Reindl
Rottgers
Schrauder
Schreiber
Sébert




SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN



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(Slide # 58 – intro to web 2.0)

As suggested in the slide shown above, we would like to start off by introducing the business model of MyTable in order to get clarity about the company and the product. As a consequence of this and the current situation, we define the objectives for our current campaign. For having a complete understanding of the competitive environment, we also analyze our main competitors and examine whether and how we can learn from them. Finally, we describe our social media strategy and the action plan we want to follow. We also propose some ideas we had, which cannot be done immediately because of lacking time and budget but may be useful to support the success in the future.

Status Quo & Objectives:

MyTable is an online reservation tool that enables people from all over the world to find and reserve restaurants in Europe online. For the convenience, it is possible to filter the available restaurants by special criteria, include price, cuisine type and others. Because guests can also rate the quality of the restaurant, interested customers can benefit from the experiences made by peers. For restaurants it offers the advantage to receive reservations from all over the world along with the convenient booking system. Furthermore, the presence on such a system with global reach offers new marketing channels for the restaurant. Customers can book both via the website and the newly developed smart phone apps of MyTable. (http://www.mytable.com/en/about)
As the business model of MyTable is online-based and thus attracts mostly people that are frequently online, it is important to have a strong presence in the social media websites. However, the facebook fanpage so far has only about 270 fans with a low degree of participation. On the facebook page, MyTable offers mainly information about restaurants that recently joined MyTable or they promote a lottery of the website, where you can win a voucher for a dinner.
As a result of this, the aim of this social media campaign is to increase the fans on the facebook page. This could give more attention to the great services MyTable can offer in general and to special events and activities in particular. Furthermore, a strong position on facebook would improve the reputation of MyTable and give the company a stronger position when negotiating with restaurants that might want to join. By fostering interaction with many potential customers on facebook, MyTable could also learn about preferences and improve their services.

Competitors

In order to understand what it needs to have a successful facebook page, we want to analyze what competitors are doing in their social media activities and how we can learn from this.

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(Slide # 39 – web2zero strategies)


In the following table you can find an overview for the main competitors and their success on facebook:

Opentable
Toptable
Urbanspoon
iTaste
MyTable
I Like
36.500
8.800
4.700
4000
258
Speaking About
378
73
185
43
16

It is obvious that MyTable is clearly behind the leading competitors in this field, so that we will analyze the two most successful companies, Opentable and Toptable in order to get some insights and ideas, on which activities to focus in the social media campaign. In our report, we focus only on the social media activities with a focus on facebook, as the task is only to improve the facebook page and not to analyze business models.


OpenTable
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https://www.facebook.com/#!/OpenTable

OpenTable offers on its facebook page a broad variety of different activities that foster customer involvement and interaction. As an example one could cite their voting for the best female chief, which triggered more than 40 comments within 5 days:

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Via http://blog.opentable.com/ they also complement their facebook activities with a blog about interesting news about the dining industry and popular dishes.

Other activities of OpenTable include:
- Votings for best dish
- Celebrity Dining
- TOP 100 Dining Hot Spots
- Vote and win a free dinner
- …

To sum this up, we can say that MyTable can learn a lot from OpenTable, although the geographic focus is different for both companies, being in the US for OpenTable and Europe for MyTable. Nevertheless, OpenTable shows how to increase customer engagement with votings, interesting information about dining and special competitions. So, MyTable should focus on creating more interesting content on the facebook page, not only about new restaurants but the complete topic of dining.


toptable
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https://www.facebook.com/#!/toptable

Similar to OpenTable, toptable offers as well very diverse activities on its facebook page. They also frame their page not only as reservation service but more general as “a place to talk about food”, which may be appealing to more people. Other activities of toptable on facebook include:
- Reward Points
- Ratings for best restaurants
- Voting for favourite easter dish
- Links to other social media activities: Pinterest, Instagram, iPad Application
- Survey in order to win a free meal
Here, very interesting is the promotion for special reward points you can get for booking online, which creates additional incentives in comparison to the numerous competitors. Furthermore, toptable complements its facebook presence with activities on other social media platforms like Pinterest or Instagram and informs about this frequently. Similar to OpenTable, they also offer some votings, additional information and competitions to win free meals.
In conclusion, MyTable could learn from toptable on how to create additional incentives and how to link complementary activities on social media platforms. Besides, it is very appealing how toptable reacts to seasonal opportunities, for example with the vote for the best easter dish.


