When you think of companies that successfully use the Internet for marketing, the first ones that come to mind are generally not restaurants. In Indianapolis, however, one of the most effective social media users is Scott Wise, owner of the Scotty’s Brewhouse restaurants. Not only has Wise effectively used his websites and social media for advertising, but he has discovered some unexpected benefits along the way.
“When the economy turned down,” explained Wise, “one of the first things to go was the advertising budget. I thought ‘Why not devote time and effort into a free medium?’” Wise tried to picture himself as the “end user” and used his marketing and PR background to launch accounts on Facebook and Twitter. The result is that over 8000 people follow him between the two and the biggest cost associated is the sheer amount of time that goes into maintaining the social media presence.
As the face of the company and the Twitter account, Wise interacts with his customers (and potential customers) on a personal level. Although he was told up front that it would be risky to mix his professional posts with his personal ones, he believes that the combination has been successful. On any given day you will see him Tweeting about everything from dropping off his son at school to the restaurant’s daily specials. He tries to respond individually to anyone giving feedback about his company.
In fact, the extent to which Scotty’s Brewhouse is using Internet technology to solicit feedback from customers is so great that the company has alleviated the need for Mystery Shoppers, a practice usually used to garner unbiased feedback about restaurants. Wise explained, “We don’t need Mystery Shoppers anymore. We have 8000 people giving us instantaneous feedback about our service.” By following the streams on Twitter and Facebook, Wise can address service issues when they are happening or shortly thereafter. In addition, he can see all of the positive feedback being posted and recognize his staff accordingly.
Wise is also using mobile technology and thinks that location based technology might be the next big thing after social media. Wise dubs Foursquare an “emerging technology” and says that he is using it in a limited way to reward customer loyalty.
Even if social media and mobile technology are not your thing, you can still interact with Wise and Scotty’s Brewhouse and get more information through their website and email newsletter. There you will find information about all of the specials at the different restaurants as well as get coupons and learn about promotions.
Overall, Wise has discovered that using the Internet and social media for Scotty’s Brewhouse is more than just “advertising specials and hours.” It’s an opportunity to interact with customers, get advice on the business, and even distribute hiring information. In the end, Wise credits the Internet and social media with “helping [them] survive the economic recession.”
Learn more about Scotty’s Brewhouse and get links to all of their social media at http://www.scottysbrewhouse.com.