DON’T HAVE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA SET UP YET? WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!

If you think you’re just too busy to put together your social media strategy for your restaurant, bar, food truck, or any other type of establishment in the industry – you’re wrong! Customers want to share their restaurant experiences and engage with you on social media — give them that opportunity! According to a recent article over at DBSquared, if you don’t have your social media strategy in place, you may find your restaurant getting served – by the competition! Sharing restaurant experience via mobile and social media

Basic Web and Social Media Requirements for All Restaurants

  • At an absolute minimum every restaurant should have a website – and make sure it’s a mobile friendly one. We can’t stress this enough! Welcome to the age of more people searching on their phones than on desktop computers.
  • You should also have a Facebook page – That’s right, even your mother has a Facebook page now. Social media isn’t just for the young college age kids anymore. It’s for everyone. Every business.
  • If you want to really up your social media game have a Twitter and an Instagram account as well. Run contests utilizing these accounts with your customers.

The Cold Hard Realities of Social Media, Marketing and Our Current Times

The above mentioned requirements are all the places you need to be visible. Marketing for your restaurant isn’t just about a radio, newspaper and yellow page ad anymore. Think about it – when was the last time you physically picked up a yellow pages to search for a phone number. You MUST have a presence online.

If you’ve been in business for 25 years – congratulations! That’s incredible. That being said, just because you’ve been in business for 25 years doesn’t mean you can continue to try and “survive off of that word-of-mouth success” with NO online presence. Are you seeing a pattern here?

But if you’re still doubting us – don’t just take OUR word for it, check out this info graphic from Swipely. Talk about the Power of the People – check out these stats:

  • 90% of consumers trust peer reviews
  • 70% of consumers trust online reviews
  • And a growing total of 89% of consumers use the Internet to check out menus and research information about a restaurant before dining there

What does all this mean for you? It means that your customers hold The Keys to the Kingdom. Seriously! Did you know that one negative online review can cost a business around 30 potential customers? Wow! That’s a lot of dollars that could have walked into your place, and instead chose the business next door. Not only do you have to make sure that your business is in tip-top shape and your (real live) customers seated in front of you are having a good experience, but you also have to make sure that your presence online is resonating with current and potentially new customers.

Social media is all about your customers “trusting you” and being able to engage with not only you, the business, but other customers that participated in this “experience” (i.e. eating your food). People LOVE to share their opinions. Hello, how much advice have you gotten in your life from your relatives and friends?

Instagram, Facebook, customer engagement

Now That You Have a Social Media Presence, How do You Engage Your Customers?

As people start to give you glowing reviews, start to choose one review a month to give a free meal to and let them know on the social media channel with which they posted it. This will not only make them incredibly happy, but you’ll get a repeat customer plus whoever they bring with them and everyone else on your pages will see it. For example, if you end up doing a free meal giveaway to customers on Facebook, make sure you’re adhering to their specific rules & regulations just as with all the social media platforms.

  • On the flip side of that – if someone gives you a bad review, apologize and address the issue. Don’t ignore it or delete the comment or get into an argument on your page.
  • Have a photo contest across your platforms with customer selfies and their favorite meals.
  • Start a hashtag – Using hashtags can grow your visibility. But don’t overdo the hashtags. You will see 21% more engagement when using one or two hashtags compared to using three or more.
  • Lastly, put out good content. Write an article about participating in a local event, share your happy hour or weekend specials, post photos of happy customers. CONNECT! CONNECT! CONNECT!

Sure you could still think that you’re “just a restaurant” but you’re so much more than that these days. You’re a place where people go to gather to celebrate, to laugh, to cry – to experience not only their meal but their meeting or hanging out with friends. Yes, you are not ONLY a server of good food – you are now an “Experience” for people, and managing that reputation is critical.

Following these easy tips will help you get your restaurant’s social media efforts on track and entice your customers to engage with you.