All posts by Chris Romani

Should restaurateurs change their business after upon reopening?

Recently, business owners, and specifically restaurateurs, have started to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and discussions have started to turn to what the new normal will look like when everyone is allowed to return to full service.

Between owners and patrons alike, these discussions revolve around all the exciting new features that many restaurants have put in play.

I set out to find out what changes consumers would like to see remain, what restaurants plan on keeping, and what has fallen by the wayside. I acquired about 50 different responses from self-proclaimed foodies and business owners, and found the following trends.

Don’t lose your online menu!

This one should be a no-brainer, but customers like options in loyalty. There is a lot of consensus here between restaurant owners and that online ordering has changed the game for small businesses and it would be a real shame if they were to go away.

Family Packs should be here to stay!

Perhaps not surprisingly, the proliferation of family packs was the top change mentioned by commenters. It represented about 60-75% of the responses received. The average response looked something like this:

I definitely like the family meals to go or be served in the restaurantĀ šŸ‘

Most restaurant owner commenters indicated that they will continue serving family packs in the future. Where it gets interesting is in pricing of these family packs. Some feel like their current pricing is too low, and will need to adjust when dining resumes normally. Some want to provide family packs at the same cost when doing takeout/curbside, and charge a higher price for dine in service. Personally, I’m very interested in patrons would feel about this, so if you have a take, leave a comment below.

Curbside is also appreciated by families.

I was surprised by the number of people who commented on curbside. I thought that this would be valued, but not at the rate is was. Almost all responders indicated that they had children and that curbside increased their dine out rate. This was best summed up best by this comment:

 As a mom with two toddlers whose husband works out of town half the year, curbside has been the only way Iā€™ve been able to eat out since my youngest was born.” – Lynden Haley Briscoe

Alcohol isn’t as important as you think.

I was floored by this. Of all the respondents, only 1-2 mentioned alcohol delivery services. Given that most respondents were in text where this was permitted, I believed this was going to be a much higher percentage.

I have a hunch on this. Given that alcohol is still widely available at restaurants, most people are drinking for the social aspect. Therefore, although the average consumer believes there is convenience in getting their favorite drinks delivered, the primary reason for ordering these drinks to begin with has always been social.

A couple other fun notes

There were just a couple other things mentioned once or twice that were worth mentioning here.

  1. A couple people loved being able to go to their favorite restaurants and not have them be as crowded. They see this as a real plus.
  2. Almost everyone responded to all the changes positively. This could be selection/responder bias, but I believe people think the local business community has responded well.
  3. One person suggested that chips and salsa be delivered curbside while waiting for a table. I actually think this is a killer idea. Not only would it be attractive to potential customers, it also makes me think there are a bunch of cool ways to market this idea.

What’s the change you want to see? If you have one, let me know in the comments below!

How Project Managers can assist their sales and marketing teams.

Looking back on my time in construction, one of the hardest parts of my job was getting non-marketers to engage in marketing activities. A colleague and I recently were discussing this topic and I found myself saying the following:

Now, of course, at RBM, I can control my company’s performance, but if you are sitting in a chair where you don’t control your project managers, this is a truism. You will never be able to have great relationships with clients if you are part of a company that does not perform.

That being said, you can work with your C-suite and project management team to assist you in your marketing and business development efforts. As always, if you’d like to listen along, you can find the video below.

The first thing you can ask them to do is Create B-roll footage. This is fairly straight forward. Ask other members of your company to take photos and video of things they find mundane. Your clients, particularly ones in construction, will be very interested to see this footage. Make sure project managers feel comfortable that this video will not be judge and the quality does not have the be perfect. It is up to the marketer to make this video impactful.

Next, ask your project managers to Take progression shots their projects. This can be simple as standing in one spot and snapping a picture every day, week, or month, depending on the project. An iPhone camera is perfectly good for any of these tasks. Again, remind your project managers that while they need to produce a decent picture, the goal is to create a great catalog for the marketing agents to draw from. If your job is to sit at a computer, take screenshots.

