How Social Media Can Power Your Business – Kitchen Table Talks

I had the pleasure of spending some time with Joe Sorge, who runs AJ Bombers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as well as Water Buffalo, and a few other restaurants in town. We were talking about how he uses social media to power his business and I found it fascinating. Here’s why this is a Kitchen Table Talks video: Joe shares how he uses a tool to humanize his business.

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  • Cassie Rice

    That's interesting to hear about how those restaurants are using Twitter. It seems like Twitter brings a lot of customers to the food business. I know Twitter and Facebook has been really successful for Sprinkles Cupcakes also. Everyday they post something like, “The next 25 people to come in and say 'summer,' will get a free vanilla cupcake.” They actually have almost 100,000 fans on Facebook now. It's pretty amazing – they don't even have many locations!

    Part of the reason why it's so successful I'm sure is that food is on everyone's mind everyday. If a person sees a message with a discount and he/she is slightly in the mood for whatever the food item is, it might push him/her over to go buy the food item.

  • Hesham @ FamousBloggers

    I knew it! I was sure this possible to happen using twitter! I like what Joe do when he recommend other restaurants in his sear, this video is amazing Chris!

  • Lance

    Very cool to read! And especially so since I'm in the Milwaukee area! What I really think is great is how twitter has become a tool not only to bring customers in, but also how Joe is using this as a way to really interact and “know” his customers. It feels like Twitter 2.0 – social media gets personal and real.

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  • Catherine Caine

    That's a great video! It's fascinating to see how bricks-and-mortar businesses are using social media cleverly and effectively.

    Do you think there are any businesses who wouldn't benefit from a social media presence?

  • buy r4i

    Wonderful video.Twitter is definitely a powerful tool – but like any power tool, you have to know how to use it! Anna Ghosh has done a superb job with this story…

  • Steve Woodruff

    Twitter helps build the “community” aspect back into a local eatery. Sweet.

  • moviecarmania

    Very cool! It's what every small business hopes for with social media.

  • AJ Bombers

    Chris, this was so great of you to do for us. The response has been phenomenal! Great to have met you and gain a bit more understanding of how #twitterworks. Start to finish twitter drove this interaction.

  • sawaboof

    Can I say that what I love about Joe and his restaurants is that he really does care about his customers. I follow a few local restaurants and other businesses on Twitter and none of them even come close to the interaction I get with @ajbombers and @water_buffalo. Where others seem to sign up, get followers, and then post, at maximum, a drink special a day, Joe goes above and beyond customer appreciation. He and his staff are engaging, not only on Twitter, but in real life as well. It really makes a difference between eating out and a dining experience.

    Some other great businesses that obviously care are @blatzliquor, @barnonemke, @DelafieldHotel, and @HornyHideaway, and @RollMobile. I wish more businesses on Twitter would use it to converse with customers, as these have. It's nice to know about promotions, new items, and having the occasional contest to win free stuff, etc., but there's just something special about also having people at that business talking with you, personally.

  • John Paul

    Greta vid…Like I tell people.. Twitter is a HUGE tool to grow your brand and drive traffic.. IF BIG IF, done correctly.

  • John McTigue

    Such a cool example of social media put to work. Surely there will be a million copycats, but so what? You still have to deliver great burgers and restaurant experience, or whatever you do. The Twitter aspect will spread because people love you, not because of the technology.

  • Kelly


    Loved this talk. Cassie hit it on the head in her comment—gotta eat daily, so foodservice is a natural for Twitter-marketing. But what I especially loved is that Joe doesn't *only* use it to push discounts and marketing messages, he checks in with customers and keeps an eye on satisfaction even when he's not in the store. That's what takes his customers from happy to save a buck, to clearly wild about the place. The walls tell the story!



  • Branko Zecevic

    This is great video and great example of how twitter represents a huge opportunity!
    Recently I realized how important for me is to have twitter account and since that my primary focus is on twitter!
    I can say that twitter is my starting point when I'm online!
    Also a good thing is that you can encourage others to have their own twitter account.

  • MeetAna

    It's always nice to be reminded that social media goes to local markets as well. I think many small business owners ignore this advertisement venue and miss out on getting connected with many potential customers.


  • Web Development

    Great vid! The best line was “If one of my customers has a negative experience I can fix it on the fly”. What a terrific business philosophy! If more businesses treated their customers with the “I'm going to help you right now” as opposed to “your opinion is important, a representive will get back to you within 5 business days” , customer loyalty would never again be an issue. Keep up the great posts Chris!

  • Bob Roman

    Chris I am so sorry I missed your visit in Milwaukee, WI. You met the queen of Social Media, @katiefelten. Congrads, Joe. Need to get over to AJ's soon. @ajbombers This was great!

