If you live in San Francisco and love coffee, you likely know about Blue Bottle Cafe - it is arguably the best coffee in the city, has a rabid fanbase and was made famous by the New York Times piece, "At last, a $20,000 cup of coffee". Blue Bottle has started dipping its toes in social media - and why not? On any given morning, half of the shop is seen huddling over a mobile device or laptop.
It is an interesting example because social media is a natural, ideal fit for restaurants (great imagery, food is often social, and people talk about their experiences). It is also interesting because:
- Facebook is about 3x as popular as Twitter: 600 fans vs. 200 followers
- Blue Bottle routinely posts to Twitter, including great photos and interesting updates... but they have not yet posted to the Facebook stream (despite having 3x the fans and Facebook being better suited for visual posts / sharing)
- Blue Bottle Cafe is actively being talked about on both Twitter and Facebook (on Twitter, there are dozens of mentions each day)
Blue Bottle is clearly experimenting with social media and, as an onlooker and a fan of their coffee / food, I find it both interesting and helpful. If I were a restaurateur, I would be watching closely and experimenting on my own. Both Twitter and Facebook are effective ways to showcase new menu items, specials / sales and interact with customers.
Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and other large chains have found success through social media (and are among the best social marketers)... local shops are starting to figure it out as well. And as mobile continues to play a growing, important role both in restaurant discovery and communication, there will be a stronger opportunity to engage with customers.