Mark Zuckerberg is branded as a social media icon. Innovative and dynamic, what began as a dating site for college students emerged into a revolutionary symbol in the 21st century. As a result of his foray into the world of the social landscape, Zuckerberg's creative flair has made it easier for small business owners in metropolitan areas to market their respective products. With high competition among businesses, the most effective way for local establishments in these metropolitan areas to survive, is primarily driven by social media. The social media landscape creates a relationship of loyalty between the consumer and the owner.
As the head marketer of IWE group, a local consultant company specializing in local restaurants, I was able to experience the colossus of social media and its effects on marketing. One particular project that I worked on was for the most popular Korean BBQ places in Koreatown, Moo Dae Po 2. Moo Dae Po 2, "provides the ultimate Korean BBQ experience embracing contemporary K-Pop culture with a love for good Korean food" ("About Moodaepo"). While already profitable, Moo Dae Po 2 wanted to maximize profits and alter the culture of the restaurant by sharing the hidden gem with a variety of races within the melting pot of Los Angeles.
To further the restaurant's standing, we started to market it with the up and coming review site, Yelp. Yelp was one of the first user review sites. "Founded in 2004 to help people find great local businesses," ("About Us"), the site began gaining enormous steam within the world of social media. A significant portion of people began solely relying on Yelp for everything ranging from what restaurant to eat at to the Dr. they would visit for their cavity. Yelp, in essence, became the go-to source for anything and everything. Working with one of the head marketers at Yelp, Shawna Dawson, I was able to learn a lot about consumer responses to marketing.
Similar to school learning, consumers respond to incentives and buy at the margin because we are rational individuals. Yelp was one of the first review sites that implemented consumer incentives, by allowing business owners to build solid relationships with loyal patrons. We implemented trade-offs such as free sodas with every check-in, free macaroons with every like and share off of our Facebook page as a part of the project. It cost us anywhere between 30-40 cents to give away macaroons or sodas, but in return we gained loyalty from our patronage, thus ensuring they would return. This in turn, also allowed up to effectively capitalize on every patron who checked in or liked our Facebook page. Each like and check-in would be viewed by thousands of friends of every customer on his/her respective Facebook page. With a cluster of ads on multiple Facebook pages, Moo Dae Po 2, was further established as a local trend.
IWE group began becoming involved with Facebook and Twitter by making business pages for many restaurants. By having a Facebook and Twitter page, the dynamics of the individuals who would associate with us was inevitably changed. The consumer-owner relationship was therefore established to the point where we could now call our patrons friends. Twitter also eased the transition with its 140 character limit. Twitter forces its users to use shorthand, slang, implement symbols, all while maintaining the details needed to facilitate a relationship with other Twitter users. "Many businesses, bloggers and website owners use their Twitter profiles to increase traffic and find new visitors to their websites" (Southern). In essence, by having a Twitter profile, our ability to tap into the diverse marketplace of Los Angeles increased and the bonds with our current customers were strengthened.
Facebook and Twitter also provided us with easy access to reach out to people. Connections we thought could not be made with our current resources were made available through these social media outlets. We were able to successfully reach out to different celebrities such as Far East Movement, Tyrese Gibson, and almost every YouTube star. These celebrities have become regulars at our restaurants and in return, they consistently keep bringing other celebrities to our eateries making us a Hollywood and YouTube hotspot. People known that Moo Dae Po is the place to go if they want to have a good time, eat good food and see famous people. Our fan base has grown to the point where Skrillex, the second-highest-paid DJ in the world has visited. This could only be possible through the vehicle of social media. "Social media has given real meaning to the business-consumer relationship. While the change is gradual, it has been hailed as a communication breakthrough" (Amerland). Not only have we been able to meet important social icons, but we have also been able to connect with some of the biggest names in the realm of business because of social media.
Through Twitter, we have been able to recruit more talent into our growing company, and we have also been able to meet franchise moguls such as David Kim CEO of Baja Fresh, La Salsa, and a couple Denny’s branches. Twitter has allowed us an opportunity to meet business moguls such as David Kim and has allowed us to expand our business and even think of growing nationally into a franchise like Panda Express.
Through Twitter, we have been able to recruit more talent into our growing company and we have also been able to meet franchise moguls such as David Kim, the CEO of Baja Fresh, La Salsa, and a few Denny's locations. Twitter has allowed us the opportunity to expand our business amidst the national scale. Our focus as of late has been on YouTube. YouTube is an enormous video playground where works can be displayed and published for free. Given that everyone's attention span is minimal in most cases, YouTube videos provide the perfect solution to share ideas and possibilities with others. Anyone can create interesting videos that people can watch and share on Facebook. YouTube has allowed us the ability to share our business image through the medium of video. We have also utilized YouTube stars to brand our products and build a trust network for our consumers. If their favorite celebrity endorses our product and constantly posts about us, potential consumers will decide to try our restaurant. This approach is extremely effective because we create relationships with the celebrities by comping their meals in exchange for them promoting our company and products along the avenues such as Facebook, Twitter, and Vlogs. This marketing approach helps us establish a solid bond between new fans without forcing the relationship.
The project with Moo Dae Po 2 has become one of these largest cornerstones of my marketing life. I have learned how to solidify relationships through everyday social mediums and come to understand the effects of what loyalty can do for businesses and their communities. Business owners should begin utilizing social media as a part of their daily operations to excel beyond their competition.
"About Moodaepo." Moodaepo. 411eat.com, 2013. Web. 6 Feb. 2013.
"About Us." Yelp. Yelp Inc., 2013. Web. 6 Feb. 2013.
Amerland, David. "How Social Media Is Changing the World." Social Media Today. Social Media Today LLC, 25 July 2011. Web. 06 Feb. 2013.
Southern, Sophie. "The Purpose of Twitter." Tech Tips. Salon.Com, 2013. Web. 06 Feb. 2013.
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