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Some dos and don’ts of social media

A restaurateur-turned-media-consultant advised Restaurant Leadership Conference attendees to avoid some of the common pratfalls of mobile and social media.

Tim McCallum, the operator of a Vapiano Italian restaurant in Texas, offered these specific dos and don’ts:

  • Don’t send out too many messages via Twitter, Facebook or texting. He finds that 1.5 to 1.7 messages per month—typically one brand-building communication, the other more tactical—will do the trick.
  • Don’t equate texting with young users. Fifteen percent of the “elderlies” who have cell phones are using them to text, and that’s a huge number, McCallum said.
  • Learn about QR codes, the two-dimensional bar codes rapidly coming into play as marketing tools. “I believe it’s going to be the next big thing,” said McCallum, who also has a consultancy called Raze Media. Six percent of consumers say a code has led to their purchase of a good or service, and the approach makes tremendous sense for restaurants, he added.
  • McCallum expressed more than a little skepticism about restaurant-specific apps. Texting can do the same thing at a fraction of the cost, he asserted.

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