Social media is now the rule rather than the exception. It certainly didn't take long for that to happen, but a significant number of restaurant operators are still trying to figure out its true value.
According to Shon Christy, founder of Eat Drink Promote, that value is simple: If a brand wants to be relevant five years from now, it needs to have a prevalent presence on social networking sites. Sixty-seven percent of people who use the Internet have a social media profile. The fastest-growing age bracket for such use is the big-spending 30 to 49 year olds.
As operators continue to navigate the growing social space, they now have much more to learn than just Facebook and Twitter. Christy, who spoke on "The Four Pillars of Social Media" at this week's North American Pizza & Ice Cream Show in Columbus, Ohio, said Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Yelp, Foursquare, YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn are all viable marketing platforms.