While Craig Utt is the president of Axis Marketing Group, the title Chief Butts-in-Seats Officer probably describes the job a little more clearer. With a background in sales and marketing, Utt promotes restaurants all across the Charlotte area. Never heard of him? Well, if you're into social media at all — and like to eat locally — you're probably more familiar with him as the voice of @CLTdining on Twitter, which (as of press time) has 3,209 followers.
Creative Loafing: How did you become the guy behind Charlotte Dining on Twitter and Facebook?
Craig Utt: @CLTdining on Twitter started out to be another value-added service for our clients, which it still is, but quickly evolved into more, such as a dining news source, making recommendations, sharing food and restaurant-related news and events from around the world, and a great conversation tool. We added Charlotte Dining on Facebook shortly after because it allows more information to be included and there are more people to potentially reach. Also, most businesses are trying to take what they do and translate it to social media. I wanted to see if I could start something in social media and turn it into additional business opportunities.
Has it benefited you at all to be in that position?
The biggest benefit has been the great fortune of actually meeting and becoming friends with so many outstanding people in Charlotte, and around the country for that matter, that I probably never would have otherwise. This has been the real beauty of the social media aspect of our business. Aside from helping us and our clients, it has also been a great way to get the word out and promote a charity like Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation. It's incredible to see people tweeting and posting photos in real time from the event. It's real-time word-of-mouth ... or fingers.
Do you enjoy cooking at home at all? If so, what's your favorite meal?
Yes. Nothing really specific but we like to grill out as much as possible. As a family, we try to eat as much fresh, local and/or organic food as possible.