"We are all in this humans race together and it's our job to make sure we all cross the finish line as one."

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tales of The Heart from Twitterville: Touching the Soul Not Just The Wallet

Over the last couple of months I have rundown ways for you to navigate your way through Twitterville to maximize your visit to that fair little hamlet.
But, I’m going to lighten the load a bit this week and tell you what fun you can have and what a difference you can make while visiting this exciting internet village with some of the “interesting” things that have happened in my travels…

Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?

Being the eyes, voice and hears of our Twitter account I have about 850 faces embedded in my mind. As I make my way through our stores and even on the streets of NYC, I am constantly seeing the actual 3 dimensional fleshy faces of the followers of our restaurant.
Of course I have Twitter on my Blackberry so I am able to interact instantly with the people in my neighborhood.

One day I was checking in with one of my promo ambassadors on location and spotted two people who are followers from an insurance office and have been obsessed with finding out who I was. Who was the man behind the icon? As one of them passed me I noticed she had purchased a pasta and was wearing a stylish yellow blouse that was a magnet for pasta sauce. As she left the establishment I began to write her a message that said, “I hope you enjoy the pasta! Do be careful though with a yellow shirt!”
She whizzed around, looked from left to right and grabbed urgently at her co-worker. She put her food down and started frantically typing. “Where R U?”
“I’m in your Blackberry silly! Haha” I wrote back!
They charged back into the store and grilled the poor manager who admirably kept a straight face while saying he didn’t know who I was.
The urgency to find out who I was grew.
The Game was afoot!
A few days passed and I once again was in the same location and noticed the same young lady and a different coworker at the salad bar. I decided to get a little bolder and walked along the side of the pair as they approached the cashier. Standing 4 feet from them I wrote the coworker this time; “Personally, Ed, I would have gotten the Sesame Ginger Dressing, but that’s me.”
Quickly tucking the Blackberry into my pocket, I veered off and faded into the crowd.
To watch the pair of them approach every customer that was typing on a Blackberry thinking it was me, was Candid Camera worthy material! I of course brought them lunch on their next visit for being such great sports.
Still to this day they wonder; who was that masked MetroMan?

Happy Birthday To You!

A good eye catches when Tweeters are celebrating birthdays and this eye loves a good birthday! When ever I do catch one, I of course offer to buy them a piece of cake when they visit us that day which pretty much guarantees they will bring a pal with them (up sell Twitter style!). I decided to take it a step further though. I knew this person was in our locations all the time and added some bells and whistles to their birthday cake treat.
The guest was instructed by me to tell the manager that they were “sent by MetroMan for free cake”. What they didn’t know was I had sent our promo team, who was in the field that day, to that store to sing Happy Birthday and put birthday hats on their heads. When they checked in with our GM, he smiled and signaled the promo team waiting to the side. Her reaction was that of a 5 year olds when the Magician arrives for their Birthday Party.
They had a blast and they of course chatted about it on Twitter to all their local friends who signed on to follow us!

Smile (Though Your Heart is Aching)

While running one of our contests on a gloomy rainy morning, I noticed one of our followers had posted a picture of herself with the Tweet message saying, “Does this look sad enough?”
Curious, I Tweeted her. “Not doing the contest today? Why so blue?”
Turns out her father had passed away the day before and she was unable to return to home to attend the funeral due to finances. I had remembered that at one point she had Tweeted us questioning why we didn’t carry Honey Nut Cheerios as a cereal selection as is it was her favorite. So I called the store she ordered from regularly and had the manager check her order history to see what she enjoyed ordering on a regular bases. From there, we created a small gift basket with her favorite lunch and snacks and right in the center, a box of Honey Nut Cheerios and delivered it to her that morning.
She was so overwhelmed with gratitude she could not stop talking about us on Twitter and even came by the store to hug our manager.

The point I think I’m trying to make here is not one of just breaking down the Fourth Wall of Twitter or any other Marketing tools we use to touch our customer base for goodwill points, but doing things from a Human stand point.

If we all took the time to stop and listen and watch what others days are like, and we as an industry can make that person’s day a little brighter and put a smile on their face, then we, my friends, have earned our mantle of “hospitality industry.”

John Lennon once said, "Once we realize we are all the same people we are all of the same Earth, then we can just get on with it." Let’s get on with it and bring a little genuine thoughtfulness to our industry through the power of Marketing.

Eat Well. Live Well. Peace.

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