I’m an Editor, a Video Maker, and a Poet.

Hello world! I’ve been busy this Fall and into the Winter, but it’s time for an update. I’ve been working on a few projects for work and for fun. First of all:

Presto-Matic, editor. It does have a ring to it.

The book I helped edit was recently published! It’s called Napoleon Wasn’t Exiled by Victor Rallo, and has just released; I’ll post an update with a link to Amazon.com when it’s up. It’s my first credit as an editor in a published work, so yay for that. And it has given me the itch to get into gear in finishing my own stories to get published, but that’s a post for another time!

Something that I’ve been working on that I’ve very proud of is… (drumroll) the new home of Post It Poetry! The new home of my Post It Poetry project is at www.postitpoetry.com (Go ahead, take a look. You know you want to.) I’m still working on streamlining how to upload images of poems, but the site is up and functional for now, so get writing!

I made a few videos for fun as well… One in the spirit of Halloween (and The Sweetest Temptations blog, check them out!) and another during Hurricane Irene after I filmed outside during a state of emergency evacuation like a crazy person, then edited behind sandbagged doors until the power went out. So yeah, enjoy those.

I have some other things projects cooking as well,so keep an eye out!

Social Media Done Right: GetBusyMedia Interviews the Social Media Chef

I recently had the distinct pleasure of being interviewed by Brian Morris at GetBusyMedia about my work as the Social Media Chef. Brian is a fellow Red Bank local and frequent visitor to Basil T’s, one of the restaurants I do social media marketing for. He noticed the expansive amount of content being put into the marketing campaign for Basil’s (Facebook, video recipes, Twitter, the works) but honed in on a specific point he thought I excelled at: engagement.

We exchanged a few emails and a few days later I answered Brian’s questions to feature on GetBusyMedia. You can read the full interview below, or over at GetBusyMedia.com.

For me, it was a great opportunity to respond to some targeted, well thought out questions. My favorite was the last question:

Q. What is the best piece of advice you could give a small business regarding social media and getting more engagement with their customers?

A. Keep the “social” aspect alive in your social media. Don’t think of Twitter and Facebook as radio stations where you broadcast messages to your customers. Find which content is relevant to them by engaging in conversations and always continue to release new content on a regular basis.

The interview was also featured on SmallBizTrends.com as a case study on How To Do Social Media Right!

-The Interview-

Did your foray into social media begin as a side project and build over time or did you fully immerse Basil T’s from the beginning?

Our social media marketing campaign began around June in 2009 when I was hired on to work on Basil T’s web presence. The work was part-time at first, but by the end of the summer, we’d already had tremendous success on YouTube, Facebook, and with our email newsletter list. In the Fall, I was hired on full time to do all the online content management, and was fully immersed in blogging, producing videos and engaging customers online for Basil T’s and Undici.

Which aspect is your personal favorite?

I have a background in writing, so researching and writing content for our blogs is always a highlight for me; I really enjoyed learning and writing about Pizza Napoletana and posting on www.PizzaNJ.net. But my overall favorite has to be hearing back from customers that enjoy our online and offline content. Sometimes we’ll get emails or a YouTube comment about a customer that ate the bolognese sauce at the restaurant, and then made it at home after watching our video recipe on it. I also thoroughly enjoy having the title of Social Media Chef.

What tools do you use to track and analyze your efforts?

We use pretty much everything at our disposal to track and analyze. We monitor our reviews across several different sites daily, our web traffic using Google Analytics and Pages insight, Facebook insight, YouTube insight and several dozen Google Alerts. We try to track which content is the most effective, and learn by what gets the most attention. If our video recipes are getting more attention than our photo galleries and blog posts, we’ll shoot and edit more videos. But it all starts with keeping an eye on what you have out there.

Can you provide any key examples or statistics about how successful your efforts have been?

Our Facebook page for Basil’s quickly grew to one of the most “Liked” pages in the area; we’re nearing 1,500 Likes consisting of mostly local customers who come to our restaurant and are interested in our content. I often post links to our YouTube channel, which is nearing 11,000 upload views and post the videos to our Facebook page. And in the video descriptions on YouTube, there’s a link to our Facebook page; by cross promoting and linking everything, when one of our platforms grows, they all grow.

