least a couple times of day but use it like you would any other business application keep it professional. (No politics etc)
Try to keep all of the names you are consistent. My Youtube account name and my twitter names are the same.
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Unread 01-05-2010, 06:42 AM   #3
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I think it would be foolish to not use them as a way to not only interact with your customer base and advertise your product/service...but be able to make relationships with others in the industry that can help you down the road...plus, IT'S ALL FREE...you just have to put in a little "sweat equity" to make it work!! These days, you can get in touch with ANYONE you want to...you just have to look a little!! :-)
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Unread 01-05-2010, 06:50 AM   #4
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I agree but I'm also always looking for what's next. I don't think Twitter and Facebook will still be the big deal in a couple years so I'm already looking for what will be next. I try to get on that next new bandwagon as early as possible. When everybody else shows up I want them to see that I'm already settled in.
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Unread 01-05-2010, 07:06 AM   #5
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If you are working on building a brand name/business the important thing to remember about social networking is that emphasis should be on networking and not social.
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Unread 01-05-2010, 10:34 AM   #6
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I think you need to be careful. There are people out there that mine the net for info. They are not customers. They want to steal your personal info, they want to know when you're house is empty. There's a fine line in what you put out and what you don't really want out there.

Example, I cook alone so Carol is at home so the house isn't empty but if you say you cook as a family and you'll be doing a contest and gone for 3 days a robber has info to break in. Now in my case I'm OK because Carol can use the 92FS better than I can shoot the Glock and she pretty good with the Remington Express as well. And of course 3 very noisy dogs.

Just read theru sites of members and tell mw how many houses are empty and when.

For business it needs to be pure business. I think I'll stick with just a website and more traditional advertising.
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Unread 01-05-2010, 11:17 AM   #7
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your thinking to much into it. facebook is useless to people you dont know( if you set it that way) you need to accept them as friends in order for them to see your info. if your info is being passed along by someone you are friends with then may i suggest new friends. facebook is a great way to pass info along without hoping every person (you have become familiar with due to bbq) just happens to go to your bbq website. burglars have a better chance of getting info from a public website then a site like facebook
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Unread 01-20-2010, 07:18 AM   #8
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I would like to offer some advice and personal experience with social networking, if I might. I am a Southern Carolina style barbecue caterer in Atlanta, GA. I have a website, but decided it wasn't enough for me to use as a promotional tool moving forward in 2010. I also wanted to take orders online and begin selling branded merchandise, sauce and meat online (I dry seal the meat and ship product all over the country).

Once I realized I needed more, I engaged a web design and Internet Marketing firm to handle producing a new and improved website for me (which I'm happy to say is currently in production) as well as take on the task of providing me with monthly Internet Marketing services.

Part of what they do for me is to manage my social media marketing. I have learned quickly that a custom built and actively managed account on Facebook and Twitter can do wonders for my business. I can publish my promotions, specials and new offerings to "the masses" with no out of pocket expense. We are in the process of doing a new Facebook promotion to garner new followers in the area that will help expand the base even more.

Being active on the Internet and in social mediums is not about "who can see info" about you that might be bad (reference pictures of cousin Eddie in a speedo in the Bahamas), it's about staying connected with your core audience. People begin almost everything they do online these days and it is smart business for me as a business owner to stay in touch and in tune with what they're doing.

Our Internet Marketing firm is even helping us to produce new videos of our facilities, our cooking process, how to cook our dry-sealed products, our events, etc in an effort to market to the masses and show them what the experience of doing business with us is all about. They help us get found in search engines regarding the posts we make on Twitter and Facebook (now that Google is indexing such posts).

I challenge that the Internet is not an evil thing to be scared of, rather it is a marketplace and avenue to grow and expand your business.

This is just my $.02 worth. I will keep you guys posted on our social media accounts and our new website so that you can see how we're doing things. Once everything is up and running, I'll post more.

Regards,

Robertson Howard
LowCountry Barbecue
"Atlanta's only Southern Carolina style barbecue caterer for over 25 years"
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