Social media brings community to restaurants

First of all, social media is defined as “internet- and mobile-based tools for sharing and discussing information.” This blog is such an example, and so is CoolTown on Twitter, Facebook and social networking. Then, we’ve used those tools to establish a virtual community (ie beta community) to crowdsource the kinds of places creatives want, but don’t yet exist.

In between all of this though, is how can a restaurant use social media to establish a sense of community?

Check out the video above – if a mobile cafe can establish a loyal following of customers, surely a stationary one can. First of all, none of this works if your undiscovered business is a result of undesirable food, which is not the case with Kogi Korean BBQ (apologies to vegetarians), the featured business in the video. How did Kogi build the kind of community represented by the long lines you’ll see in the video?…

– They not only have a blog, but it’s updated almost daily, and substantially at that, which then encourages an enviable number of comments as well. Having a blog with an occasional entry is like having only a couple of items on your menu.
– They have a Flickr photostream with over 600 photos updated as profusely as their blog. It’s like a poor man’s version of the ‘Style’ section in the newspaper where people go to see and see if they’ve been seen, though no community Flickr stream yet. There’s also quite a bit of YouTube videos of the Kogi experience, yet no YouTube Kogi channel?
– Finally, they use Twitter to update followers in real time on things like specials, where they’re at, where they’re headed, and how long the lines are.

The one thing that a fixed place restaurant can offer is to allow its customers to interact and use its business as a gathering place. That’s the story behind Elements.

For more background on Kogi, check out the article here. For the scoop on Twitter, watch this TED Conference video, Learn what is twitter and how it will affect your restaurant business, though 95% of it focuses on Twitter rather than the restaurant business.

What restaurants have you seen using social media effectively? Comment below!