A few humor blogs are passing around a story today about a hungry businessman who received a free porterhouse for taking the time to tweet a joke. In case you missed it, the short version is that businessman and Twitter icon, Peter Shankman, posted a tweet to Morton’s restaurant before getting on a flight that would delay his dinner. Shankman said he was starving, and asked Morton’s to meet him at the destination airport with a steak. For almost any other restaurant, that would be the end of the story, but Morton’s was different.
Looking for my driver, I saw my name, waved to him, and started walking to the door of EWR [Newark Airport], like I’d done hundreds of times before.
“Um, Mr. Shankman,” he said.
I turned around.
“There’s a surprise for you here.”
I turned to see that the driver was standing next to someone else, who I just assumed was another driver he was talking to. Then I noticed the “someone else” was in a tuxedo.
And he was carrying a Morton’s bag.
Someone at Morton’s had seen Shankman’s tweet, and sent a driver 24 miles to Newark Airport to deliver a porterhouse steak, colossal shrimp, potatoes, bread, and silverware.
A few minutes late, and the whole thing would have been a waste of time, but as it happened, Morton’s walked away with huge publicity…..for the cost of a single dinner.
This is the way that social media should work, but the reality is often very different. It was only a happy set of coincidences that led to the “miraculous” story above. Someone managing Morton’s social media happened to notice Shankman’s tweet, and a restaurant happened to be within driving distance of the airport. Unless you are willing to pay someone to monitor your incoming tweets 24-hours-a-day, your business will not likely see a similar event, and in any case, it is too late to be the viral sensation Morton’s was.
However, it isn’t too late to make sure that your social media efforts are designed for the purpose of listening to your customers, and responding to them. Social media is as much about responses as it is about marketing, and too many brands seem to forget that. Think simple: post a poll asking for your followers’ favorite menu items, and then put those on special the following week. Ask what coupons your customers want to see, and then deliver them. Showing your customers that you care about what they are saying will do wonders for your brand, and you don’t even need to drive thirty minutes to hand-deliver a porterhouse steak.
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