Urbanspoon
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https://www.facebook.com/urbanspoon?ref=ts


Besides the already mentioned aspects, Urbanspoon includes many external articles around the topics of dining and food, which makes it a one-stop food portal, which is very convenient to use.


iTaste
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https://www.facebook.com/#!/itaste1


Just as the other companies, iTaste offers various activities, including lotteries, surveys and interesting information for the customers.
After analyzing the activities of our competitors and thinking about new ideas, we finally come up with three main points that will be explained in the following:



OUR CAMPGAIN



Idea #1 – Voting for the best restaurant
First, we were looking for a way to increase the number of people aware of the fan page. It appeared to us that one of the easiest solutions would be to involve the “friends” of people who already knew the page: friends of the current fans, friends of Mytable.com employees and owners’ friends of the partners’ restaurants.

To do so we thought of organizing a contest: getting people to vote for the best restaurants in given categories through the fan page in order to win a party for free in one of them. By “party” we mean privatizing the place for about 20 people and provide them with drinks for the night. One of us raised the idea that we should define an amount of money not to exceed to organize the party because the cost of the party will vary, depending on the type of the restaurant selected.

Cost: up to 3,000 CHF to organize a nice party for about 25 people in a restaurant.

Pros: this will increase the number of fans thanks to the word-of-mouth from people working for mytable.com or for restaurants selected. Indeed, the reward is incentive, especially for young people, so the information will be widely spread through social media when voting.

Theories from the course:
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Know the audience – slide #76 (more and more people are paying attention to their friends tastes before buying a product or service)


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Know the audience – slide #106 (benefiting from the employees connections)


Idea #2 – Easter special: search Easter eggs and win a meal
As it is Easter, we searched for an idea related to this special event. We thought of doing something similar to what Ikea did for the release of its new catalogue. We wanted to involve users into a funny game which would entertain them without any cost for them and with an attractive reward in the end.
We came up with the idea of organizing a virtual egg search. The concept is the following: we take indoor pictures of partners’ restaurants (taking care about showing the ambiance so the users could identify the type of food served) and then hide some eggs in the snapshots through Photoshop. Then we publish the pictures on the fan page and users have to tag themselves on as many eggs as they can. Depending on the size of the egg they find, they get a specific reward ranging from a drink to a complete meal in the restaurant showed in the picture. People have to like the page before being allowed to participate.

We also argued about the cheapest way to inform people about this game. As radio ads might be too expensive, we finally stated that this event would benefit from the people visiting the page thanks to our first idea.

Costs: 2,000 CHF will be necessary for this event as to offer drinks and meals to 20 people approximately.

Pros: this event will attract people on the fan page where the pictures will be displayed. As they will have to like the page before taking part into the game it will increase the number of fans in a very short time.

Theories from the courses:
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Web2.0 strategy – slide #16 (tagging yourself to get something free)


Idea#3 – Increase interactivity between the fan page and the users
Compared to every competitor’s pages, it is obvious that the fan page lacks interactivity. Indeed, while competitors use their page to interact with users, our page is only used to communicate about new restaurants and potential discounts. This is not enough to make people like the page. They need to be invited to express themselves on specific topics, to be part of a community. Only then they would like the page and add comments.
To do so, we thought that the page should disclose other type of information related to food. For instance, they could display weekly recipes linked with the current season to help users to cook at home. For sure users will react immediately to the recipe, stating whether they like it or not. We also stressed that the page should ask open questions to users, following some thematic. For instance: “This month is the Asian month – which Asiatic restaurant do you recommend?” Then users will react by posting some advice and comments on the page. In a word, users will create valuable content for the page through their recommendations. Last but not least, we suggest that articles related to food habits and / or tendencies from blogs and newspapers be published on the page. This will help to diversify the content of the page so everybody could find an interest to it.