How much time each week or day is spent on your social media campaign?

I work a 40-50 hour week, and most of my time is spent doing something related to social media for the two restaurants. It sounds like a lot, but between filming videos, editing them, tagging/posting them, writing blog posts, responding to posts and emails from customers, and putting together our monthly newsletters, you can see where the time goes. The email newsletters aren’t exactly what you would consider “social media,” but all the content that is made for it is distributed through our social networks too.

How well do you think the restaurant business and emerging media tie together?

When someone wants to find a place to eat, they will look online. It’s important that we have a good presence online, and are active in the places people look online, whether this be Yelp, Twitter or Facebook. After someone has been to your restaurant and they want to come back or make a comment on their experience, new media is the best tool to engage them, keep the conversation going and get them to share their best experiences with the public.

Do you see a definite ROI on your campaign and how long into the process could you see it?

Absolutely. We could really see how effective our campaigns were after the first few months during the summer, and then again after I was hired on full time and more resources we re-allocated from traditional marketing (print ads, radio, etc.) into new media.

Do you use things such as your Facebook fan page and twitter account to interact with customers and receive feedback?

Yes. We regularly post specials and events to inform our customers of what’s going on. The main way we communicate with customers is through email marketing, but posting and starting conversations through Facebook and Twitter allows for a greater level of communication. If someone had a great meal and posts about it on our Facebook wall, I can respond and include follow-up content such as a special or video relevant to that customer. And while this can also happen through email, Facebook and Twitter are more casual, so people are more likely to start conversations on these platforms. Plus, the conversations that we do engage in on these sites are public for everyone else to see as well.

How have you seen diving into this campaign head on affect other aspects of the business, if it all?

It really helps open communication with our customers. We’re able to promote events more effectively, get the word out about specials quicker, and change things we receive customer feedback on.

What is the best piece of advice you could give a small business regarding social media and getting more engagement with their customers?

Keep the “social” aspect alive in your social media. Don’t think of Twitter and Facebook as radio stations where you broadcast messages to your customers. Find which content is relevant to them by engaging in conversations and always continue to release new content on a regular basis.

When it comes to social media, engagement is the name of the game and Preston Porter and Basil T’s are way ahead of the curve compared to other small businesses just getting started.

Busy Bee

It’s been a busy, busy Spring. I’ve been wearing more hats than ever as the Social Media Chef and loving it!

I’ve been taking a lot of pictures.

Most of them from Undici’s wine lecture dinners. I even get to taste the wines (sometimes). Check out the rest of the pictures on Undici’s Facebook page and drop me a comment!

I’ve been working on some new projects for work.

One of the most recent being the new and improved VictorRallo.com. Made in WordPress, with plenty of interesting videos and articles. I’ve also been going to some really exciting events like Bellissimo Brunello, a brunello tasting event in NYC hosted by James Suckling. James was kind enough to send us some VIP invites. You can read our post on the event here.

I’ve been blogging, writing, and giving Post It Poetry some TLC.

SocialMediaChef.net has been getting the short end of the stick lately. I’ve been posting a bit more over at PrestoWrites!, so keep an eye for more writing to be posted there soon. Post It Poetry has new submissions, so be sure to swing by there and check them out. You might even work up the courage to write and submit one yourself! I’ve been thinking a lot about this project, and have some significant changes coming up the pipe soon…

I’ve been at Starbucks…

Which is where I wrote this post. While I was writing, a white stretch limousine pulled up. Sadly, nobody famous stepped out.

And Now, a Presentation on Using Social Media, Using Only Social Media.

I will be a panelist at the NJ Connect meetup on Wednesday, February 9th! I’m very excited to be presenting, and this post is actually the start of the presentation itself. So enjoy the show and follow the links to continue the presentation across a few of the platforms I use the most! This post is the first slide in my presentation; you can view my entire presentation by clicking the link at the bottom, and then by following the links after that…

Click here to jump to the next part of the presentation!

