When something or someone has made me happy, or has taught me something wonderful, or has given me reason to think deeply, I want to shout it to the world. Thanks to digital and social technology, I can almost do that. Almost.
It is my hope that one day, every hard-working, deserving local business has a digital presence that is searchable, findable and shareable . . . not so they can survive or thrive as a business, but so that their customers’ experience can include the satisfaction of connecting with them and advocating for them. I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb when I say that consumers expect to be able to do that.
A Case Study In The Making
I am currently working on a project I call Farm Food 4 U. The primary objective is to make digital connections between Colorado farmers, local restaurants and locavores. I’m documenting the project as part of a case study, and designing a model that can be piloted by local food systems that want to amplify their message through the targeted reach of digital.
In addition to local farmers and restaurants that source locally, I’m also connecting with conversations about the food movement on a national level; for example, the USDA, Slow Food USA, Local Harvest and Farm Aid.
There is potential for reaching an international audience, but at this stage of the project I’m focusing my energy locally. It is at the local level that I see the greatest need.
One of my favorite restaurants in the Denver area is Potager. Their vision is to “draw upon the season and what is grown locally.” They are a perfect fit for the case study.
Potager has a page on their website listing all the local farms they source from. They don’t, however, display any of their social badges even though they have a presence on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. They also have a Twitter account with 43 followers despite the fact they have never tweeted.
As a happy customer of Potager’s, I was frustrated by the fact that it wasn’t convenient for me to share my experience at their restaurant. I certainly couldn’t do it “in the moment,” from my phone. Even after getting home, it took a good amount of searching on the computer to make the connection with them.
Potager does a booming business and probably sees no need to optimize their digital presence. But I wonder if they’d feel differently if they realized that a well-organized digital presence would enhance the customer’s experience.
A bigger picture
Upon finding the various (albeit disparate) digital assets of this wonderful restaurant, I have an even greater appreciation for who they are and what they do. Their posts on Facebook and Instagram are consistently entertaining, informative (a sneak peek of their menu) and mouth-watering.
Although Potager doesn’t link out from their website to the sites of the farms they source from, they are connected with many of those farms on Instagram and Facebook. In fact, after a little poking around I was able to connect with other locavore types, based on references from Potager. THAT’s what I call networking!
Digital Presence from the Consumer’s Perspective
I’ll say it again: It is my hope that one day, every hard-working, deserving local business has a digital presence that is searchable, findable and shareable.
Although I am a digital strategist and make it my business to help local businesses increase their digital visibility, I am first and foremost a consumer. I want to be able to search, find and share on social channels; but I’d like the searching to be easier so that that sharing can happen more naturally.