Monday, August 3, 2015

Creating buzz accidentally... on purpose?

Recently there have been restaurant related news stories that created a lot of social media buzz unintentionally. Or were some on purpose?
kitchen tip lineCase #1
A newly reopened restaurant had changed their receipts to include a Kitchen Tip line below the usual Server Tip line. This was the first time in this city that a restaurant, a popular one at that, had added a Kitchen Tip line.
In just a few short hours the restaurant had created a lot of buzz, unintentionally. The discussion ignited on Facebook and the local news media quickly picked up on the debate. By the end of the day the story was a short article in the local paper and within the next few days had also been covered by local TV news programs.
While the story could be taken as positive or negative depending on an individual's knowledge and point-of-view of the issue, it did bring the restaurant publicity.
Case #2
Actually there are several examples that fall into this last case. Businesses put up a sign or create a new policy that is deemed offensive by a large number of people. Some examples would be businesses banning gun carrying customers, gay patrons, or, recently, they hung up the Confederate flag. In what soon becomes a very vocal debate by both sides of the issue, the businesses get shown on the news, are praised and criticized over social media, and bogus reviews are posted to their Yelp accounts.
In this case, the business owner may have been standing by their personal convictions but managed, at the same time, to create a large amount of buzz and get their name publicized.
Case #3
A customer left a measly tip and a snide comment on a receipt and then included their Twitter name.
The image of the receipt was soon shared via Facebook and Twitter by a restaurant server who is active on social media. It too started to create a lot of buzz until some people pointed out that posting it and giving it attention might be playing right into the offender's hands — possibly upping his social media engagement.
Whether this customer was being intentional or not, it did create buzz and it is noteworthy that people quickly picked up on the possible ploy.
Lessons 
Case #1 was definitely unintentional, Cases of #2 probably are often unintentional, while Case #3  may or may not have been. The end result of all three was lots of buzz and publicity for each party.
The thing to remember is that often times actions can inadvertently lead to publicity and not always the good kind. Meanwhile you could have patrons who decide to abuse social media to their own advantage or out of spite, like some bad reviews. With everyone carrying smartphones and tablets around it is important to be thoughtful and vigilant about what goes on in your establishment.

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