I don’t get it. How will this work for me? I don’t see the point. That’s something for kids.
Those are just some of the things we humble folks in the Moving Targets social media department hear from clients and prospects on a not-really-daily-but-still-pretty-consistent basis.
It’s understandable, of course. Social media has always been and will always be primarily a way to interact with your buddies, so when you start mixing social media and business, things can get a little confusing. Fear not! We’re here to help you and your restaurant navigate the social media marketing minefield so that you can put your best face forward and rise above The Other Guy.
Let’s get it.
Content is social media and your restaurant’s best friend
Do cool things. If you’re a restaurant owner, you have a golden opportunity to showcase what you and your business are all about. Effectively utilizing multiple social media platforms is a surefire way to put your restaurant’s best face forward and keep your customers engaged.
You serve food, right? Show it off! Take time during the day to post some pictures of a few dishes on your Facebook page to give your customers a taste of what’s coming out of the kitchen today. You can cross-promote these pictures on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter to reach different segments of your fan base.
Use services like Vine, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to break up your food and menu updates with video content. Facebook’s algorithm favors video uploaded directly into the News Feed, and Twitter has just recently introduced native video sharing. Take videos of guests having a good time, introduce members of your wait staff or show your chefs hard at work preparing that day’s special dish.
It’s all about identifying what makes you special and finding a way to share it with your fans. Restaurants, by way of their food’s presentation and the personality of their staff, have an inherent shareable quality. Don’t squander the chance to show yourself off to the hungry masses.
No sleeping on the job
Juicy content means nothing if you’re not posting it regularly. The best businesses are those that make themselves relevant, and the best way to make your business relevant is to stay on your customers’ minds.
Post, post, post. Make sure you’re constantly updating all of your pages; be it every day, every other day, twice a day, whatever. You want to be a presence in your fans’ lives so that when they log on, they see what you’re all about.
Vary your content. Try posting one fun or entertaining update for every two promotional updates so that your image doesn’t go stale.
Don’t sell — interact
No business can survive, much less thrive, without a strong relationship with its customers. More than ever, customers are placing a great deal of importance on the personality behind the brand. Are you just another place that sells burgers, or are you a friendly neighborhood hangout with good food and better people? Do your customers care about you? Do you care about them?
Think campfire, not billboard. The greatest thing about social media is that, at its core, it’s a fun thing. People log on to Facebook or scroll through their Twitter timeline to take a break from work or just to pass the time. Seize this opportunity to connect with these people. Build a community with your content; respond quickly and empathetically to customer concerns; put your fans in the spotlight. Rather than being a faceless billboard that’s constantly in sales mode, make the effort to build a relationship.
Use hashtags on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to group relevant content that will appeal to your fans, like Panera’s #PaneraFaves, that allows customers to share their favorite menu item with a tight digital community. Create Pinterest boards that appeal to your fans’ many interests.
Create contests that get your fans to interact with your business in return for a prize. Most people would love the chance to win a gift card or free appetizer at their favorite place; give the people what they want, and they’ll reward you with their loyalty.
People want to be cared for — they also want to eat. Why wouldn’t they go to the place that satisfies both of those things? You may not have the huge budget of a global brand like Panera, but they’re not doing anything that you can’t. Give it a shot. Stop posting your menu every single day and take the time to ask your customers how their day is going. You might be surprised at how much quicker the money comes in. Need help getting started?