Michael Erickson (Twitter; Facebook) is director of marketing at Fifth Group Restaurants — a portfolio of five distinct restaurants here in Atlanta. Michael is also one of the makeover consultants for the upcoming Social Media Makeover Forum.
He has worked for large advertising agencies in Atlanta including Earle Palmer Brown, Cole Henderson Drake, The Joey Reiman Agency and Ogilvy & Mather and Barkley in Kansas City, MO.
I asked Michael and the rest of the makeover consultants scheduled to speak at the Forum to share advice and insights into the biggest social media mistakes made by small businesses.
Michael’s Biggest Makeover Tip: “When it comes to social media, personalize your voice. It’s something most companies fail to do when starting out.”
While 8 Do’s & Don’ts of Twitter for Restaurants advices against owners tweeting about themselves, Michael believes there are “legitimate” ways to infuse a personal perspective without alienating your fans and followers.
Michael admits he was afraid to do so at first. The initial result: a robotic voice that sounded unauthentic.
Then he stepped back and realized it needed to be a conversation. Driving to work one day it hit him. Befitting a person who works for restaurants, he realized it was like a dinner party, and you don’t want to sit next to the boring person. He found his voice and has achieved a more engaged following.
His strategy – one corporate Twitter site for Fifth Group Restaurants and individual Facebook pages for each restaurant to reflect each restaurant’s individual style. And the chef’s have their own separate voices online.
Michael also warned about entrusting the conversation to an outsider who doesn’t know the company or is too young manage the message.
And sticking to the food theme, he recognizes that social media is a “hungry beast;” it needs to be fed at least an hour each day on a minimum basis.
But all that focus pays off – especially when he can use social media to direct, for example, a woman to South City Kitchen when she queries on a food site she is visiting Atlanta and is looking for authentic fried chicken.