Third, you can ask your project managers to Help with simple marketing requests. If you are a project manager, this is often as simple as timely filling out a bio. Sharing company members have proven an effective strategy in the social media marketing world.

After that, Get involved in your community. Although these things can be added to bio, being involved in your community can often turn cold calls into warm leads. This can industry related, such as the Association of General Contractors if you work in construction, or unrelated such as a church group.

Next, Share your company’s social posts. This may seem obvious, but I’m going to break this down a bit. One of the most important things my PM’s could do is share my company’s social posts. Why? Because often times they have more connections to other project managers than I or the company do. And this isn’t just true of project managers. It’s also true of safety personnel, purchasing agents, and many more. Those connections are the decision makers the marketers are after.

For additional merit points, Add value to the posts that you share. Think about your latest project. How much more does the project manager know about it than anyone else in your company (even your CEO)? As a project manager, you have the ability to tell a great story about your job, or tag a member of the team that was really valuable. Although you should be doing this for the right reasons, one of the benefits is that these people will be more likely to share and comment on your posts, catapulting it to be seen by many others.

Hopefully, by applying these tips in your day to day or week to week schedule, you will add measurable value to your company and your bosses will notice.

Want to know more about how to work together to grow your company’s marketing efforts, contact me or leave a comment below.

4 Ways to Add Value to Your Social Media

In this blog post, we’re going to take a look at adding value to your social media. As always, if you’d rather listen, feel free to watch the video below.

Regardless of what Social media guru you subscribe to, you will most likely hear them talk about the need to bring value to your social media profile, whether it is your personal one, or your company/brand (depending on how you sell you product).

Most people, however, talk about the need to create value, and not what value actually looks like. I spent some time thinking about what types of posts and comments create value and found they fall into about four categories.

1. Education

2. Insight

3. Entertainment

4. Inspiration

Let’s take a look at each one in detail

via GIPHY

1. Education – This is probably the easiest strategy to start to create value. For most brands/companies, the foundation of what you are selling is that you know something your customer doesn’t. Whether it’s how to make a delicious burger quickly or how to build a skyscraper, you are providing some type of expertise. In your original content and comments, use this expertise. For example, in YouTube videos, many times the content provider doesn’t cover everything, they are just highlighting points because they realize people will only watch for a limited time. Adding a clarifying comment will provide value by helping other viewers.

2. Insight – Insight provides value by taking education to the next level, not only providing the actual piece of information, but also the context under which it happens. Stated another way, insight helps your client understand the why behind the education. Let’s take blogging for example (you are reading one after all). If you listen to most marketers, they will tell you that blogging is an effective digital marketing strategy. For some people, this will be enough for them to start a blog, but others will want to delve into why this is the case. In the blogging example, blogging is effective if it’s on your website because it will improve your SEO and also search engines typically value sites that change more frequently than those that are left stagnant. Now you have provided value because client has some background context (or insight) on the education you’ve provided.

3. Entertainment – Did you find the above gif entertaining (I hope you did?). If nothing else, entertainment typically provides value. Most people don’t come to social media (with maybe the exception of LinkedIn) to explicitly get work tasks completed. That doesn’t mean they can’t learn about your brand or follow your content, but simply that education or insight may not be the lens in which they are viewing their social media currently. In this case, the evocation of emotion is the value.

I also want to issue a word of caution on entertainment. Entertainment should still be in alignment with your brand. If you have a great following because you are so entertaining, at some point, you may find most of your followers are not your potential clients. Some may see this as an opportunity to pivot into something new, but if you are in a local business, it is more likely will end up wasting money retargeting customers that will never come to your business.

4. Inspiration – Finally, we have inspiration. Sometimes, the best way to provide value to others is to simply motivate them. Gary Vaynerchuk (pictured above), is one of the kings of this. He incorporates education in an education setting and this has become his personal brand at this point. Value through inspiration may take the form sharing your story so people can see how you got to where you are at, or something as simple as a comment saying you appreciate what the original poster is doing.

