I just had a very interesting conversation with a marketing manager at a regional chain a few days ago. She was pretty savvy about restaurant marketing in general and loves the notion of connecting online with her guests. She is in love with social media. In fact, she admitted that she is addicted to TweetDeck and that little tone that bleeps every time a new message arrives. 

It's a neurotransmitter that some researchers have linked our cultural obsession with social media – iPhones, Facebook, Twitter and other social networks and devices – with the same neural synapses that trigger cravings in alcoholics and drug addicts. Psychologist Susan Weinschenk calls this “dopamine-induced loop”. 

We get off on this stuff! The danger here for branded social media marketers is in the amount of time it takes to manage a growing digital footprint and the "thrill" many marketers get from this endless effort. It may not necessarily be an obsession, yet. But, it can be a distraction and interfere with other responsibilities.

I have also met with a few senior managers (C-Level executives) that are frankly worried about the amount of time it takes to manage social media effectively. Moreover, what the appropriate skill-set is, now that we have taken the keys to our brands out of the hands of Interns (all due respect to Interns). These operators are becoming more accepting of the long-term value proposition that comes with building a more engaged and interactive relationship with their guests. But, at what cost?

Another marketing manager for a mid-size chain said "you will have to tear me away from my social media", like it's hers? She went on to say "...I sometimes spend 8-10 hours a day just hanging out online chatting."

So I wonder, even though social media management is a necessary part of marketing and communications these days, is this really the best use of a Marketing Managers time? Is this an escape? Is this a way to shirk responsibility? Arn't there other things to do?

I also don't think managing social media communications is the exclusive domain of the marketing department anyway. It's truly beneficial for all departments...but that's for another blog. What I do believe is that there needs to be balance. I believe that being connected is one thing but being the sole voice for social object publishing and interactive engagement comes with a price. And, it's not just about time-sink. It's also about perspective.

This perspective comes with acceptance that managing social media can and should be partnered. That, social media is part science and part art and there are real professional social media practitioners out there that can compliment the growing demands of managing an online presence.

I have seen owners, operators, marketers, chefs and managers spend far too much time off the floor, away from their "day jobs" searching dozens of sites, posting comments, extending conversations without clear social media objectives or any real way to measure success or empower their brand advocates, or justify their time. They are really, in many cases, amateurs in a professional social media world. It's akin to being a prep cook and not actually being on the line. You may be think you can do it, but until you work the line and experience [survive] the "rush", you are a still prepping for the "game".

However, there is a way to find balance and not be addicted to the Dopamine – the neurotransmitter that tugs at the brain, telling it to expect pleasure. Social Media Addicts find it harder and harder to stop looking at e-mail and the endless Tweet streams. They are constantly checking-in or looking to see if there is a new post, a new comment or a new text that includes them or their brand.  You may think you are in control, but how many times have you started with a simple post then end up engulfed in an hour-long social media monitoring and engagement session? I have!

There is a way to balance this with some help - social media practitioners that get social, get restaurants and get campaign creativity so you can GET on with your job.

A true Social Media Agency (SMA), is one that (1) possesses obvious technical abilities and capability, (2) has integrated and interactive media experience and is able to invent and implement online campaigns and measure their success online using social media tools, (3) is truly a social media maven with real world experience as a practitioner, mixing it up and engaging online with multiple brands, (4) has restaurant experience. This is critically important that a social media agency have domain (restaurant/foodservice) operations experience so they can relate to the flow of commentary and represent you well as a "brand advocate proxy". Engagement is communicating with guests and unless they can act as an "online foodserver" or "online manager", they are not qualified, (5) have experience with social web intelligence. Someone has to know how to interpret all the opinions and the social web data and disseminate this in a form that is useful and actionable. This SMA, your social media management superstar, will give you balance. They can provide back-up, back-haul, strategy, interpretation, scoring, reporting, analytics, campaign creation, social engagement, publishing, syndication, analysis and coaching without your needing to see a social media counselor for your social media addiction! 

Views: 324

Tags: FohBoh, FohBoh social media, Michael Atkinson, restaurant social media, social media addiction, social media management

Comment

You need to be a member of FohBoh to add comments!

Join FohBoh


Non-Operator
Comment by Jammie Mountz on December 14, 2011 at 9:44am

I mentioned this interesting "addiction" in my own recent blog post!

Comment by MaryLynn Workman on December 7, 2011 at 7:47am

Well said...This balance is what we all strive for!

Comment by Michael L. Atkinson on December 5, 2011 at 11:07am

Thanks. Balance is key to having perspective and clear perspective is what guides success in social media. We are what's called "ollin" and we have a very difficult time staying current. We are online, checking in at Christmas Tree Farms and feeling guilty forgetting to check in at the gym after 25 successful weeks do that. In 2012, things will only accelerate where social+local+mobile converge in real time.  

