I have taken on the duty of assisting the restaurant, Café Guanaco. This award-winning El Salvadorean restaurant has enlisted (this is a dramatization) my help in order to catapult their business to the next level with the use of Web 2.0. I have studied Web 2.0 recently and have experience utilizing it as well; thus the timing for the task couldn’t be better. I will now propose five web tools I plan on using in Café Guanaco’s comeback, the advantage to each, and the risks of using each as well.
Instagram – Highly visual business meet your highly visual best friend. There’s a reason restaurants gravitate to Instagram early on and for very sensible reasons: people tend to “eat” with their eyes, the ease of finding specific content, and the high levels of interaction. Café Guanaco makes beautiful food (they specialize in the El Salvadorian staple of staples: pupusas) which makes Instagram the perfect platform because current and potential customers are able to see the action. You can show the world your new plates, locations, behind-the-scenes peeks, etc. It’s important to mention that this application allows for 25% more engagement than other platforms. Instagram is also partly responsible for the increasing popularity of hashtags which enable users to more easily find our businesses alongside location tags as well (#CafeGuanaco #CravingPupusas). Café Guanaco could greatly benefit from the ability Instagram gives them to illustrate their brand (or perhaps, “re-brand”) so that the public may better understand them.
Our proposed use of Instagram though, would not come without its risks/disadvantages. This Web 2.0 tool is within the most popular among businesses; thus, there is heavy competition which can be quite overwhelming to the consumer. Comments are easily seen by any person that travels to whatever post is made which may unintentionally plague the way the brand is seen by a member of the public because of a disturbing (and irrelevant to the brand) comment. We might post something about the new dish we’ve added to the menu and in the comments there will be a war of words on why Madonna is still relevant or some other ridiculous issue.
Facebook – I intend also to take Café Guanaco to the next level by maximizing on their presence within Facebook. Today, when people are looking for information on a business they love, they first do so in a casual arena that allows them to access the business in question just as they would information on individuals they know in person. People who have visited the restaurant and want to share to the world how much they enjoyed the experience are able to “like” our page which is an indicator to the world that they should visit too. Not only that, but Facebook also enables us to have one-on-one interaction with customers. If a person has a concern or compliment that they would like to share, we can (and should) reply so as to encourage their feedback. We can then take this feedback and also make adjustments to the business according to this. They want us to integrate desserts to the menu? Well, we can tell because “John” let commented this on Facebook.
As with any of the social platforms we’ll choose, we select them because they are popular which allows us to reach many people; but this can be the reason why our efforts will fail. Many businesses use Facebook and this often results in a slew of spam/negative content that will inevitably plague all social platforms to some degree. Also, because we are going up against many other companies (some which are admittedly much more powerful than us) our investments in ad bids for cost per click may prove to be unsuccessful. Finally, reaching out to the public as I’ve mentioned before to further engage with the public can be time consuming and can cause more problems if we are not on top of Facebook interactions. Individuals will grow irritated if we never reply and there’s a consistency we have to keep or we’ll lose our audience.
YouTube – When you think of a restaurant, you don’t really think of YouTube; but I think we could do great things with this application for Café Guanaco. Again, much like with Instagram, people would much rather see his pictures and videos than page after page of colorless words. The one advantage I want to highlight with YouTube is that we can profit from the desire people have to be allowed into the development of our business as it happens in realtime. With short video glimpses into our kitchens we can drive home the message that people are welcome and become a part of the family as soon as they walk in through those doors. There’s a popular wave of interest today in people in which they want to know how their favorite movies get made and how their favorite dish gets prepares too. With this Web 2.0 tool we can establish our brand more dimensionally than we could with any other.
Though YouTube is a great idea, it could also be the most tedious of all the platforms we will mention. Here, we create an entirely new branch to the business that captures footage, condenses it, polishes it, and then distributes it. Also, while people do rather see a picture or video, sometimes a very brief Tweet will do the magic that a three-minute clip won’t.
Yelp/Urbanspoon – Being that we are working with a restaurant, I find it crucial that we utilize those Web 2.0 tools that function specifically to the advantage of restaurants, food trucks, and an assortment of other diverse eateries. Yelp and Urbanspoon are similar in nature; hence the fact that they are grouped together in this proposal.
Both of these applications cater specifically to those businesses who center their work around food while it also connects those who like to consume food as they encounter all the options in their local community. As I just mentioned, it’s also important to note that Yelp and Urbanspoon are extremely important on the local level. Whether we’re serving someone who’s in town on business or who lives down the street, they can access these apps, write their thoughts, and others who see it will make judgments based off of that. Some professional reviews can be found, but the majority of them are offered up by “regular” people who make it easy for other potential customers to quickly relate and want to visit Café Guanaco (or not). This then, provides for us to make adjustments to the place of business in accordance to the feedback that we can find on these pages.
The disadvantages found in using Yelp or Urbanspoon have a lot to do with the aforementioned advantages. Because these platforms are heavily driven by the consumer, there is little control over what the reader will see regarding us because we ourselves won’t actually be “posting” anything. With this revamp of Café Guanaco I wish to rebrand so that we can capture the attention of a new audience which is enabled by these tools, but it also hurts because we have no control over what individuals will say.
Google – Though we may think we are prepared because we have a website and some social media pages set up for our business, there’s an important element that helps tie everything together we haven’t explored yet. Google My Business allows us to verify our company so that we can help current or potential future customers find us on Google’s (the top search engine in the world) internal applications—such as Google Maps. Once we’ve verified our business information, updates we make to Café Guanaco like contact details, description, photos, business hours, are eligible to show up on a plethora of Google properties.
In terms of Google + (Google Plus) there is a lack of customization they allow for both personal accounts and those belonging to businesses. This is always a disadvantage for us because it does not allow us to express extensively the message of our brand in all the ways that we might be able to otherwise. Allowing ourselves to enter the world of Google is also not always the most facilitating because we are limited to their applications. They certainly are one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful, entity on the internet today; but there are an array of other entities who we could benefit from participating in.