Olive Garden, Where Are You?

Card from our server Daniel

If you had thousands of followers, would you talk to them?

I had the greatest service EVER at Olive Garden today. My friend Heather and I met at Noon on a Thursday to talk shop over soup, salad and breadsticks and had the pleasure of having Daniel be our server. Our drinks were always full, the food was quick, he was attentive and kept up with both of us as we busted his chops and he played along. When we received our bills, he had jokingly left us a card with the answers to our irrelevant questions we asked him when we were ordering, which included winning lottery numbers. Needless to say, we both left good tips.

I wanted to announce to the world our love for Daniel and the Olive Garden on Tatum and Cactus in Phoenix, AZ, so I turned to Twitter and Facebook. Needless to say I was shocked! Olive Garden has over 15,000 fans on Facebook and FOUR twitter accounts (@OGCares, @MyOliveGarden, @The_OliveGarden, and @OliveGardenNews) each with hundreds of followers and they hadn’t been touched in months! MONTHS!

How is such a huge chain not talking with their people?! They are letting those thousands of people dine at Carrabba’s Italian Grill, who is talking with their customers and rewarding them for being apart of their online community. Olive Garden: What are you doing?! Where are you at? Don’t you know that you need to be in front of your customer engaging, sharing and rewarding them for being your customer? Do you not know where your customers are? Because I do. They are on social media and going to Carrabba’s.

Daniel from Olive Garden, thank you for such excellent service; I will defiantly be coming back and asking for you. Olive Garden, PLEASE go online and talk to your customers.

About the Author:
Desiree Ford
Desiree is the owner of Pink Media LLC, a social media management company in Phoenix, AZ specializing in using social media effectively, educating and making social media interactive on and off the computer. Desiree’s experience with networking, technology and connecting people with people allows for an insight into social media that others wouldn’t consider. She can also be found on Facebook and Twitter as the Foursquare Expert (@4sqExpert).

For more information about Pink Media LLC visit http://www.Facebook.com
Make sure to visit us on our social media sites:

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Social Media Swag 2010

How swag has moved beyond buttons and flyers to connecting with their fans.

San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) is Mecca for all things pop culture, cult classics, comic books, costumes and art. With over 150,000 people flocking to Downtown San Diego to see the latest in movies, TV shows, video games and comics, it’s no wonder that so many companies fight to make their booths bigger, badder and more eye catching. Companies also know the secret to getting attention: free SWAG! With Warner Brothers partnering with Comic Con this year to put poster size swag bags in the hands of every attendee, the booths were ready with buttons, lanyards, stickers, shirts, posters and anything else they could put their promotional item on. But in the sea of all the swag and paper, what about those who really follow and care about the booth and its brand?

Social Media is an outlet for those who really like a movie, company or brand to support, follow and interact. The lack of social media presence at SDCC this year was rather surprising. With shows like Attack of the Show, webisode sensations like The Guild and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog and Twitterati like Felicia Day, Will Wheton and Kevin Smith using social media to promote themselves, their shows and whatever else they feel is worthy of their attention, the lack of social media presence by the SDCC vendors was a huge shock.

On my quest for companies that were taking advantage of social media, I came across six booths using social media to get attention and give away exclusive swag.

1.) Intel – @IntelGameOn: Intel by far had the biggest and best toys to give away via Twitter at SDCC. Intel used Twitter to run contests and give away swag while also posting pop culture questions, pictures and just generally nerding out in the exhibit hall. Intel gave away a Core i7 CPU, a Wacom Drawing Tablet and signed MegaMind comics by posting their followers to Follow them and tweet using the #SDCC#IntelGameOn hashtags to enter. They also gave away five $25 gift cards for those who entered into the contest, but didn’t win the grand prize. As an added bonus, Ben (the tweeter for the event) gave away special swag for their tweeps (people who tweet). (http://twitpic.com/288pma)

