A couple months ago I came to Santa Monica, CA to visit @BenWhitehair and @AustinBis. We went to lunch at @TenderGreens because is said their salad was going to change my life. Just to be clear I am not a vegetarian, salad is usually an afterthought. Anyways, we went and the food was amazing – p.s. their mashed potatoes are like nothing I have ever had.
This weekend I came to California for @AnnieVovan’s wedding and found myself craving Tender Greens so I went with @BenWhitehair and @DanikiaBrysha for a salad. Like any #Foodie I snapped an @Instagram photo and posted the following tweet:
Within a few minutes I had a response from @TenderGreens – which if you notice I didn’t tag in the tweet.
By pure coincidence TG was running a photo contest and asked me enter the photo – so I did. They engaged with me around the photo and thanked me for it.
This means something:
- Tender Greens is actively asserting themselves into conversations even when they are not tagged in a post.
- Tender Greens cares about customer engagement.
- Tender Greens recognizes opportunity and acts upon it.
Low and behold – I won the contest – granted my photo belongs in a gallery so of course I was going to win, but the real story I want to tell you isn’t about this response I got on twitter but what Tender Greens is doing right with a separate twitter strategy.
After I won, I started reading Tender Green’s feed. I saw something that they were doing well that many other brands are totally, and I mean TOTALLY failing at. So many companies have way too many identities online – from multiple Facebook fan pages, to multiple twitter accounts and sometimes they are different because they are running a different promotion, or are localized like Century Link does for each state or many restaurants have a different twitter account for every single location or divisions of the company. This is the wrong strategy.
As a consumer, It doesn’t matter if I engage with your customer service department at one location, on the phone at a different location, or in person on a completely different medium – my belief about your brand is applied to you as a whole – not a specific location, not a specific division, and not based on medium. Don’t divide your brand and make me follow so many different confusing feeds just to keep up with one company. You might think you are making it easier on me but you are not – I really don’t care about you that much to want to follow you several times and it all just works against your brand because I get confused - #unfollow
If you are leading an organization that is franchised, has multiple locations, or has several aspects of your business take a page out of Tender Green’s model and UNIFY your brand.
It looks like this:
- Only have 1 twitter account, 1 Facebook page, 1 Pinterest page, etc. Yes only one account on each.
- Curate the ENTIRE conversation on that single account – positive and negative – stories and service – announcements and aspirations.
- Localize conversations by searching out your brand and associated topics by zip code and city then #hashtag specific topics to organize separate feed.
- Don’t stop – catch every single tweet, respond to every comment, and take an interest in your users – beyond the tweet.
- Give 1 or 2 people the full unfiltered authority to engage with a unified voice that all members of your team can emulate.
For Tender Greens – this shows up by using tags like #TGHollywood or #TGCC to signify conversations around specific locations – like daily deals, specials and feedback as well as inserting themselves into very specific conversations.
It is a small shift – really small – but as a consumer, I can go to one place and see their brand, one page, one feed, one set of Pinterest boards. Keep doing it and over time it will pay off long term – develop the relationships and put forth the effort – people will notice and give you feedback with comments and dollars. More importantly – back up what you say with action – great service, a great product, and empower your front line to meet consumer needs the same way.
Tender Greens made me a customer because @BenWhitehair told me it was good, so I tried it. I had excellent food and enjoyed my experience. I return for the food, which is nice because they make money – but Tender Greens turned me into a PROMOTER. They made me care about them as a brand because they cared about me as a person – and it wasn’t the contest – that is meaningless to me – it was the fact that they searched me out, found an opportunity to engage and executed – making it easy for me to engage with them as well. Oh, and this earned media - took them a total of 5 minutes to cultivate, for free.
They had no intention of anything other than building a relationship. Funny how that pays off when you do it right – 24 hours later I am writing a blog post about my experience with them and telling you – GO EAT AT TENDER GREENS.
Lifetime value goes further than lunchtime coupons. I will gladly pay the $20 for a salad at Tender Greens any day, the food is amazing and I have a real relationship with them that will develop further over time.
Great job Tender Greens – keep it up! You are setting an example other brands need to follow.