There's a neighborhood pizza place that my family frequents. It's the kind of hip joint that plays indie rock, serves craft beer, displays local artwork and employs a trendy-looking waitstaff that buzzes from table to table while chatting and laughing with patrons.
Recently, I had the chance to sit down with the social media manager for the restaurant, Casey. He's one of those trendy-looking waiters with an interest in social media strong enough to have convinced the owners to let him be the online voice of the company. Casey does a nice job in general, concentrating mostly on Facebook and Instagram, posting photos of moments he shares with customers while he's slinging pizzas from the kitchen.
For most small B2C establishments, particularly brick-and-mortar retail and dining, social media presents a challenge in terms of authenticity, timeliness and scale. Casey at the pizza place is able to capture pure moments as they happen and deliver them to his online audience, such as a toddler enjoying a slice while wearing a Superman cape, or a young couple celebrating their anniversary at the table of their first date. He has the authenticity piece down, but laments the fact that most social media postings only happen while he's on the clock.
This got me thinking about why businesses (small and large) insist on one centralized and dedicated staffer to administer social media accounts. What would happen if every waiter had access to the company Instagram or Twitter accounts from their phone? Would they be able to capture and post even more engaging content? Would it bring the brand to life for more hours during the day? Would it give employees a newfound vested interest in public perception and customer satisfaction?
Obviously this wouldn't be a great fit for every business, and would require an investment in training, content governance and oversight by a responsible community manager. Posting too often is a frequently-cited reason for unlikes and unfollows, and snafus caused by mixing personal/professional tweets has led to more than one PR nightmare.
At the same time, allowing more employees the access and freedom to post on social media on behalf of the brand could reduce bottlenecks and give the community a unique glimpse into the business. I'm betting more than one bold brand could benefits from such a strategy. What do you think?