Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tweet It Like You Mean It

FourSquare, Groupon, Facebook, Google+… The roster of social media platforms just keeps on growing, and the buzz surrounding them has expanded into a steady din. For chefs and small business owners in the food industry, harnessing the power of social media seems like a no-brainer, but dipping your toes in the water can be quite intimidating.

On July 13, we hosted Building Buzz: Restaurants, Foodies & Social Media, a panel discussion with noted chefs and food personalities who are forging their own paths in the social media arena. Sponsored by New York magazine and YourBuzz from American Express OPEN, the talk was moderated by editor, Alan Sytsma.

It was a great opportunity for The ICC to help bring together a group of our contacts and alumni in the industry for a fun and informative conversation, and we picked up some great advice from the panelists that we'd like to pass along to you.

Cesare Casella
Our dean of Italian Studies and chef-owner of Salumeria Rosi
Social media absolutely does present chefs with new opportunities and access to the media. Cesare has gotten press inquiries based on content posted to his network that he would not have received otherwise.

Francis Lam
Features editor at Gilt Taste
Negative criticism from readers (internet road rage), can sting on a very personal level, but there is a positive to addressing comments proactively. Reaching out directly to flamers reminds them that there is an actual person on the other side of a rant and can potentially improve the tone of the conversation.

Paul Liebrandt
Chef-owner of Corton
Content should always come from the client in order to be authentic. This sentiment was echoed by all of the panelists. If you're a publicist, spend time with your chef in order to understand the business from the inside so you can capture its true tone and personality. Chefs who outsource their social media efforts are responsible for providing good content and communicating with their providers to ensure that the message is on target with goals.

Kenny Lao
Co-founder of Rickshaw Dumpling
Many small businesses feel obligated to participate in social media because everyone is doing it. If you're hesitant to join the fray, do so only because you firmly believe it will help you grow your business.

Zak Pelaccio
Chef-owner of Fatty Crab and French Culinary Institute alum
Don't be discouraged by internet road rage. Believe in yourself and your vision, and don't let naysayers get you down.

No comments: