If you read Wires Crossed, you’ve probably thought once or twice about how social media has changed your life. But how has social media changed the expectations for small business? Wires Crossed sat down with Caroline Condon, social media director at Box 63, to find out.
Situated just off Broadway in New Haven, Box 63 American Bar & Grill is the quintessential American eatery. Rustic wood and steel accents compliment the rugged brick structure to establish a delightfully blue-collar aesthetic. The menu includes burgers with pineapples, fried chicken with waffles, and macaroni with lobster, All-American classics with a hip twist.
But the Box experience is much more than that. The staff at Box 63 embodies a comforting sense of hospitality and kindness that is rare in this day and age. Owners and cousins Tom and Carl Carbone frequently welcome guests at the door, greet them by their first name and create connections the old fashioned way.
While their courtesy will always be acknowledged, the staff of Box 63 has created a connection with the community in modern ways as well. And it’s not just a Twitter account and a Facebook page. Inside the building, Box provides their patrons with the ability to vote for the next song on the sound system via smartphone. Enter your phone number ten times at their Connext tablet - which will periodically notify you of deals and special offers via text - and you get a free dessert. Outside the building, Box maintains their friendly demeanor, offering free birthday dinners via personal Facebook wall posts.
More examples of Box perpetuating a network of participation are abundant. It’s a strategy crafted by the Carbones and carried out by Caroline Condon, the social media director at Box 63. That’s right, restaurants have social media directors now. “For us, it’s about getting people in the door. Once they’re in, we know they will enjoy our vibe.”
That confidence has been with Box since day one, when they set up shop on Elm & Park. The marketing plan included subtly separating Box 63 the eatery and Box 63 the bar, the former geared towards community families and the latter tailored for local college students. As a result, the young enterprise was able to make a big impact. The area had been lacking a standard American grill for decades, and there was a dire need for a cleanlier watering hole than the popular nightclub Toad’s Place.
But Condon stopped us there. She was clear in her assertions that Box 63 didn’t view Toad’s as a competitor. Box’s advanced social media portfolio wasn’t even influenced by the lack of a similar entity at Toad’s. It was always part of the plan.
So is this “plan” the expectation for small business these days? Condon thinks so. “If what we’re doing isn’t the standard, it should be.” Getting connected with the customer at an unbeatable price is at least attractive to the average restaurant owner. Given the proper devices and access, we should expect to see commitments to social media not unlike what we’ve seen through Box 63. It’s what Condon calls a “no-brainer.”
Photo Credit: Earl Lee
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