2.) Frag Dolls and Ubisoft – @FragDolls: Frag Dolls, an all girl video game group sponsored by Ubisoft, are not newcomers to SDCC. Generally in attendance at conventions around the US throughout the year, these girls are the ultimate booth babes able to kick your butt in a first person shooter without getting a hair out of place. Through out SDCC, Frag Dolls utilized Twitter and Facebook to attract people to the Just Dance 2 booth, a new game for the XBOX 360 using their new motion sensitive technology, offering swag like sweat bands, shirts and beta keys for people doing tasks like taking a picture with cosplayers or an Ezio (the main character from Assassin’s Creed), visiting their booth and becoming a Facebook Fan of Just Dance 2, Ghost Recon 2, or Assassin’s Creed 2. They also raffled off a new XBOX 360 Elite (lucky guy – http://twitpic.com/28mzbc).

3.) San Diego Comic Con and Warner Brothers: San Diego Comic Con did a social media trick all on their own. Partnering with Warner Brothers (WB), SDCC utilized foursquare, a location based app that allows to you check-in to places you frequent getting you discounts and free stuff, by giving those who checked in at SDCC the Superman Badge. A quick flash of your Superman badge at the WB booth in the exhibit hall got you a Superman Returns mini flash-light that project the Superman emblem. Additionally, each day of SDCC, including preview night, had over 250 check-ins, earning foursquare users the coveted Swarm and Super Swarm badge.

4.) Tofu Girls: This cute, women-driven store that inspires women designers to flourish and create, utilized Facebook to drive traffic to their booth. By becoming a fan of Tofu Girls (http://www.facebook.com/tofugirls) on Facebook and telling them the secret word (flying hourglass), you won a free keychain.

5.) AZ Pop Culture Museum (AZPCM): AZPCM proved that you don’t have to have a booth to use social media. AZPCM took social media to the streets and really made their followers work for it; they played Hide-And-Tweet. We are all familiar with hide and seek; AZPCM made their followers find them. Passing out mini flyers to those who were ever-so-bored waiting in lines, they offered followers the opportunity to win exclusive limited edition toys. By following AZPCM, not only did they get live updates from all over SDCC, the followers were told where to find the AZPCM tweeter and what they needed to say to win their toys. Four lucky winners hunted down AZPCM all over SDCC. (Twitter: @AZPCM)

6.) Sony Online Entertainment (SOE): SOE is not new to using social media for exclusive swag. Last year at SDCC, SOE used MySpace to provide their many visitors the opportunity to attend an exclusive party in the Gas Lamp district of Downtown San Diego. This year, SOE used DC Universe Online (DCUO), an online game allowing players to battle as their favorite DC comic heroes of villains, to lure people into their booth, follow them on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/DCUniverseOnline) and Twitter (@DCUO) to watch for the word of the day. Over Thursday, Friday and Saturday, three words-of-the-day were revealed early in the morning (“Hero”, “Villain” and “Legend”) giving their followers the chance to get an exclusive VIP pass to their DCUO Fan Event on Saturday night. This was a very coveted and limited event; DCUO ran out of passes by 2pm each day. This exclusive word of the day really helped DCUO get real friends to their event to make it a successful night of drinks, fans and fun.

Social media swag will continue to have a growing presence at SDCC as social media becomes a dominant marketing tool. As an attendee, social media could also be used to help with the congestion in the exhibit halls by making one part of each booth for those “real” fans that are really interested in the product or company to collect their swag. It will also allow for television shows, films, companies, comics, merchandise and everything else that we love about SDCC to continue to connect and share with their consumers after SDCC is over, as well as give SDCC more value, purpose and growing power.

About the Author:

Desiree Ford

Desiree is the owner of Pink Media LLC, a social media management company in Phoenix, AZ specializing in using social media effectively, educating and making social media interactive on and off the computer.  Desiree’s experience with networking, technology and connecting people with people allows for an insight into social media that others wouldn’t consider. She can also be found on Facebook and Twitter as the Foursquare Expert (@4sqExpert).

