With so many social media sites, there are so many questions to ask. Although before you read any further if you are actively involved in social media and doing well at it? This post may just be a bit too basic for you. But keep reading if you ask questions like; which sites to go with? What is relevant to my customers? Where do I begin? And how to market well?
Here is a rundown of my general 5 tips to social media for restaurants.
1. Pick your site battles
Do not try to take on every social media channel out there. There are thousands, although a good idea would be to start with the popular ones to gain more exposure. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Yelp or secondary ones like Youtube, Foursquare, Snapchat, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+ even LinkedIn can even be helpful. If you are like Chris Cosentino use Vine to show how to de-shell a crab in 7 seconds while raising controversy. Or how about those new guys like Snapchat and Tinder? I found a quick intro video on Snapchat that could be helpful for pop-ups. But again, the first four are great drivers of traffic and the fact that you are able to link them so you just need to do one post apposed to 3 of 5 however many you decide to be on — makes it even easier. Of course each social site has so many resources on how to use them eg. the dimensions of the images, limits to posts, what functionality they have and how to leverage it to your marketing tactics, but get the basics down first if your new to it.
2. It is all about timing
Tweeting posting or liking consistently will drive more coverage and exposure of your brand, but who has time for all of that? I know I don’t and to be honest it is still a battle for me. Consistency is crucial to increase your audience, so looking into the best times to post or tweet can be some help — read into the best times here for an idea. You may find you want to increase likes or followers or you want to increase engagement or even views. Whatever your objective is, there is specific times that will help along with knowing your target market and when they are online. With this there are resources to schedule your posts at just the right time. Sites like Hootsuite, Social Oomph or the very basic LaterBro. Lastly, don’t leave any negative post unattended — always respond! As though the person was sitting in your restaurant, make sure they have been taken care of. Bad review? Send them a voucher! Try to make them happy, if they realize that you genuinely care about why they had a bad experience, this can bring light to a bad situation. But be sure to do it as quickly as possible, it’s all about timing!
3. Establish a brand voice
Using a tone that is specific to your brand is crucial especially when you are representing a brand online. Even if that brand voice is yourself or someone you have hired. If you haven’t already formed this voice think about your ethos and if you were to package your brand into a person what would they say, how would they respond and what is the feeling when your around them? This is just a starting point but if it really comes down to it create a whole profile or persona report specifying these characteristics. This is especially good if you have multiple people taking on the social media of your restaurant or establishment. Who should this be? This post I found has some good ideas and guides to who you should be getting to produce your content, respond and engage with your customers.
4. What’s buzzing and new?
One of my biggest conundrums is coming up with great content — consistently. I have multiple resources like Ted talks, podcasts and blogs and essentially a bookmark list of places I go for inspiration, news, innovations, events, newsletters, resources, tutorials, courses etc. There is always something happening that is relevant to my niche of design, marketing and food. So when you think there is nothing out there — there is no excuses, there is. Also keep in mind what is trending and what is being said by checking out hashtags and your analytics. There seems to be a holiday everyday now so even that can be a reason to market your brand. Mentions also go a long way.
Understanding what your customers want is crucial so talking to them personally through a social platform can help you understand more about them. That is priceless. Communication is so very important. Show your customers examples in how to prepare something, help them be better people by teaching them cooking techniques, even post videos of events happening in your restaurant. Pretend they are your best friend and your inviting them out for a meal — this is an easy way to help restaurateurs feel more relaxed with social media. Ask them to help you produce content; like taking a photo the food they are about to eat, give feedback or build a visual menu. Show them you love what you do, want them to be a part of it and you want to make their experience one they want to have again. It really comes down to sincerity and genuineness!
I leave you with this…
It was brought up in the video talk mentioned above with John Besh, Chris Cosentino and Andrew Zimmern; determine your marketing plan on social media. Ultimately there is two directions you can take with it; it can be a reflection of your passion and what you do, making it personal, and fun while creating an active community. And two; the marketing side, planning it out, making it a promotional medium while scheduling your tweets and posts. There is a huge difference between the two. But the true art is in being able to combine the two — being able to drive traffic, sharing information, making it personal, forming a voice and find the truly engaging side, while promoting. This becomes a valuable marketing tool, connecting to the people that will follow you, helping form new followers and ultimately customers.
Of course there are a gazillion tips on how to use social media well, especially when we start breaking down every platform. But I thought I would get back to basics here. Hope you enjoyed it.
Graphic Designer; Ashley Howell provides creative services for restaurateurs and businesses in hospitality. If you would like a quote or have questions please get in touch today! Read the stories behind Avid Creative. Or get seasonal updates with the Avid Creative Newsletter.