The potential of social media or using the myriad of user sites (Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, Digg, Delicious, LinkedIn, Alignable) to get the word out about your restaurant is infinite. But how to do social media for restaurants well? Participating in the online community is a fantastic tool to create relationships with customers, encourage word of mouth and paint a picture of the experience that awaits them at your restaurant. What sells better than mouth-watering photos of your delicious food? However, this medium is in the hands of the consumer, and can be potentially risky. So make sure to use a WIN WIN restaurant marketing approach at all times.
The keys to how to do social media for restaurants:
- Only bite off as much as you can chew. Start slowly and don’t promise anything that won’t be delivered. Interact regularly.
- Stay focused on what is going to bring the best and most valuable traffic to your restaurant. Instagram is a better bet for restaurants than Twitter for example.
- Don’t ignore the more business focused social media outlets, but use each social media outlet for what it is best adapted for. LinkedIn and Alignable are great ways to strike up relationships around co-marketing, whereas Instagram is the place to entice customers
- Track and measure all activities. Make sure that all activities have some way that you can track them. See what actions are cost effective and do more of them and what activities are least effective and stop them.
- Make sure that content and posts use your targeted keywords.
- Be honest. Communicate frankly about the restaurant, the menu, the staff, your news. Answer questions and criticisms honestly. See this as a two-way channel, not where you are in control, but where a two way conversation is taking place.
- Identify appropriate online communities such as Facebook Groups for restaurants and participate actively.
- Promote your social media sites in all marketing materials and contact details along with telephone number and website URL. Give customers multiple ways of interacting with you.
- Use multimedia where possible to bring your restaurant’s social media sites to life. Post videos, photos, audio, podcasts, etc.
- Actively promote your restaurant #hashtag (in all communication)
- Integrate feeds such as an Instagram feed into your website, showing customer photos and posts automatically when they use your #hashtag. Have a draw to win a dinner at the restaurant in for all those that post their photos.
- Develop a unique voice and be active in the community, posting frequently to your restaurant’s social media sites
- Have your staff manage the account and post to it during down times
- Be creative to encourage engagement and viral marketing. Create posts and media that are funny, irreverent, useful or challenging to encourage users to show it to their friends and contacts. Mishaps in the kitchen, your waiting staff being silly, the sky is the limit.
- Just as with any marketing activity, make sure to structure a set of metrics you can track to measure how any social media efforts are impacting the bottom line.
- Apply a WIN WIN philosophy, being generous and participating in the community without using hard sell or purely promotional tactics.
Understanding how to promote your restaurant on social media and create a dialogue with your customer is an important step in your restaurant marketing plan.