Cost: this solution is entirely free and needs only that someone from Mytable.com takes some time everyday to search for articles and themes. This person will have to be careful on the time of the day chosen to release new information. Indeed, early in the morning and late in the afternoon are the best moment to do so because it is the peak hour on Facebook.

Pros: An attractive page is an interactive page where people compare their experience and feeling. Updating the fan page with many different types of information related to the food industry is a great way to create a wide community. Soon, all the comments and posts will form a guideline available to anybody and the number of fans will increase.

Theories from the course:

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Intro to Web2 - Slide #56

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Crowdsourcing – Slide #25 (create a valuable content thanks to the crowd experience and advice)


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Webmarketing – Slide #57 (need for interacting with other online media and website to increase the page visibility)


Alternative Ideas
Before deciding on mentioned campaign, we brainstormed other possibilities to increase the number of fans on our facebook page and to make our page more interactive. They following paragraphs summarize the findings and some of them are subject for future use.
Generally we see the need to make the page more interesting for people interested in food. This should go further than our actual business model of enabling reservations, by enabling users e.g. to post recipes or asking and ranking of favorite dishes. Moreover certain events can be organized in member restaurant (e.g. on a monthly basis) and communicated via the facebook page. This engages the members to visit the page regularly (for details: see above).
Moreover pictures of the users in front of or in their favorite restaurant enhances interaction and makes the page more interesting. Let’s get people to upload their pictures and tag their friends. This can also be extended to a ranking and the picture receiving the most votes per month wins a free meal in the shown restaurant.
Another idea to gain loyalty is to introduce a discount for frequent users. We thought that e.g. a customer using the MyTable for the tenth time to do a reservation gets a discount for the next meal he orders. Or after booking a table for the tenth time in a certain restaurant, he is able to reserve a table even when the restaurant is overbooked. Thus he becomes a special status and enjoys this by communicating it to his friends and using it.
Other general ideas to increase the awareness for our page in the society, is to regular post news on blogs. For example we can get one of the chefs of our restaurants once per week to publish a new recipe or a story. The mentioned story is linked to our page to reserve a plate and to the page of the restaurant to get more information. This way we and our partners – the restaurants – gain publicity. Other tools are advertisements on food portals or radio advertisements for certain events. Using the radio is rather old-fashioned, but can be a good tool to reach a certain geographically limited market/city.

In the long-run a real attention catcher would be an augmented reality tool. Also this is too expensive right now, the development of a restaurant game has the potential to really gain a lot of attention and distinct our site from competitors. E.g. an Iphone app should be developed. This app can show certain games (like blind dating, find a treasure on the restaurant), news (like videos of celebrities who have been to this restaurant) or tools (e.g. like a real-time translation device of the menu in other languages or description of the ingredients). The possibilities are unlimited. For next year’s eastern also a “search for the Easter egg” tool can be started. Customers could for example hide virtual Easter eggs and other then can search for it (e.g. in a restaurant). Moreover little surprises could be hidden etc.
Generally, as we already propose with our eastern special, we think seasonal activities are a good tool to gain regular attention. For the summer we thought about the European football championship. There could be football parties, a bet-game or you can win a ticket for your favorite team if you solve a certain mission. Similar things can happen for other big events, like the Oscars, Christmas or especially Valentine’s day (reserve a table for your love in an uncomplicated way). Valentine’s days has more potential like special romantic dinners where you can reserve or win a violin player etc.
Another idea is to start a recipe competition. Like McDonalds did it with “Build your own Burger” customers can propose recipes for which other users can vote then. The winning recipe is then cooked for you in your restaurant and is also shown on the menu for one week (e.g. Steak a la Frederico).
For all mentioned competitions prices we thought about can also be to win a party for you and your friends, win a dinner with your friends or win the chef of your favorite restaurant to cook at your place.

Moreover generally the interconnection with other pages needs to be risen, e.g. by being more active on twitter and other networks.

All in all however we decided for our mentioned campaign as the Eastern-action is just perfectly timed right now and by starting the restaurant competition we can easily benefit from the fan bases of our partner restaurants. Some of them are already famous and by getting them to support our page and our voting campaign, many of their customers get linked to our page.