Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Follow me on Twitter, find me on Facebook

The 411 on the most popular Social Media Channels and how the LRA has found a home, all over the web.

The domination of Social Media in the dialogue of marketing shows no signs of slowing. The restaurant industry is increasingly challenged with keeping pace with this growing trend and many have yet to take advantage of these free tools. In Louisiana, given the number of independent operators, few have the financial resources to hire social media firms to handle these various channels.
The LRA determined in 2010 that it needed to be much more active with its Social Media and launched its Twitter and Facebook pages. Currently, the LRA has more than 1,000 followers on Twitter and a growing Facebook fan base approaching 800 fans.
Every Friday, the LRA finds its new members and welcomes them with a post on Facebook. Prior to the post, the LRA’s Social Media Director seeks out new members to tag them in the post.
“There are still so many restaurants that have yet to join the online community,” said Erica Papillion, LRA Social Media Director. “With a few committed minutes a day, restaurants could expand their brand’s reach to potential customers.”

Also, when time permits Papillion systematically finds existing members to bring them into the conversation, which is driven by industry news, views and original content.  By far, the content with the most comments, likes and re-tweets is good news like chefs receiving recognition, signature items that have made national best-of lists and the Louisiana ProStart program happenings.
“My advice for restaurants would be to join Facebook and Twitter at least,” Papillion added. “With tools like HootSuite, which allows you to post to multiple accounts, you can schedule content like menu specials, promotions and events the restaurant plan to participate.” 
Recently, the LRA added other emerging social media channels like Linkedin, Youtube and Pinterest to the fold to attract attention to the Louisiana’s restaurant industry.
Linkedin, the world’s largest professional network, provides a view of industry professionals experience and connection to them. The LRA finds the best use of this channel is the newsfeed feature which with a few simple steps, captures articles of the day on topics like leadership, workforce and professional development, hospitality, food and beverage, marketing and advertising and many more.
Using what’s referred to as a Youtube channel, the LRA shares its video content. With testimonials from the LRA SIF Workers’Compensation members, the Louisiana Foodservice EXPO and invitations to chapter meetings, it’s important to note that Google search pulls content first, before other social media products like Vimeo. Shooting video using a smartphone is easier than ever. The iMovie app for iPhone allows you to shoot, edit and post from your handheld device.
Pinterest is the hottest new channel. Think of Pinterest as the virtual vision board. Everything from fashion, fitness and food rule this channel and by organizing visual content into boards, the LRA has taken a more lighthearted approach to the content it shares.

“Of course food rules on the LRA’s Pinterest with boards called ‘Lucky enough to eat’ and Louisiana cuisine to die for’,” said Wendy Waren, VP of Communications. “Hopefully we’ll gain a strong following from Louisiana ProStart students with the board ‘Recipes to Try’.”
While the LRA is a trade association and is communicating in various corners of the web, we hope you’ll dive in to drive traffic straight to your restaurant. We have several associate members who focus primarily on social media for restaurants including Bacon Social Media, FSC Interactive, Valence, Zehnder and Zydeco Media. If you have questions about how to get started, give Erica Papillion a call at (504) 454-2277 or via e-mail at 

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