The Wine Tasting Season Ends, the Trip to Italy Begins

Hello and happy Fall to all! My apologies for the lack of posts; this Social Media Chef has had a very, very busy Autumn. I’ve spent the majority of the last month or so preparing and promoting several amazing wine tasting events for the restaurants I work for. Tasting booklets, promotional materials, email blasts, blog posts, Facebook events, the works. All ending with four final wine tasting events to send out the wine tasting season with a bang. They all had great turnouts and I got to meet some wine folks in the process. Here are links to some of the content from the events, in no particular order:

Wines and Cheeses of Italy
The closing event of Jersey Shore Restaurant Week. Huge crowd of 300+ tasters!

Meet & Greet Tasting with Isabella Oddero
A tasting and bottle signing with the lovely Isabella Oddero.

Accademia del Vino: The Wines of Renato Ratti
The final wine lecture in the 3rd season of the Accademia del Vino Wine Lecture Series at Undici.

An Evening with Joe Bastianich
A rare tasting of Bastianich and La Mozza wines with restaurateur and wine guru Joe Bastianich!

And as the wine season ends, I have just enough time to catch my breath before jumping on a plane to Italy!

After hours of editing travel footage and tasting dozens of wines from every region, I’m finally traveling to Italy. My travels will take me to Piemonte (specifically Alba) to collect some video, photos, and write articles during the trip. I can’t reveal the full details surrounding my work on the trip just yet, but expect some exciting news in the near future. It will only be a short 5 day venture, and I’ll be chronicling all my travels right here (of course), so keep an eye out for new posts coming soon!

NYC Delivery!

I recently had the rare and distinct high-speed pleasure of accompanying Victor Rallo of RalloWines.com on a chance wine delivery to New York City. 107 degrees is far too hot to ship wine, but Victor was determined that the large order get to his customer on time. The Social Media Chef(yours truly) tagged along as a makeshift camera man and extra hand for running the wine into its destination while Victor double parked in front of a UPS truck, as you’ll see.

A Visual Taste of WBC10

Here’s a video taste of the 2010 North American Wine Bloggers Conference (aka #WBC10)

There are dozens of posts and videos (at least 100) about the Wine Bloggers Conference going into detail about many of the things people loved about the event. You can read my top 10, but not really top 10 list for more of my favorite things at the conference. With this short video, I tried to capture the feeling of specific moments during this event that came from the local wineries, the land, the wine itself, and of course the wonderful wine community. See you all next year in Charlottesville!

What was your single favorite moment of WBC10?

Top 10 Reasons I’m Not Making a Top 10 List About the 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference

Now that the 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference is over, it seems that a “Top Ten List” fever has broken out amongst many of the bloggers in attendance. Maybe it’s the logical way to organize and post about one’s experiences at the event, maybe it’s becoming a trend within the tight community forming around the event, or maybe it’s a symptom of withdrawal from three days of wine tastings starting at 10am. Whatever the cause of this epidemic is, I’m here to tell you my top ten reasons I’m not making a top ten list.

1. This event was amazing. It was my first large scale blogging conference, and there was far too much awesome to fit into just ten points.

2. Who has time to create a top ten list when you could be talking to people from the conference on Twitter?? Twitter and the tag #wbc10 was a huge communication tool before, during, and after this event. It made communication so fluid, and let everyone share every detail of the event from every angle in real time; I can’t imagine the event without it. I’ve connected with some really great people through Twitter, and been able to keep the conversation going with the bloggers I met at the conference. Plus, there are so many people sharing all the great posts on the event, how could you think about writing when there’s so much to read?

3. Why sit on your computer making a list when there are so many palate-blowingly good wines you could be tasting? The amount of wine I got to taste at wbc10 was staggering. (and in some cases, lead to staggering) There were so many quality wineries with so much delicious that if I bought even one bottle of every wine I liked from the conference, I’d be broke before I finished this list.