  • blogjunkie

    That's pretty cool to see how Twitter is really changing small business. I've got a social media + restaurant marketing story too, on the other side of the globe in Malaysia if you're curious to see how we do it here.

    Spicy Social Media –

  • ECCR Sales Dept

    Loved the video, we're just getting started on twitter and FB and this confirms the importance. How to get the word to customers that you have something great to offer! Our location in Essex, MA is off the beaten path so networking via these tools is key. Check us out, you'll love the place, we do!

  • Good Hair Days

    Great article/video. Just getting my feet wet on this. Do you have any advice for small manufacturer/distributor that does not sell directly to consumers. We have niche products with trademarked brands: Grip-Tuth (pronouced tooth) combs, Magic-Grip hairpins. We sell internationally to bridal and craft markets as well as beauty supply markets.

  • markvillalovos

    Interesting video. Thanks for capturing that on film. What was that target and funnel contraption that was on the table?

  • MB Linder

    Love the use of social media to build another very social business. Fits like a glove.

  • donnaneff

    I love the impromptu and personal feel of this video. What video equipment are you using?

  • Pamela Sotir Beaudet

    Love this. Great way to get local business. I sent the link to a friend of mine who runs a membership site for restaurant owners.
    It's simple and makes lots of sense.

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  • Mat Maynor

    I've never even been to Wisconsin, but if I do I'll head over to AJ Bombers. Great use of social media to engage customers. I love to see how small businesses are creating a market for themselves utilizing free tools/platforms.

  • David

    Love Bombers. It is much better than the old “Corner” that was there. Great food, great fun, great staff, and have to love the peanuts and how they deliver them to your table. I'll be there February 12th after the Admirals game.

  • Tanner

    That is awesome and so inspiring because I am starting up my own Social Media/Web Consulting firm with an employee of one(me) here when I graduate in May 2010. First project is my father's insurance agencies. Hopefully we can utilize the power of Social Media to grow and expand his businesses!

  • KenBurgin

    Nice example – thanks for sharing the interview!

  • Chris Brogan
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    Great post, I actually thought the same thing when I saw this commercial! I thought they did a great job, I still probably wont eat there… maybe if Im traveling outside of the state.These guides on social networking I’m sure will prove helpful. Until recently I thought social media was overrated and somewhat time wasting. Now, I am beginning to see how it can work for what I want to do.

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  • Surge Promotions

    Wow, love this. As a business owner I'm always trying to integrate our social media experience in with our business.

  • inspectilm

    Social Media will play a stellar role in marketing on the net. Ignore it at your own peril.

  • tonispott

    Wow! This whole Chris Brogan thing is so huge! I love it! I can personally tell you that AJ Bombers is always on my Twitter and because of that, it reminds me that when I am hungry and looking for a place to go, that, oh yeah, AJ Bombers has the BEST Portabella Burgers anywhere! I'm going there. How can your advertising or branding get any better than that! Keep up the good work!

  • AJ Bombers

    Thanks so much Toni, 'preciate the love!

  • AJ Bombers

    Sara, WOW! I'm almost speechless, can't tell you how much it means to us that you'd share that with the world. Look forward to seeing you soon.

  • mojuu

    It amazing the uses for Twitter. I read somewhere that a bakery would send out a tweet about the cakes that were baking in their ovens, so followers could go down there and get their straight-from-the-oven muffin. It's genuinely inspiring. Love it.

  • David Bruce Jr

    Outstanding Example of out of the box marketing.
    Tell me, what specials do you offer just for twitter followers?

    I'm having my clients offer Facebook Fans Half Off specials.

    Techcrunch ran a post where a pizza joint put it's Twitter on it's street sign, as if they were suggesting to tweet an order in rather than phone one in.

    What's next Twitterceptionists?

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  • New York liposuctions

    The use of social media is great for many businesses, but in the Real Estate Industry most Real Estate Professionals market themselves in the area in which they work and live.
    You want to combine online with just good old fashioned networking. Using both Online and Offline Marketing correctly will make you stand out.

  • Bob Potter

    Chris, thanks for this story and Joe, thanks for using Twitter and sharing how you've used it to connect with your customers. Awesome!

  • AJ Bombers

    I couldn't be happier to do so, thanks for the tweets.

  • C.C. Chapman

    SO smart to see a business like this doing it right. I have never seen something like that on the menu and I hope to see it more. LOVE this new set of content you are producing. Don't stop.

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  • krabil57

    Amazing post. Hats off to Joe and AJ Bombers for connecting the dots. How cool!!