A few weeks ago, I came across Lunchbox Laboratory on Flickr and instantly became a fan, even though it is located thousands of miles away from where I live in New Jersey. One look at the many types of burgers and it’s hard not to have a craving for one of these colossal creations (unless, of course, you are not a carnivore – not that there is anything wrong with that).
I shared this find with a client based in Foothill Ranch, CA. Chantel Cipriano was planning a weekend trip to Seattle and I immediately recommended the best burger I’ve never tasted.
Long story longer, Chantel went to Lunchbox Laboratory and the place (as well as the burger and Nutella milkshake) did not disappoint. “Thanks for the recommendation,” she texted me during lunch. “This is one of the best burgers I ever had.”
Let’s recap this social media transaction. Someone in New Jersey recommended a restaurant on the other side of the country – without ever stepping foot in Seattle and actually experiencing the food. Flickr, combined with sites such as Yelp, provided the resources for me to discover this place virtually, and make an informed suggestion. And this generated a new customer for Lunchbox Laboratory.
I often speak with companies who are skeptical about the value of social media. They often ask, “what is the ROI?” or “how can I measure it?” These are valid questions, especially when budgets are stretched.
The calculus to measure social media is not exact. However, my serendipitous discovery of Lunchbox Laboratory provides a valuable lesson that underscores the power of a socially connected world, where information and recommendations are only a few clicks away.
While this example focuses on hamburgers, the same could apply to hotel accommodations, auto parts, construction equipment and any other product, service or industry. Everyone is an influencer in something, and when you tap into their knowledge, expertise and discoveries via social media, it’s a win-win for all.
What’s your take?