As Restaurant owners and managers, we hear all the time about the importance of social media, but how does social media affect your business? Most of our customers are internet savvy, so the best way to reach them is where they already are. We will briefly run down a few social media channels and how you can best represent your brand.
It is important for your business to have a presence on Facebook, but it is equally important that your social media posts and engagements are outlined and scheduled. Don’t leave this task to your hostess or server because they are on Facebook all of the time and know how to use it. Your postings should be scheduled to coincide with restaurant specials or events happening in your area. Make it fun! Are your employees involved in a local charity? Let your customers know! What is your customer’s favorite menu item? Use polls to engage your customers and find out the answer to this question. The more you engage your customers, the more brand loyal they will be. It is also fine to post impromptu happenings and special announcements (a couple celebrating their anniversary in your restaurant, etc…) As long as you have your strategy planned out each month, you will be able to gauge what your customers are thinking about your restaurant and your product. If this sounds too overwhelming and the thought of posting on Facebook makes you break out in night sweats, it’s okay to hire a professional company to take care of your social media marketing services for your Facebook business page.
Foursquare – Check-In
What is Foursquare and how does it work? Foursquare is a unique and fun social media tool where you can find recommendations for things to do in your area and friends to join you along the way. Foursquare users can download a free app to their smartphone and “check in” to a certain location or business. You can connect with friends who are already on Foursquare and see where they are and what they recommend. Based upon your location, Foursquare can offer personalized recommendations just for you. Are you starting to see how your business can benefit from this?
Businesses can benefit from Foursquare by customers who post reviews about their place of business. These “check ins” and “reviews or tips” are immediately shared with their Foursquare friends as well as your friends on Facebook and Twitter.
Many businesses offer perks to their customers who “check in” to their location as an incentive. For example, Chili’s Bar & Grill offers free chips and salsa to anyone who “checks in” and shows their server the check in screen on their smartphone or iPad. Another restaurant, Lime Fresh Mexican Grill, offers 3 different check-in specials and encourages guests to leave a tip (recommendation). Pretty ingenious idea, huh? The word spreads pretty quickly about the businesses offering incentives for check-ins. Would you like to find out more about Foursquare for your business? Visit https://foursquare.com/business/
Are these so important? What if your company doesn’t have a page on Yelp, Urbanspoon, or Yellowpages.com? Does that mean you are safe from the dreaded bad online review? Think again! Customers can write a good or bad review about your restaurant regardless of whether or not you have an account set up. The reviews are out there for all to see, so it is best if you keep on top of it.
Remember those internet savvy customers? Before a guest visits your restaurant, they are researching your menu online, scanning online reviews and browsing photos of your restaurant. Chances are, your customers have a perceived expectation of what their dining experience will be like before they ever walk in the door. This gives you a huge opportunity to raise the bar and show each guest personalized attention, based upon the knowledge a guest can learn about you online. Remember, most folks won’t write an online review if their visit was mediocre. Their experience either has to be a great disappointment or a stellar and memorable experience for someone to take the time to write a review. Please take note! You should respond to reviews about your restaurant, good or bad. It shows potential customers that you truly care about a guest’s experience at your establishment. Think of it like this. If you had to choose between 2 restaurants to visit, would you choose the restaurant with many positive online reviews or would you choose the restaurant that no one has bothered to write a review about?
Ken Hoffman is an International Restaurant and Hospitality Consultant and Professional Speaker. He has been in the hospitality business for over 35 years.
Small Screen Producer is an interactive digital media agency developing targeted, branded, content marketing strategies. We specialize in creating interactive media solutions that are not only searchable and socially shareable but virally engaging.