Those Who Get It: TenderGreens

This post is a continuation of a regular feature here at Smarter Biz: the Those Who Get It interviews. I have a pretty sweet questionnaire that goes out to people who I think are using social media effectively in the work place, and they get to tell us what they’re thinking and doing with regards to new media marketing.

Our next interview is with Erik Oberholtzer of TenderGreens. You can find TenderGreens online @tendergreens and on Facebook as well.

1. Who are you and what do you do?

I am the founder of Tender Greens, a farm to table concept with four locations in southern California serving California comfort food in a casual yet sophisticated environment.

2. How did you get involved in social media?

First, our younger employees were on MySpace and we were hearing about it but didn’t see the point. We signed up for Facebook in an effort to get involved. It wasn’t until our publicist gave us a seminar on Twitter and Facebook that we started using both more professionally. Twitter particularly filled the need of getting information out to our customers in real-time. Most importantly our daily specials.

3. What kinds of things do you use social media for?

We use Twitter to post daily specials for individual stores. We also use it to keep followers in the know on expansion plans, construction updates, insider news, etc. Facebook has replaced our newsletter. It allows us to be more current and post information as it happens rather than two months after the fact. Our intent with social media is to reach people virtually the way we would if they were in our restaurant talking to us.

Dialogue is the most rewarding on Facebook and Twitter.

4.What are your online boundaries?

We do not advertise- period. We share the information our customers want to know. Specials, changes in hours due to holidays, expansion updates, etc. Concerning boundaries, we try and stay apolitical online. Our positions on local issues in West Hollywood are sincere but not always appropriate for our customers in San Diego. Also, keep it positive, never post something you would not want repeated in the LA times or read by an investor!

5. Have you seen a return on your investment in social media?

Great return on investment because it is free! Social networking is just another avenue to controlling the message of a brand. When managed with integrity it is an effective way to develop a cult following.

The best thing is we are part of the dialogue that when positive we celebrate and when negative we have an chance to recover and make it right.

6. You have one thing to tell the world. Social media or otherwise. What is it?
Authenticity is key. Social media favors those who are sincere and quickly expose those who are using it to manipulate thru gimmick, promotion or self importance.

You can also download the interview in PDF format here.

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