End of Summer Tweet Up in Rhode Island

August 11, 2009

 If you are a professional living in the Rhode Island area and are a fan of Twitter and social networking in general – or you want to learn more about how it can help your business – check out our event:

 Join us on August 18, 2009 for Rhode Island’s End of Summer Tweet Up event on the beautiful RI coast in Narragansett.

The event will be hosted by the folks here at Caster and the Cheeky Monkey Restaurant, recently named Best Restaurant of South County by Rhode Island Monthly.

Designed to promote networking and social media discussions among Rhode Island professionals, the event will feature samples from 3 new appetizers from Cheeky Monkey chef Jeff Bryers with the chance to vote one onto their regular menu. A cash bar will be available.

The use of social networking sites like Twitter have exploded in the past year and more and more Rhode Islanders have logged on to take advantage of their benefits.

Come and talk with other professionals on their experience with social media tools, learn new ideas and suggestions for your business and meet face to face with fellow Twitterers.

Space is limited – reserve your space today at http://summertweetupri.eventbrite.com/

Any questions or comments? Contact Ashley Daigneault at Caster Communications – ashley@castercomm.com or (401) 792-7080.

Social Media is a Two-way Street for Restaurants

July 8, 2009

Full Disclosure – Caster started working with the Cheeky Monkey because it’s close by and our entire agency loves the food, ambiance and especially the owners.  The colorful restaurant is an independently owned eatery that relies on local food vendors when possible and treats every patron as if they are a WJAR, channel 10 TV celebrity (who also happens to be a regular).

Cheeky Monkey Logo - high res

Earlier this week, Examiner.com blogger and Rhode Island social media expert Cheryl Phillips wrote an article titled, Social media replaces traditional advertising for The Cheeky Monkey restaurant. In the piece she talked about the benefits of social media for small businesses (especially restaurants) from a cost and outreach perspective.

Phillips states, “An advertisement in a newspaper lasts only until it goes in the recycle bin. Radio is a great advertising medium but it’s costly and the target market has to be just right…Facebook? It’s free. Yes, it takes work to keep up the fan page but it’s interactive and customers like to feel involved. Twitter gives a more immediate message to the public and can also direct people to the Facebook site. The networking possibilities with social media are endless and it’s working in a big way for The Cheeky Monkey Restaurant.”

While everything Cheryl says is right on, the point I’d like to highlight is the two-way communication that exists with social media engines. Because this article has NOTHING to do with a wine dinner, new menu or other tangible restaurant event, one might question how much it can actually help the bottom line. This thinking is outdated and naive.

As a result of the article being spread virally, the Cheeky Monkey saw significant increases in newsletter requests, twitter followers and FB fans over the three-day span since it was posted.  While new Cheeky people may not immediately translate into more seafood paella or grilled Moroccan BBQ Atlantic salmon being sold, their choice to engage and be engaged is as valuable as any coupon or print ad.  The need to be interesting, topical and value-conscious is imperative for the restaurant but there is no better long-term strategy for growth than direct, back-and-forth communication with customers, especially loyal ones. And each new follower who’s never visited has the potential to become a loyal customer.

From a big picture perspective, as the Cheeky Monkey network expands, the restaurant will be able to offer more value to patrons and ultimately cater to their whims whether it is adding new dishes to the menu, giving away coupons/gift certifiates, hosting themed events or throwing a “Loyalty Party” for customers who follow the social media efforts (as they did last week).

No matter if you’re working for Comcast, Domino’s Pizza or the Cheeky Monkey restaurant, there is some form of social media that can benefit your business. However, unlike traditional media, social media is a two-way street and you can’t expect customers to blindly support without some kind of incentive, whether it’s informational or monetary. 

With that in mind, to keep growing your knowledge of new media, the Cheeky highly recommends you follow Cheryl Phillips on Twitter (@thedailyblonde) and read her social media blog (always looking for RI success stories).

For those looking to jump the Cheeky Monkey bandwagon, your support is welcome:

Twitter: @CheekyRI

Facebook: Cheeky Monkey Fan Page

Posted by: Nick Brown

Rhode Island, More than just Understaffed Strip Clubs

March 24, 2009

If you managed to avoid reading or hearing about the job fair at Rhode Island’s Foxy Lady gentleman’s club in Providence this past weekend,  you must’ve been hiding in a champagne room somewhere. Aside from local saturation, news outlets including Yahoo, the Boston Herald, and even CNN  decided the human interest angle of strippers at a job fair was too much to ignore, thus “making it rain” with millions of dollars in free promotion for the strip joint.