Happy Holidays!


Non-Operator
Comment by Jammie Mountz on November 30, 2011 at 6:46am

I definitely identified with the "social media addiction."  Here at work, we have to split it up between a group of people, so that no one of us is on twitter or facebook (or checking out blogs like these!) for the whole day.


Non-Operator
Comment by Dave Dronkers on November 23, 2011 at 11:12am

Michael,

Great points Michael.  We are all guilty of spending too much time in ongoing conversations.  We have to teach ourselves and our staff manage how to encourage dialogue but keep from being dominated by it.  Finding the balance is such a key to managing social media.  Thanks for sharing!

Comment by Jon Rock on November 23, 2011 at 7:29am

Great article, Michael! It's all about balance.

Advertisments

 

DEPARTMENTS

Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries

Smartbrief

Restaurants may feel the pinch of pricier coffee later this year

Prices for arabica coffee futures hit a 26-month high amid a drought in Brazil, which produces a third of the world's coffee  -More

McDonald's rules out all-day breakfast in push to simplify

McDonald's breakfast menu accounts for 25% of the chain's U.S.  -More

Easy ways to use 5 uncommon spring greens

As light, crisp greens arrive at farmers markets and grocery stores, chefs are finding creative ways to add them to spring me -More

JOBS & CAREERS

Posting a job or finding a job starts here at FohBoh. Call us about special $25 posting packages to syndicate across all major jobs boards.

National News

National Restaurant Association Offers Training DVDs on Harassment Prevention, Social Media Use, and Customer Service

The National Restaurant Association has released three new DVDs that offer best practices in dealing with harassment and discrimination, customer service training, and the first of its kind video guide on the use of social media.

Yum! Brands Reports First-Quarter EPS Growth of 24% Excluding Special Items

China Division System Sales Increased 17% with Operating Profit Growth of 80%; Yum! Reaffirms Full-Year Guidance of at Lea

Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes Certified As Nation's Largest 'Green' Restaurant Chain

National Group Salutes Country's Only Large Restaurant Group to be 'Certified Green Restaurants®'

National Restaurant Association and EatStreet Release Online Ordering Guide

The National Restaurant Association and EatStreet have released a free educational guide focusing on online ordering and emerging restaurant technology trends.

Boyd's Coffee Launches Single-Cup Coffees For Retail And Foodservice

The coffees come in a variety of roast levels and include organic and Rainforest Alliance Certified™ options: French No. 6®, Red Wagon® Organic Coffee, Good Morning™, Hi-Rev® (delivers more caffeine), and Lost Lake™ Decaf Organic Coffee.

CROWD FUNDING

If you are looking for capital to start or grow your restaurant, create the next 501c3, develop and launch the next app for the restaurant industry,or want to help your peers in some meaningful way, we want to know about it.

TED TALKS VIDEO

TED: Hamish Jolly: A shark-deterrent wetsuit (and it's not what you think) - Hamish Jolly (2013)

Hamish Jolly, an ocean swimmer in Australia, wanted a wetsuit that would deter a curious shark from mistaking him for a potential source of nourishment. (Which, statistically, is rare, but certainly a fate worth avoiding.) Working with a team of scientists, he and his friends came up with a fresh approach — not a shark cage, not a suit of chain-mail, but a sleek suit that taps our growing understanding of shark vision.

TED: Michel Laberge: How synchronized hammer strikes could generate nuclear fusion - Michel Laberge (2014)

Our energy future depends on nuclear fusion, says Michel Laberge. The plasma physicist runs a small company with a big idea for a new type of nuclear reactor that could produce clean, cheap energy. His secret recipe? High speeds, scorching temperatures and crushing pressure. In this hopeful talk, he explains how nuclear fusion might be just around the corner.

TED: Sarah Lewis: Embrace the near win - Sarah Lewis (2014)

At her first museum job, art historian Sarah Lewis noticed something important about an artist she was studying: Not every artwork was a total masterpiece. She asks us to consider the role of the almost-failure, the near win, in our own lives. In our pursuit of success and mastery, is it actually our near wins that push us forward?

TED: Matthew Carter: My life in typefaces - Matthew Carter (2014)

Pick up a book, magazine or screen, and more than likely you'll come across some typography designed by Matthew Carter. In this charming talk, the man behind typefaces such as Verdana, Georgia and Bell Centennial (designed just for phone books -- remember them?), takes us on a spin through a career focused on the very last pixel of each letter of a font.

© 2014   Created by FohBoh.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service