mouths, for instance, is very important. That’s how places make money.
But for businesses that want to survive and thrive, the words that come
out of aforementioned mouths are vital.
Word of mouth and
traditional advertising are still important. With the changing
communication climate, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and
apps are used to generate excitement, as well.
great thing about social media is that you end up swimming in circles
you wouldn’t normally be swimming in,” said Bruce Rinehart, owner of
Rococo Restaurant & Fine Wine. “I’ve developed a lot of friends that
Though he first joined Twitter just for business, he found he was making personal connections — and that was key to his success.
was home to one of OKC’s first Tweet-ups, which has cemented plenty of
fans for the restaurant. But the first step, said Rinehart, is starting a
conversation. Rinehart has two Rococo locations: 2824 N. Pennsylvania
Ave. (the original location) and 12252 N. May Ave.
“You just connect with people. You
banter. Somebody says, ‘It’s chilly outside,’ and I say, ‘Hey, we’ve
got a fire going.’ And pretty soon, they’re sitting in your restaurant
for the first time with a glass of wine,” he said.
like Rinehart, Elena Farrar is on Twitter to represent her restaurant.
As general manager at The Wedge Pizzeria, she runs one of the liveliest
feeds in the city, mixing her personality with a little business. The
Wedge is located at 4709 N. Western Ave.
built many personal relationships on there (Twitter), and it’s opened
the door to meet and get closer to our clientele,” she said. “You can’t
just sell to people. I don’t want to be fake. It’s important to have
real relationships with people.”
a tricky balance to keep professional and personal life in the public.
Farrar has learned that sarcasm is not well-accepted by some and that
it’s best to keep hot-button issues off the professional accounts.
However, it still allows Farrar plenty of room to be creative and
interact regularly with her followers and clientele.
“We’re all human,” she said.
hide that?” And for The Wedge, being human and engaging with people is a
way to get people thinking about a meat horn for breakfast or a truffle
shuffle for dinner.
While Rinehart and Farrar represent restaurants and other employees online, Gale VanCampen is the whole show for Hot Dog OKC.
VanCampen is the owner, operator and social media chief for the popular hot dog cart.
have to be aggressive and put yourself out there a lot in order to get a
good response,” she said. “I’d say 75 percent of the gigs I get are
through Twitter. That’s how I met people with the Thunder. Oklahoma City
University had me come out, all through word of mouth (online).”
The Wedge and Hot Dog OKC use contests as a way to attract new
followers and hold on to old fans. The Wedge teams up with Oklahoma
Employees Credit Union to give away breakfast once a week. VanCampen
gets retweets and new followers with the promise of a free hot dog.
are new people on Twitter every day,” she said. “When I joined, I think
I knew every one of my local followers. Now, there are so many, I just
try my best to follow everybody back and interact with them.”
VanCampen also weaves in other platforms, posting Instagram pictures and Vine videos to both
Twitter and Facebook. And it doesn’t always have to be about hot dogs,
she said. Often, updating followers about her life leads to new visitors
to the cart — or lets them know she just won’t be able to come out to
cook some nights.
“I don’t know what I’d do without social media,” she said. “It plays such a huge part.”
One of the biggest social media successes
in Oklahoma City is Big Truck Tacos, which gained nearly 31,000 fans on
Facebook and more than 12,000 followers on Twitter. Its
brick-and-mortar location is located at 530 NW 23rd St.
It’s all about community building, said Kathryn Mathis, who owns Big Truck with Cally Johnson and Chris Lower.
we first got on Facebook, it was just to keep friends and family posted
about the construction,” she said. “We hit 500 fans, and I thought, ‘Do
we even know 500 people?’” Those pictures translated to customers
because they would line up out the door. It has made them better
restaurateurs, Mathis said.
wanted to be a neighborhood restaurant, so we post pictures and talk to
our fans online,” she said. “We tell them where we’re at, what we’re
doing. And when people have a problem, they tell us.”
Online complaints are actually a blessing, Mathis said.
who have a bad experience let us know, and we can do something about
it. We can address it immediately, buy them lunch and fix it. People
like to be heard,” she said.
Big Truck listens. It takes suggestions, and it lets fans suggest names
for salsas. It gives away gift cards online when a car sporting a Big
Truck sticker is spotted.
just try to have fun with it,” Mathis said. “We learn who our customers
are because we see them online all the time, and then, when they come
in the restaurant, we know them and they know us.”
She said, “It’s like Cheers.
Everybody wants to go where people know their name.”
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At Oklahoma Gazette, we work to deliver new restaurants, band profiles and insider interviews with artistic directors to campaigning politicians.