The overused joke, “No need to buy a new wardrobe.” Guffaw!

Don’t get me wrong, Rhode Island needs the Foxy Lady. Legs and Eggs (every Friday starting at 6 a.m.) is an Ocean State institution on par with political corruption, quahogs and complaining about tourists who support our economy. Myself and nearly every one of my friends has patronized “The Foxy” for a bachelor party or just to whittle away the doldrums of winter one lapdance at a time. Truth be told, I appreciate the moxie of the Foxy co-owner, Thomas Tsoumas, I think he has a little P.T. Barnum in him.  

As “proud” as we are of our lascivious landmark, I feel as though Rhode Island gets pigeon-holed with some of the mainstream stories the national media presents. Forget the fact that we’re the smallest state in the country battling with Michigan for the highest unemployment rate while besieged by some the highest taxes in the nation. Considering our whole state is the size of Houston, Texas, I don’t expect sympathy for our economic plight, but how about some love for our diverse regional foibles and various pop culture contributions?

Included below are a mishmash of Rhody-related morsels to masticate on and broaden your view of the state officially known as Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. If you have visited or live in the state, we welcome your additions in the Comments section.

The Incomplete Guide to why Rhode Island is Wicked Awesome:

1.) Our lexicon embraces “wicked” as an adjective.

2.) My hometown, Portsmouth, laid claim to “Birthplace of American Democracy” and even erected a welcome sign to assert it. Too bad Williamsburg, I guess Virginia is just for lovers in denial.   

3.) Convicted ex-capital city mayors are not only embraced when they get out of jail, they are given a public forum to call out the injustices of others.

4.) Two drinks: Del’s Frozen Lemonade and an Awful Awful from Newport Creamery. Go with Oreo and a choclate base and you might need a change of underclothes.

5.) Ever heard of a little band called Smashmouth? Yeah, my friend’s sister dated the driver of their tour bus.

6.) The first ever Black Regiment, a group of slaves-turned-soldiers from R.I. joined the Continental Army in battling the lecherous redcoats. Battle of Rhode Island, 1778, that’s right.

7.) We have a Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Galilee, Little Compton, and a Wyoming all within our borders. 

8.) One of the funniest shows on TV, Fox’s Family Guy, is set in a made-up town called Quahog, RI. Yes, all of our children speak eloquently with British accents and our dogs talk, drink martinis and smoke cigarettes. 

9.) The Tennis Hall of Fame is located in Newport. We get at least one Martina Navratilova sighting a year.

10.) New England Pest Control’s Big Blue Bug.

11.) Newport’s White Horse Tavern was built in 1673 and is the oldest operating tavern in the United States.

12.) Bristol, RI has the longest running 4th of July Parade in the history of the world, we’ve been flipping the bird to the Brits with fireworks and binge drinking since 1785.  

13.) In Scituate, Rhode Island it is illegal to keep a flock of chickens in your motorhome if you live in a trailer park. No link, but it’s in the town charter, ask Cletus at the town administration shed.

14.) The Cheeky Monkey restaurant in Narragansett, where the cuisine, service and ambiance are so ambrosial that sometimes I question whether chewing the food is doing it an injustice. They’re on Facebook you know.

15.) Waterfire in Providence. It’s summer, visual art, music, food, nightime and a swell date or romance destination. Go when they have a contingency of Brazilian samba dancers, musicians and chuhascaria and you will not be dissapointed.

16.) The Great Chowder Cook-off and St. Patty’s Day in Newport.

 17.) Autocrat – maker of Coffee Syrup. Since 1920, our state has loyally supported the Lincoln, RI based company by drinking coffee milk made with a dark amber-hued, satiny syrup mixed with 2% or whole. The state legislature even named it the Official State Drink of Rhode Island in 1997.  All this despite the fact that virtually no consumers outside our state drink it and we chug to the tune of 31 million glasses a year.

Thanks Rhode Island!

Posted by: Nick