A few months ago when I was in Las Vegas for Blogworld Expo, there was a guy wandering around with a very unique camera setup. Being a bit of a photo fan myself, it struck my curiosity. Little did I know that I was walking up to meet Chris Rauschnot, founder of the insanely successful 24k Media.
After a bit of a talk, I found out that I actually followed Chris on Twitter. It was his flow of amazing food photos that first caught my attention. After that, I found out that if it happened in Vegas, then Chris was the guy to ask about it.
Here at TNW Social Media, we talk a lot about social media strategy and what SM can (and can’t) do for your business. After watching Chris for a number of months, it occurred to me that he was filling a role in social media that we don’t get to see very often. Instead of being the direct action of a company, Chris is the guy that the companies contact to help them fulfill strategy. With that in mind, I had a few questions for Chris and 24k Media, so here’s the interview:
Who are you and what do you do?
I am a citizen of Las Vegas who utilizes social media channels to help the city that I live in to get further positive exposure based on experiences of where I go or what I do. I also consult to companies for social media strategy, implementation and branding.
I’ve helped connect companies like the Las Vegas Hilton and Caesars Entertainment to FourSquare, so they could launch location based deals. I’m a speaker and have spoken at many large conferences including the International Consumers Electronics Show and the National Association of Broadcasters.
I’m a cross between Anthony Bourdain, not as cool as him, but we both like to travel and get to eat at some fun places, in addition to E! Entertainment. I utilize Twitter, Facebook, iOS apps, Android apps, YouTube, Foursquare, Yelp, Gowalla, Instagram, FoodSpotting among others. I’m a blogger and someone who enjoys engaging people and brands via multimedia.
How did you end up doing what you do?
I began working on the Internet, building websites and helping business advertise on the net starting in mid 1995. I went to school to learn computer engineering, but I also liked learning about psychology and sociology. In 2003 I moved to Las Vegas to engage my entrepreneurial spirit even more. Ever since the age of 16, I have been attending conventions in Las Vegas, like Comdex and CES.
In about 2006, I analyzed my website stats and found out people were interested in learning more about entertainment in Las Vegas. So my brother and I decided to figure out a way to learn more about that subject and start writing more about it. We’ve worked with a few companies here in Las Vegas and around the country since then, blogging and Tweeting about our experiences.
Is your space of promotions something that is growing? It’s a unique approach.
In mid 2007 additional promotions via social media, specifically Twitter, was a unique approach. Since then, we have analyized ways to integrate other platforms that are proving to acquire additional traffic.
You’re almost constantly eating in the hottest restaurants in Vegas. Are you invited and then asked to share your experience, or are you just a big fan of great food?
We are invited to events in Las Vegas, including those at restaurants, shows, etc that are within our realm of previous coverage. Sometimes I’ll find a cool spot from a recommendation on Twitter, Facebook and or Yelp that we’ll visit and then talk about. I have been asked to Tweet specific things about a show or restaurant but I keep editorial control of what I Tweet.
There is a happy medium to each situation but if something is given to us we try to let people know it was a press event or if the item was comped etc. As with being a part of Klout, we recognize ways they ask people who have received things and methods of disclosure. I also disclose in Yelp reviews when things are comped.
What’s the one gadget that you can’t live without?
The one gadget that I’m almost not able to live without is the iPhone 4. I bought the original iPhone in August of 2007 and it has been a great device. But I rooted it and utilized my T-Mobile service. I waited in line for 8 hours on launch day to acquire one. Even though I had to sign up for AT&T service, I knew it was a device that I was going need.
Since I live in a city with 3 Apple Stores, I went to the one that most people don’t know about inside of The Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace. Pics and Tweets that we were sending were being used in the live early morning broadcast of CBS news in Las Vegas.
A final question — What’s the best restaurant in Vegas right now?
The best restaurant in Las Vegas right now is a super loaded question and is something that we are asked a lot. I try to ask the person asking me what their budget is and what kind of food they enjoy.
If it’s a steak dinner they are looking for and they want to spend about $50 to $75, I recommend Carnevino at the Palazzo. They have an amazing two month dry aged boneless rib eye steak. If they are looking to spend less than $10 on a steak dinner, I recommend the Ellis Island Casino behind the Bally’s hotel. Ellis Island Casino is not attached to any hotel but has two separate restaurants inside, one of them has excellent BBQ and one of them has the steak special at $6.99. The steak special includes a 10 oz. top sirloin with a baked potato or fries, green beans and a soup or salad. (Disclosure: Neither Ellis Island Casino or Palazzo Hotel are clients of mine. I’m just a big fan of their food.)
However, if you want the best and highest priced meal in Las Vegas, JoelRobuchon inside of the MGM Grand hotel has the most awards. They have a several course meal ranging in the $600 to $800.