Archive | February, 2011

How Social Media Is Transforming the Hospitality Industry

20 Feb

Is your restaurant using Social Media to connect with your customers? 

It’s been widely recognized that Charleston is a mecca for some of the best restaurants and resorts in the nation, with over 700 dining and vacation spots calling the Low Country home. It’s no wonder that people from all walks of life, from families to celebrities, come to Charleston to enjoy the great food and atmosphere that Charleston offers. Social media, which is a powerful tool for connecting businesses and people, is transforming the way the food and beverage industry connects with patrons in many regions of the United States including right here in Charleston, South Carolina.

Of the top twenty restaurant chains in the Southeastern USA, a majority of them are using some form of social media to get in front of the over 2.3 million consumers who use social media daily to make decisions about where to visit, what to do and where to enjoy their dining experiences. A great example of this in Charleston is Peninsula Grill of Planters Inn – located downtown Charleston which has both an interactive website and an active Facebook account that boasts 1,650 followers and sends out frequent updates to its customers – increasing sales at an incredible pace and consistently booking reservations weeks in advance. In addition, Oak Steakhouse and their chef have websites that features links to social media accounts and a Facebook account that has over 3,697 followers at the present time.

This use of social media didn’t happen overnight, but it is changing the way businesses connect with customers around the globe. It all comes down to consumer behavior and how to best maximize taking advantage of this behavior to earn more customers. Facebook has become the number one location where over 500 million people spend at least one hour daily touching base with friends, family and local hot-spots. If you are trying to reach a broader audience, that includes all age groups and people from other areas who may be vacationing in Charleston, then Facebook is the place to be right now and for the immediate future. Couple that with an updated blog, Twitter feeds and an interactive website and you have the tools to launch your restaurant to higher levels of success.

The advantages of food and beverage companies using social media include:

Low Cost – Social Media costs very little to set up and manage for the long term in comparison with other forms of advertising which are one-time expensive ventures. Outsourcing makes the best sense as you can do this a lot cheaper than by using staff to maintain the accounts or by trying to do this alone.

Little Time – You can spend less than 1-2 hours weekly updating posts to social media accounts and even schedule them ahead of time to correspond with upcoming promotions and specials.

More Interactive – Your social media accounts can be as interactive as you want them to be with fully customized fan pages, colorful graphics, links to your website, specials, menus, promos, chef pages, recipes… and more!

More Traffic – Instead of spending hours trying to market your restaurant on your own, why not allow your social media accounts to auto-pilot massive traffic to your websites and your store?

So how do you take advantage of Social Media for your own restaurant or resort? Where do you get started? Contact Tess C Taylor at Taylor Resources Writing, LLC. to find out about our special social media services today. From initial set-up of social media accounts to the maintenance and growth of the accounts, Tess has the tools and the experience to make this work for you!

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Writing Through the Eyes of an Editor

18 Feb

Over the past five years, since I began this journey of becoming a freelance web copy writer, I’ve gradually learned to hone the skill of writing by learning from others who established themselves as top notch writers. Transforming my career from a full time Human Resources professional to that of a stay-at-home freelancer was a roller coaster ride for the first few years.

One of the biggest things I learnt along the way that as an entrepreneur, I must continually educate myself about new things. I often take on new challenges just to have exposure to new concepts and this becomes a learning opportunity for me. Always, I do this with the voice of my Dad in my head saying ” You must learn at least one new thing daily to have a full life!”

So, it is with no surprise that I have recently begun editing on a more permanent basis for a company in the UK. This work has been interesting and I get to see things from the other side of the coin. I must say that I have garnered a lot more respect for the hard work that professional editors do! The work is time consuming, must be done 100% accurately and there can be no delays in turning projects in. What an appreciation I have for the fine writers who take the time to write according to the article specifications, and I have developed quite a disdain for those writers who put very little effort into the craft.

Now that I have had this experience, I am a better writer myself. I am more mindful of many things that will make the job of editing easier on those whom I have the benefit of working with. The job of editing requires A LOT of patience and a willingness to groom others so they they may be a tribute to the written word. Now that is something I would never have seen from “the other side” if I had not had this opportunity.

So, I have to ask these questions:

  1. If you are a freelancer, and whether you write, design websites, create art, do public speaking,  or whatever you do best – are you seeing things from the eyes of an editor?
  2. Do you work carefully to improve your processes and put out your very best quality work with every project, or are you doing just enough to get by?
  3. Do you try to see things from your clients’ perspectives and make sure you are 100% in tune with their needs?

 

Consider these questions for a few moments and then try to focus on the areas in which you can do a little better this week. Maybe you need some training in a particular software program, you would benefit from a colleague’s feedback,  or you need to start reading up on a new topic. Try to see things as if you are on the other end looking at this objectively whenever you can.

See things through an Editor’s eyes.

Managing the Balancing Act

8 Feb

As a small business owner, do you often feel like you are on a high wire about twenty feet above the circus crowd trying desperately to stay on top of everything in a balancing act?

Well, you are not alone! About 99% of all entrepreneurs feel this way on a regular basis, what with all the responsibilities and demands every day.

So what to do when you get to the point where you feel like you are ready to jump? Here are some suggestions from a fellow solo-preneur who’s been there a time or two ( and lived to talk about it):

#1 – Take a Mental Step Back

When the entire pile of papers and work on your desk feels like it may topple over and you can’t see any light at the end of the tunnel, get up out of your chair – take a walk outside and feel the fresh air on your face for a few moments. Or unplug from all your electronics, emails and social media outlets for ten minutes to gather your thoughts. Oftentimes as business owners, we are so connected to all the things we must do and all the people we must keep in communication with that we lose sight of the real joy of having a company. Give yourself the freedom to take a mental step back and refresh your mind, which will give you a restored vigor and actually make you more productive.

#2 – Ask for Help

This has got to be the most difficult thing for an independent business owner to admit – that he or she needs help. First of all, the greatest leaders got where they did by asking for help whenever things got overwhelming. Everyone needs to seek the services and support of other professionals when the tasks seem insurmountable. Get in contact with your networks and find a good virtual assistant or an intern who wants to learn the ropes. Then delegate, delegate, delegate until it all gets done. You’ll have more time to go after new business and you’ll be less likely to stay up late at night trying to do it all alone.

#3 – Network with Fellow Entrepreneurs

A great way to learn how to cope with the balancing act of being an entrepreneur is to seek out the feedback, encouragement and advice of other similar professionals. There are tons of local small business networking groups as well as those found online in places like LinkedIn, Meetups and more. Find others who share your vision and get together over coffee for goal setting or brainstorming sessions. When you are around others, you will feed off their creativity and ideas, which helps you to be a better business owner. You’ll be turned on to new resources and support which will fuel your growth as a professional over time.

Whatever you do, if you are dealing with the “madness” of trying to juggle too much at once, allow your self the ability to play hookie from your business, for at least a few hours. Give your mind and your soul something to look forward to and you’ll be a more balanced person and a more effective business leader as a result.