Last week, a few hundred foodservice professionals gathered at Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco for the first social media conference dedicated to the industry. Hosted by FohBoh, the leading social-business community for the global restaurant industry, Food Service Social Media Universe (FSMU) was created to bring together restaurant leaders and social media practitioners to share incites and best practices about this rapidly changing landscape.
FohBoh encouraged guests to be social by using the #FSMU hashtag to follow and participate in the conversation surrounding the event. The results showed over 3,000 tweets were sent with the hashtag, drawing 15 million impressions and reaching 1.5 million people. They also created a mobile site along with a QR code, allowing guests easy access to the site via scanning the code in their programs.
There was also a social good component involved: money was raised for Share Our Strength, a charity that provides meal for starving children. Several FSMU attendees consistently tweeted about the initiative, with many offering to increase donations for spreading the word. People were RTing related posts all weekend, resulting in thousands of dollars raised for the cause. There was also a “Dine Out” event with the proceeds going to #NoKidHungry.
The conference covered a variety of topics from a pre-sessions “Social Media 101” workshop to location-based services, social media policy, B2B application and social web analytics, with the goal for attendees to build better, long-term guest relationships. Mobile marketing, daily deal sites, capitalizing connectivity, brand loyalty and other topics were also addressed. The diverse curriculum and high-quality speakers allowed for guests to find opportunities that suited their specific needs.
Keynote speakers included Michael Atkinson, CEO of FohBoh; Nate DaPore CEO of People Matter; Jeremiah Owyang, Industry Analyst of Altimeter Group and Kathleen Wood of Kathleen Wood Partners, LLC.
Because there’s far too much information to spotlight, I’ll touch upon one topic: Jeremiah held the opening keynote which offered a lot of great incite, highlighting the importance of a social business strategy.
5 goals for developing a social strategy for your business
- Learning: Make it easy for consumer to learn about you: start with free and inexpensive tools and use terms related to your products, locations and competitors stores.
- Dialogue: You’ve been listening, now you want to engage in conversation: strive to use social media for a tailored, personal experience.
- Advocate: Recruite an “unpaid army” of highly engaged fans to promote your venue through social media. Cultivate brand loyalists and acknowledge and reward them whenever possible.
- Support: Assist your customers directly, or by facilitating peer-to-peer support via social technologies.
- Innovate: Be innovative! For example, the My Starbucks Idea campaign — tens of thousands of customers have submitted, commented, and voted on ideas. It’s like a public tip jar.
The event as a whole was incredibly well planned and executed, and there didn’t seem to be any attendee who could find a negative thing to say about its quality. Everyone from independent chains to large corporate brands were represented, providing a great opportunity for this variety of players to learn from each other. There were several networking events, some planned and some spontaneous. The overall experience was incredibly positive and I’m looking forward to seeing what FohBoh puts together for next year!