As most of the social media enthusiasts know, on June 30 the world celebrated the Social Media Day (#smday). No, there is no ‘official’ Social Media Day (yet) but Mashable thought there should be one so they proclaimed June 30 a day to celebrate the social media revolution and encouraged people all over the world to organize #smday meetups.
I was invited to participate in the Social Media Day Meetup in Antwerpen organized by J-P De Clerck. I was excited to go and even more excited when I saw that a lot of my longtime Twitter buddies were planning on attending too (so lovely meeting you all IRL!)!
When I entered the room, the first thing that caught my eye were the gingerlove cups. Yeah, you might think I’m weird (not going to deny it) but I have a legitimate reason for that! And that is, when I go to my absolute favorite vegetarian lunch place in Antwerp, Lombardia, I always get their ginger tea or soy latte and it’s served in the very same cup I spotted at the #smday meetup. I had no idea what they were doing there but I enthusiastically started telling the guy standing next to me how I know these cups and how my favorite place serves that amazing ginger tea in them. He was smiling and nodding and after I was finished with my sudden outburst of love for the place and their most amazing organic food, he thanked me for all the compliments. Yes, it turned out that I was talking to the owner of Lombardia (and one of the nicest people I’ve met!) – Alain Indria.
I was of course curious what he was doing at the #smday but as I quickly found out, Alain is a social media enthusiast like no other (he was almost as enthusiastic about social media as I was about his food!). But he is not the only person passionate about social media in his family, Alain runs all the social media activities for both Lombardia and Gingerlove together with his mom! Yes, now almost 70 and also the originator of Lombardia, Alain’s mom helps him manage the social media community!
*Since I really want to post a photo here (otherwise it looks like too much text and you might stop reading;)), I just want to show you how Alain’s passion for social media translated into the packaging of the gingerlove drink!
So why did Alain start using social media and how did he become so social media savvy? All thanks to his customers! It was the Lombardia loyal clients who got angry at Alain for not being on Facebook because they really wanted to connect with him and the restaurant online. So he set up a Facebook account and that was when the social media world opened to him (what a great example of listing to the customers!). Right now, next to the Lombardia Facebook account, Alains runs the Gingerlove Facebook page, @LombardiaMenu and @gingerlovedrink on Twitter, YouTube channel and Flickr. He says that the best thing about being on social media is the appreciation from the customers, especially the Belgian ones, who as Alain says, are quite shy when it comes to giving compliments when they are in the restaurant. On social networks though, they show great appreciation and flood Alain with compliments – that’s something he has never experienced before!
I could write another 5 pages about how delicious food @Lombardia is and talk about the gingerlove drink being SUPER DUPER YUMMY (I am drinking one right now) but I suggest you visit the restaurant yourself when you are in Antwerp (Lombardenvest 78a)! And in case you don’t trust my taste , the biggest fans of Lombardia are Moby, Sting and Sigur Ros! And the Gingerlove drink is the official hot beverage at the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai!
All in all, as I always say, no matter whether it’s food or social media, where there is passion, there is success. And Alain is a great example of that!