Dinner, Twitter and Marketing (aka Three of My Favorite Things)

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Kohlrabi, beet, and apple salad with green goddess dressing

On Tuesday evening, I had the opportunity to head up to Cleveland (about an hour north of our office) to my very first Cleveland Dinner Club. I’d been dying to go for months, so a food-obsessed friend here in Canton and I decided it was time to JUST DO IT and make the short trip up to the CLE.

(Patience, please, as I get to the whole web marketing part of the story.)

Cleveland Dinner Club is a group of mostly Cleveland-based food lovers who want to explore the local restaurant scene (no meeting at TGI Friday’s for this crowd!), taste and see what Cleveland’s most innovative chefs are cooking up, and maybe make some new friends along the way.

Each month Cleveland Dinner Club heads to a new spot around town, where the host chef puts together a prix fixe menu for dinner club guests. Tuesday night was no exception: about 20 of us met at a relatively new restaurant, The Black Pig in the Ohio City neighborhood, for a fabulous five-course feast.

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The cool thing about Cleveland Dinner Club, and where this (finally) ties into online marketing, is that their events are promoted almost entirely via Twitter. That’s how I first discovered it; I’m one of their 2,300+ followers. No website, no Facebook page. Just Twitter and a subscriber list. The group’s organizer, Joe, does a great job of leaving no tweet unanswered and keeping followers updated on new developments. I love seeing a club with zero funds make it work via social.

Not surprising, the dinner was a Who’s Who of the Cleveland social media scene. Lots of local Twitter regulars in the crowd. In fact, my Canton friend and I met up at The Black Pig with a Cleveland-based friend of ours, who we got to know almost exclusively via Twitter.

I’ve heard a lot of people say that Twitter has no value – that it’s silly and pointless – but I disagree. Whether you’re looking to join local communities, make business connections, explore your interests, or express yourself, Twitter provides the platform to do that.

The key is what you do next. For me personally, and the same is true for businesses, it’s looking past the 140 character tweets to focus on what you truly want out of the platform and what your ultimate goals are.

Using Twitter effectively can result in stronger “real world” friendships and new

Pate with pickles and radishes

Pate de Maison with pickles and radishes

“real world” experiences. To me that’s the beauty of social platforms, and Cleveland Dinner Club is a fine example. Thanks to Twitter, I’ve strengthened existing friendships and made new ones, tried foods I might not otherwise try (foie gras sausage, anyone?), and explored and supported the local Northeast Ohio restaurant scene.

For your business, establishing and investing in those Twitter connections give your followers an online window into what you’re about. Down the road, you’ll almost certainly have the occasion to meet these people face-to-face, too – through events, meetings, conferences, trade shows, etc, and you’ll have a more natural springboard to some sort of relationship.

But back to food real quick. If you’re in Northeast Ohio and have a passion for exploring the local food scene like I do, then I definitely suggest checking out Cleveland Dinner Club. You can follow them on Twitter @CLEdinnerclub or via their hashtag #cledinnerclub.

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