STK: Searing Up Hot Influence

As Senior Vice President and Co-Founder of The One Group, parent company to the sinfully sexy STK restaurants worldwide, Celeste Fierro always has her pulse on the most effective ways to promote her restaurants. And what’s been the hottest way to attract guests? That’s right, social media.

STK is very active online, have you seen an uptick in activity since you began using social media?

Yes, we have – especially with marketing our events. Promoting an event on Facebook, for example, can easily help to sell it out. We’ve seen that our guests are much more apt to see, engage with and even share a social media post rather than the email blast you send them that winds up unread – or worse, deleted from – their inboxes.

STK Sea Scallops with aji amirillo, squash purée, pomegranate seeds, short rib marmalade, and spiced pumpkin seeds (shot by Richard Guaty for ARTRPRNR)

What are your favorite platforms for digital marketing?

STK Mule (shot by Richard Guaty for ARTRPRNR)

We currently utilize Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Because each platform is so different and distinct, the engagement we see for each varies depending on the content we produce.

Instagram is ‘insta’nt gratification (pun intended), one we use as an awareness tool and platform. Marketing our distinctive, photo-worthy food, beverages, and market promotions, with captivating photography is always the safest and smartest bet. A single picture can often be worth a thousand words, as they say, and we know we’ve won when ours score a thousand ‘likes.’

We’ve found that Facebook, on the other hand, is our best tool for promoting local STK events and promotions. It is also a great resource for guests to inquire about our menus, events, and promotions through the direct messaging feature, which we monitor regularly. We consistently see guests utilizing Facebook as a way to make reservations, too.

Twitter is a fantastic direct response tool, as well, where we are able to connect with our customer in real time, and answer and respond to any questions or feedback they may have. The guest is the leading voice on Twitter; we strive to make sure that each and every voice is heard on that platform.

We use LinkedIn for corporate and business-related means, where we are able to share our news coverage, career opportunities, and connect with potential candidates and partners.

Organic reach only goes so far. Have you boosted posts to reach targeted demographics?

Yes, we boost our posts on occasion as part of our larger social strategy.

How frequently do you post on your social media?

Per platform, we post just about every other day, and it varies based on the number of promotions we are currently running. Managing our social platforms from soup to nuts lies squarely within the marketing department of The ONE Group, as we believe the messaging and communication with our guests is and always will be priority one and should come from one, centralized voice and location.

Everything about STK invites the camera. What do you do to encourage customer engagement online?

We encourage our guests to post about us while in venue, but also at the offsite events we participate in. By utilizing social media contests for awareness, and in addition, promoting our handles and hashtags, we are continuously increasing our visibility with active engagement both in venue and beyond. We even have video booths in our restaurants where guests can film themselves enjoying their STK experience.

Streccatella (shot by Richard Guaty for ARTRPRNR)

Tell us about your experience with influencer marketing.

STK currently works with influencers to assist us with brand promotion because word of mouth is, and always will be, one of our best marketing tools. What better way to accomplish this than with an influencer who has the ability to inform their following on all things STK? We vet each and every influencer on a case by case basis to ensure that their following is aligned with our guest demographic.

STK Lil’ BRGS (shot by Richard Guaty for ARTRPRNR)

In the hospitality industry, much of what you do is visually pleasing by nature. How do you exploit this strength in the content on your pages?

Each of the kitchens in our STK restaurants worldwide are churning out culinary masterpieces every day – these innovations are simply begging to be shared across all of social media for foodies, restaurant lovers, and everyone in between. We live by the “Children’s Book Philosophy” – post little text and lots of pictures. We let our food do all the talking for us.