Building an Online Community: Alyssa Guidice of Dine-LI
by Tim Healy
Whether you use a laptop, cellphone, or tablet, you always connect with others online. While social media continues to grow, many people have begun to search for more of a community than they can find on their feeds.
My guest today knows a lot about building an online community – her Facebook group, Dine-LI, has nearly 27,000 members. She is Alyssa Guidice, and she is here to talk about how she has achieved these numbers, all with $0 for a marketing budget.
This week’s episode of The Profit Express is brought to you by Corbett Public Relations, Promoting and Protecting Businesses and Brands for over 30 years.
A Background in Food
Dine-LI was started to connect food and beverage businesses with consumers under one platform. Alyssa knows a thing or two about the food industry, having worked in it for more than 10 years.
At 4:55, Alyssa discusses her background. While in college to become a history teacher and working as a cashier at an Italian supermarket, she knew food would always be there. She switched to a culinary program, and eventually worked her way into a position in the wine industry…which she hated.
The food industry is an increasingly popular source of employment. However, as Alyssa explains at 8:50, it is often overlooked. Workers don’t have a normal schedule, the holidays are crazy, and it is very easy for one person’s bad day to lead to an unhappy guest. In starting DINE LI with her mom and some close friends, Alyssa is building an online community that connects restaurants and bars with their customers.
Growing Over Time
For nearly two years, Dine-LI has grown. Listen at 24:10 as Alyssa discusses how they have been able to sustain the community. One unexpected source of growth? The pandemic. Alyssa has spent countless hours creating a resource to find everything from restaurants offering takeout to places with heaters in their outdoor eating setups. Several times per week, the group hosts a giveaway from local restaurants. All of these steps have made a difference in the Long Island food and beverage industry – and helped grow Dine-LI.
Making a Difference
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the restaurant industry. At 32:18, Alyssa speaks about how Dine-LI has made a difference for restaurants and healthcare workers alike. One of the unexpected positive impact that building this online community has had is through the Dine-LI Gives Back program. Group members donated more than $14,000, which Alyssa paid to local restaurants to supply food for frontline workers.
Keeping the Vibe Alive
With so many group members and so much activity, it’s a no-brainer that Alyssa is making some serious money, right? Not so fast. Listen at 45:30 where she discusses her decision to not monetize Dine-LI. Alyssa has seen how monetizing Facebook groups has changed the vibe of the group, and in building an online community, she is only willing to change things around for something right.