After our 30-day social media experiment, we recently pushed Big Papa's BBQ out of the nest. The two-week period at the end of December was the perfect time to see whether the company's social media wings had developed. We had a well-established rhythm for communications each day that it could follow. With fewer people engaged online over the holidays, we knew it'd be okay to slow the messaging pace. For two weeks, we watched to see what the Big Papa's BBQ management team had learned. Here's what we noticed and what we're stepping in to coach them on.
For these social media newbies, the computer and the technology we set them up to use (Facebook, Twitter, HootSuite) became a barrier to having a natural conversation. It's almost as if they were thinking and talking as though a machine were on the other side of the conversation -- not another human.
It's been just over 30 days since we began our Social Media Challenge for Big Papa's BBQ in Denver. Turns out, "challenge" was the perfect word for it. There was no online barbecue conversation to speak of in this city when we started. There were no followers for Big Papa's. They had no brand, voice or marketing plan. The winter was bearing down -- hardly BBQ season. And as for Big Papa's experience in social media? Nonexistent.
But, in Denver's Best BBQ Battle -- the social media campaign LeeReedy/Xylem Digital created, we've built a brand, a following and, most importantly for those who doubt social media's value, an increase in revenue for the restaurant.
We've settled into a social media rhythm for Big Papa's BBQ in Denver for our Social Media Challenge -- the live test case we're using to illustrate the power of social media to drive conversation, influence and sales. As we increase the online activity, we also want to use their restaurants and employees to help us get the word out. After all, their restaurants are their most important venue and their employees are their most vocal evangelists.
As a brick-and-mortar establishment, the company has every digital marketer's dream: direct contact with people who love what the brand offers, want to be in its social circle online, and will more than likely tell friends about the place if given something worthwhile to share.
For the past three weeks, we've been experimenting with dozens of social media ideas for Big Papa's BBQ in Denver. This "test and see" approach has led us to a comfortable spot. We're now able to zero in on the concepts that get talked about, passed around and acted upon most often - ensuring maximum return on our time investment.
With any social-media effort, it's important to reach a point where your action and reaction are regimented and in balance with one another. This way, you can plan social media as part of your day. We believe this balance occurs when 75% of your time is spent sending out messages and 25% of your time is spent engaging in actual conversation around them. It can change by day, but this is a good average.
Below is a day in the life of social media for Big Papa's BBQ, three weeks into the campaign. With the experimentation phase out of the way, we're beginning to hand over bits and pieces from our agency, LeeReedy/Xylem Digital, to the business owners.
During our first 30 days of social media for Denver's Big Papa's BBQ, we're concentrating heavily on gathering a large number of captive listeners on three venues -- email subscribers, Facebook fans and Twitter followers.
By dangling an exclusive event we're calling the Super Secret Supper Society in front of our audience, our intent is to grow our email list. People can learn the details of this "exclusive evening of beers and bones" only if they sign up as an email subscriber on Facebook.
To let people know about the secret event, we're promoting it with an in-store flyer, employees are telling customers, we're listening for online conversations we can jump in on, and we're dropping hints within online forums.
Blame it on the cold weather, but online conversations about barbecue in Denver are scarce right now. To heat it up, we're going where we know people who love barbecue are already gathered - to the Facebook pages of competing restaurants in town.
We created the concept of "Little Ribbin," commenting on these pages in a good-natured, competitive way and enticing these restaurants, along with their fans, into a "Baby Back Throwdown." Barbecuing is a competitive sport, after all.
With our comments, we invite people to come to Big Papa's and say the code words "Baby Back Throwdown" to receive a free rib sampler to try. We want to prove we're the best "Q" in town. They also receive a coupon to entice them to stay for a full meal.
We just finished Week No. 2 of our Social Media Challenge, the live test case we're conducting to show how social media can drive conversation, influence and sales. This post will go down into the trenches of our four-part BBQ Battle campaign to promote Denver's Big Papa's BBQ, providing a closer look at our day-to-day social interaction and what we're learning from it.
With Big Papa Pop Up rib giveaways, we're searching for the locations, audiences and times of day that offer the biggest bang for the dollar. Who will talk about getting free ribs the most online to their friends after sampling them? We thought it'd be smart to start by impressing the press here in Denver -- with the intent of getting coverage and persuading their followers to become fans of Big Papa's BBQ on Facebook and Twitter and to visit the restaurant.
In our last post, we gave you a rundown of what we heard when we did our social listening for Big Papa's BBQ -- the live test case we're using to illustrate the power of social media to drive conversation, influence and sales. Today, we'll tell you about the campaign we're developing to capitalize on the gaps we uncovered.
Starting with a good product makes a marketer's job easier. Great BBQ has real power over people. Each part of our social-media campaign is designed to use social media to get the "Q" in more mouths -- by bringing the food to the people and the people to the food.
Barbecue is often a competitive sport. So we're starting a good-natured BBQ Battle in Denver -- seeking to show that Big Papa's has the best barbecue in the city -- and that it competes day-in and day-out to try to prove it. The hub of the online effort will be on Facebook.
In our last post, we taught you how to listen online to what's being said about your company, your products, your competitors and your industry. It's the first step in launching your own social media campaign. The intent of that exercise was to help you identify holes in the landscape that your brand can fill with its social media presence.
Did you find any? We did when we listened for Big Papa's BBQ -- the live test case we're using to illustrate the power of social media to you.
Here are three ways we were listening and how we assessed what we heard.
And so it begins. . . with a pop-up.
It was a chilly 38 degrees standing on the corner of Broadway and 9th in downtown Denver. A group of us huddled. Some of us had notebooks, some had cameras, some simply brought a bodacious appetite. Together we waited for the main event.
And then it happened. The sweet smell of barbeque flooded the air. Our cold noses met with the warm scent when the shiny Big Papa's BBQ smoker and support van finally rounded the corner -- with Big Papa himself pulling the smoker.
So what is this social media thing?
In normal conversations and relationships, people give tidbits of information to each other to strengthen the bond between them. In the context of social media, the same concept abounds -- online.
Companies adept at social-media marketing make their brands a relevant and valuable part of these trusted conversations. First amassing an audience, then moving them to action. And we're going to teach you how to do the same for your company -- as you watch us unleash the Social Media Challenge for Big Papa's BBQ over the next 30 days.
You may want to roll your eyes when someone asks, "What's your social media strategy?" It's become the business equivalent to "Hey, what's your sign?" Social media certainly may be meaningful for your business, but can it change the way a company performs?
Entrepreneur decided to put this question to the test. We asked the creative thinkers Denver digital marketing firm LeeReedy/Xylem Digital to help us take a local business, Big Papa's Barbeque, from zero social presence to big-time social network strategist. The biggest challenge? Zero budget.