For more information about Pink Media LLC visit www.Facebook.com

Make sure to visit us on our social media sites:

@Businesses – Where are you? from #TheConsumer

Does this sound familiar? The alarm goes off on your Smart phone, you hit dismiss and blink repeatedly adjusting to the light as you unplug your phone from the charger. Lying in the warmth of your bed, yawning and dry mouthed, you check your emails, sorting through newsletters, spam and urgent information. As you walk to the bathroom, you check your twitter feeds to see what you have missed from those you follow in the time zone ahead of you. You Retweet and reply while going through your morning grooming rituals, then put your phone on Pandora while you take a shower. Once you are dry and it is safe to touch your electronics again, you eat your breakfast while reading your RSS feeds and watching videos at YouTube on your iPad, absorbing all the information, leaving comments, then Retweeting and sharing on Facebook.

Sound like your morning?

In this new world where information is spread virally in a matter of minutes, iPads have replaced the newspaper, marketing is all done through social media and entire businesses are run from a smart phone, you have to ask yourself: is my business in the right place? Let’s look back at that typical morning of a Millennial (those born in the 80’s and 90’s).

When the alarm goes off, the first touch is with email; newsletters, spam and information pertinent to the reader. Within those emails is talk of technology, networking, events, information sharing and advertising. People sign up for newsletters, coupons and join mailing list for things that are relevant to their interest, hobbies, families and business. They get the information sent directly to them, rather than hoping to stumble upon a deal, event or new information by chance in a newspaper or television.

While grooming through the morning, Twitter occupies the mind. Reading the tweeter feed of the hand-selected individuals is all a part of the sharing processes. Telling others where they are through foursquare, giving 140-character reviews on a meal or service, ranting about an amazing or terrible product, or just sharing their mood connects people in ways they never were able to before. Geography has become merely a hiccup in connecting, versus the incredible inconvenience it once was. Twitter builds relationships and allows an insight into the worlds of those we would never have been able access in the past.

A Millennial would never consider showering in silence, so Pandora’s free radio, which creates customized playlist based on artists and songs you like, is the perfect solution. Like all public radio, they have to get their money somehow, so Pandora has commercials about every 3-5 songs tailored to your phone’s area code and includes advertisement for whichever business is randomly chosen to sponsor your next few songs.

The post-hygiene portion of the morning, where your Millennial stuffs their face with colorful cereals and Pop-Tarts, is where the real advertising takes place. Blogs, also selected by the reader based on what they are interested in knowing more about, is where businesses sit back, listen and let the people work for them. Blogs have replaced the newspaper by offering a more unbiased and unfiltered perspective on people, politics, pop culture, technology, products and every and any other topic that can be talked about. The world, not just Millennials, craves information; they want to be informed and entertained and they want to be informed and entertained now. Blogs are the gold mine for expertise, commenting, sharing, arguing, and seeing what it is that your consumers want.

Technology and social media have opened up a whole new world for the consumer. That’s right: the consumer. Consumers no longer have to be subjected to products and information they don’t want to know about; they get to pick what they want to know about. The consumer has also never been smarter, more informed, or more opinionated. Before anything is bought or a place is visited, a simple Google search is done to read reviews on the product or place in question, to see not only if it is worthy of their businesses, but also to see what their customer service is like, what’s good to eat or good to do there and if there are any social media specials available.

Businesses are now at the mercy of their consumers; it is now businesses’ responsibility to be involved in the community that their customers belong to, listen to their needs, answer their questions and connect with them beyond their products and services. It is now the responsibility of businesses to make sure they don’t get deleted from inboxes, that they have retweetable information, informative blogs and a reason to be followed.

About the Author:
Desiree Ford
Desiree is the owner of Pink Media LLC, a social media management company in Phoenix, AZ specializing in using social media effectively, educating and making social media interactive on and off the computer. Desiree’s experience with networking, technology and connecting people with people allows for an insight into social media that others wouldn’t consider. She can also be found on Facebook and Twitter as the Foursquare Expert (@4sqExpert).

Make sure to visit Pink Media on our social media sites: