In my work as an internet marketing speaker and trainer, I get to meet owners of businesses large and small, and even get to meet and work with the occasional celebrity client. I interviewed Chef Keegan Gerhard, who you might know as one of the judges of The Food Network Challenge, for my latest book Thumbonomics. Gerhard is also a chef at one of my favorite local Denver restaurants, the awe inspiring D-Bar Desserts. (Their slogan – “Changing the world, one slice of cake at a time” – gotta love it!)
He expressed his frustration with social media: “We don’t know how to differentiate Keegan the person, Keegan the TV personality, and D-Bar the restaurant. I was randomly posting on Facebook or answering questions, or tweeting the new schedules or whatever I liked, but it wasn’t really effective.”
This randomness is a common problem for any business owner, whether celebrity or not. Setting up social media profiles and starting to post on them is not enough. Gerhard hits the nail on the head as he goes on to add, “We needed some direction, some focus, to have it all integrated in a way that I can get onto everything.”
Indeed, having a plan that includes your goals is very important; otherwise you are just shooting in the dark, hoping one of your tweets or posts hits a bullseye. Gerhard was quite surprised to find out how relevant social media is to a large amount of people.
He explained, “I didn’t realize people do care about my opinion. Why do they care what I think about produce, or fruit, or menus, or seasons? Or how hard it is to really be green, or be a truly sustainable restaurant in Denver? There are people who are trying to get a restaurant going; people who aren’t on our level yet. I’ve discovered that posting our experience and our challenges helps them; it’s important to them.”
This addresses a valid and vital point, one that I think many business owners and marketers miss completely. Social media, at its best, is not just about being social and not just about marketing, but about creating real connections and helping others through those connections.
This is something any business can offer. You are the experts in what you do and there are people looking for your input, your voice, your expertise.
Says Gerhard, “I think the point of social media—yeah, it’s entertainment, yeah it’s connection, but beyond that—it’s business networking at its highest level. If you post your problem or concern on Facebook—20 people answer right back with their solution from their experience.
I want to both contribute to that and to grow from that. People care, so there needs to be some responsibility in how you present yourself, because you can’t win people back that you’ve offended. The people you have driven away—it’s very, very difficult to get them back.”
I asked Gerhard to sum up the interview with the main thing he’d like to tell other business owners and entrepreneurs about social media. His responses were pretty savvy.
“Social media is a way to present yourself to the world very inexpensively. You’re given the social media tools to craft your image the way you want, and share it with the world. How could you do that in the past without spending tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars?”
In Keegan Gerhard’s case, he decided to hire an agency – The Findability Group – to assist him in developing a focused and targeted social media plan to meet his needs and his fans’ needs as well.
If you’d like more information about how to make social media marketing a piece of cake, please contact my office today.
Internet Marketing Speaker, Author and Consultant