4. Instead of typing a list inside, you could be touring one of the many stunning Washington wineries! (I of course am stuck in New Jersey, allowing me to write this list for you with a clean yet thirsty conscience) I  got to visit Cougar Crest (which had a refreshing Grenache Rose), Skylite Cellars (with some strikingly good Syrah), and Pepper Bridge (with a tasty Merlot that was right up my alley).

5. I’m going through the notes on all the great keynote speakers, and I don’t see anything about writing a top-ten list. I see I jotted some things down about the endless debate area of wine review writing and wine blogging, the strong online writing community and it’s varying opinion on paid vs unpaid writing, and the ever evolving future home of the wine review. As a blogger who is still getting into the vast world of wine writing, these keynotes gave me a much clearer image of the online wine writing landscape. But nobody said anything about lists!

6. In fact, the only list I remember hearing was the Twenty-four Theses at the More Effective Writing in Your Blog breakout session. Twenty-four well written, well stated points: now that’s a list. And as a writer, I greatly enjoyed it. I’m also far too busy going through all the ultra-helpful points covered in the Vlogging breakout session.

7. If I was to make a list, at least three of the points would be crediting the event staff, and the folks at Zephyr Wine Adventures who made the whole shindig possible. Extra props to Reno for being everywhere at once. That dude moves so fast, at one point I swore there was two of him running around.

8. I should be packing my bags for a return trip to Walla Walla instead of typing. The town was charming, the people were welcoming, and the local wine community thriving. If I wasn’t on the exact opposite side of the country, I’d be checking back into the Comfort Inn this weekend.

9. I might just give up blogging all together to peruse my new passion for ice sculpting

10. And lastly, why would I make a top ten list when there are already several awesome, well written, and entertaining top-ten lists out there? In case you’ve been stuck with the fail whale all day, these are what everyone is talking about:

Top Ten Pre 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference List! Seriously!

Not Another Top Ten List From the 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference!

Top 10 Highlights from #WBC10

Top 10 Things I Learned at Wine Camp

Ten Things I Learned at WBC10

The Beer Wench did a Top Ten list in Tweets. Check out her Twitter here

So, those are my top ten reasons why I’m not going to- oh my. My subconscious has been infiltrated by the great wine-minded community I spent the weekend with! Oh well, I suppose having the best wine bloggers in the industry rub off on you isn’t so bad. Cheers!

The Social Media Chef

Hi, I’m Preston Porter.  I’m a writer, a blogger, social media enthusiast, marketer (you can read more about my background in writing and the web here), but my most recent title is Social Media Chef. Over the last year, I’ve graduated college, (BA in Literature and Creative Writing) interned at a PR firm, and done some freelance work for restaurants. After a few months of great online growth, I was hired as a full time, in-house online marketing/web content/business development manager. This mouthful of a job title eventually was replaced by the much catchier title of “Social Media Chef.”

In a nutshell, I create and coordinate all the delicious content surrounding the restaurants and websites I work for, and serve it up to the customers. I shoot/edit video recipes, oversee marketing campaigns, post updates on special offers, write articles on Italian foods and ingredients, post travel videos, and a wide spectrum of things that wine and food lovers enjoy. I’m always looking to connect with other foodies, wine enthusiasts, bloggers, writers, and I’d probably love to hear from you.

I’m not a chef (my cooking ability extends to making a grilled cheese sandwich), or a sommelier (although I am becoming well versed on Italian wine) but I’m using my strong writing background, my lifelong love for new media, and my experience in marketing  to work in a field I am passionate about. The web is where people are going for information on restaurants, wine, and food; I’m making sure content they’re looking for will be online for them, attractively plated and piping hot. Delicious.

What’s on the menu?

The idea behind this blog is for it to become a stew of the content I create and work with. Articles (written by yours truly and a few guest writers), news on upcoming wine and food events I’m involved with in, videos, pictures, and updates as I meet other bloggers, and even a few winemakers. SocialMediaChef.net is a place for me to share my experiences as the Social Media Chef with you, and a starting point for discussions on the ever evolving online world of food and drink.

Bon Appétit