Finally, look for synergy when possible. In the paragraph above, I mention how Gary Vee combined education and inspiration. There is no reason your posts cannot provide all 4 of the categories listed above. That doesn’t mean you have to wait until you come up with a post that does (remember: you have to say something), but that can be your gold standard.

So ask yourself before you submit your next piece of content, “Does this provide value?”. If it doesn’t, add something from one of the 4 categories to make sure you’re creating great content for your peers and clients.

Marketing During Uncertain Times

In this video, I highlight what small businesses can be doing during uncertain times and times of economic recession.

Welcome to Romani Branding and Management Blog

Hi Everyone – welcome to the RBM blog, where we focus on digital marketing strategy for small business owners.

Today we’re going to be talking about my core philosophy and tenets of positive organic social media. Although I do work in both paid and organic social media, this blog will primarily focus on organic social media growth.

If you’d prefer to give a listen to this content, feel free to click the link below

So what does it take to have a great social media account? To start social media has two key components. The social piece and the media piece. Most people have some decent ideas as to how to do the media piece. If not, there are tons of other guides out there to give you some basic ideas on how to create captivating video/audio and when to post for the best engagement.

What most companies fail to remember is that social media is more social than it is media, and there is little effort of the social piece.

Again, if there is one thing that I want you to remember, its that being social on social media is more important to organic growth than creating great media (perhaps with the exception of if your selling photography or videography services).

So what does it take to have great social content? I break that down into 5 rules or tenets for you to follow. This will ensure that each company has a unique social presence even if they are following the same guidelines.

Tenet 1 – Pretend that your audience is in the Room

All the tenets will be fairly simple and this one is no exception. The key to being social is pretending that your client is in front of you, even when they aren’t. For most small businesses, the goal of your social media platform is to create warm leads for in person conversion. Thus, they should like your social channels for the same reason they would like your company when they interact with it off-line. If your business and social channels communication styles are very different, this will create an in-congruent experience when they interact with you in person.

Tenet 2 – You have to say something

Surprisingly, this is where most small business owners get tied up. They know every inch of their business and how to talk about it in person, but they feel like when they write something on Facebook it is stupid and then delete. As a result, their brand is hindered because they don’t post enough content to stay top of mind.

Tenet 3 – Speak with your own voice (Authenticity)

In Tenet 1 we talked about pretending you are in the same room with your customer, Tenet 3 talks about why this is so important. When successful entrepreneurs talk about social media, they often use that analogy that it is like a magnifying glass. Stated another way, social media exposes who you really are. In many of my speeches, I often tell people if their small business is ONLY about the bottom dollar, to stay off social media, because it will be exposed there. Small businesses that have compassion and conscience are more likely to succeed on social media because it gives the authenticity necessary to create unique messaging and gives them something to say frequently.

Tenet 4 – Your clients are also content creators

If you have a marketing background, this is often your biggest hurdle. When you buy an ad on the back cover of a magazine, publishing that ad is a foreign experience to most people viewing it. With social media, it is exactly the opposite. And this is precisely why you can generate so much content with little editing. Consumers understand the plight of taking a picture and posting it to Instagram, only to realize there was a coffee cup in the background that makes the picture a little less perfect. They understand that the time spent on your typical IG post is minimal compared to a super bowl. It’s why all the best social posts look like they are natural, even if they are contrived.

Tenet 5 – Pick Platforms that suit your business

A lot of small business owners feel overwhelmed with all the different social platforms, but I like to keep this simple. Once you figure out why your clients like you, lean in to social platforms that help you expose these reasons. Drop the ones that don’t fit you. You don’t need to be everywhere at once.

Hopefully, these 5 tenets will push you in the right direction to start or revitalize your social game.

And remember, being social doesn’t just mean posting on your page. It’s posting on colleague and mutual competitors page, association pages, important hashtags, and responding to others who ask you questions.

Best of Luck

Chris