Social media marketing is one of the best tactics for leveraging your restaurant over your competitors and providing engagement between your restaurant and your customers. Social media marketing strategy is about living, breathing content. Here are 6 tips to get started!
The best thing you can do for your business is show others how much people enjoy not just your food, but your environment! Listening to a customer rave about how great an experience they had at your establishment can practically make someone’s mouth water just by reading it. Reviews straight from the consumer are the most beneficial, and they market your establishment in a more authentic and organic way as opposed to traditional marketing. Written surveys and 3rd party review sites are not living and don’t have as much impact as say, a video.
Apps like the One Question Reputation App provide restaurants with the opportunity to receive immediate feedback from their customers. These reviews are done REAL-TIME, so your customers can share their experience before they even leave your establishment. Encourage your customers to leave google reviews, because this directly correlates to your SEO (don’t know if this is 100 percent correct) and gives your restaurant a good rating. This rating determines how likely your restaurant will show up if a customer googles something like “Best Thai Restaurants in San Antonio” for example.
2. Visual Appeal
Customers want to have a full experience when dining at your restaurant, and visual appeal is a huge factor. How do you create this appeal? Get a social media account, such as Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook. These are mediums of FREE marketing, where millions of people are active daily, and everyone loves a good meal. Show customers how nicely your food is plated, how great your ambiance is, and how much people enjoy eating at your restaurant.
Optimize your Google+ page with photos and videos to add real personality to the online presence of your restaurant. You can post daily to these social media sites to keep your restaurant relevant and lively. Keep your profiles aesthetically pleasing. If this blog were not “pretty”, how likely would you be to read it? The same goes for your restaurant. If it is not perceived to be “pretty”, how likely is it a customer will want to dine there?
3. Real-Time Media
A great way to build excitement about your restaurant is to create engagement. This can be done through showing customers what your restaurant is like behind the counter. Show them what a day at your restaurant is like. Let’s see your chef in action! Let’s hear employees share their experience working with your company! Time lapses of a day of business! Humanize your business. Using features, such as Facebook Live and Instagram Live, are effective ways to incorporate real-time media into your restaurant.
4. Real-Time Engagement
Incorporate User Generated Content (UGC) into your business, because people trust people’s experience more than anything. User generated content is content that comes straight from the customer or consumer. Anytime a customer posts a picture, makes a tweet, uploads a snapchat about your business, this is user generated content. UGC is highly trusted among consumers, because it is genuine, and this creates a customer-based experience. You can encourage UGC by creating a hashtag or handle for customers that eat at your restaurant. UGC is being posted to your customers’ social media regardless, so why not use it in your favor by filtering it through a hashtag or handle? Now that you have this UGC, you must figure out a unique way to display it.
This business displays UGC based upon a hashtag created specifically for customer engagement. It’s real-time media that uploads as it is happening.
5. Social Media Campaign
This is one of the easiest ways to get customers through the door. You don’t have to launch an extensive campaign; try something simple, such as “Kid’s Eat Free” on a designated day of the week, a new dish of the month, or a special that allows customers to sample multiple menu options for one price. In the eyes of the customer, this is something new and fresh, and they are more likely to be in to try it. Facebook even offers the ability to Geo-Target your ads, meaning market to consumers based on their proximity to your business, making your campaign more intentional.
6. Community Impact
Let’s talk about good PR for a second. Especially if you are a small business, you should be making some impact in the community, working with a shelter, donating to a food bank, or helping feed the less fortunate. This is another viable way to humanize your business. If people in the community respect you, they are more likely to buy your product, which, in this case, is dining at your restaurant. You must always think of your restaurant as a brand, and this is brand management. Give a percentage of your proceeds to a cause or give customers the option to donate to a cause. Thank them and make them aware of the impact their contribution has. Customers are more likely to dine at your restaurant, because they are now part of a bigger cause, and even having a meal has made an imprint on their community.
Social Media Marketing is an ongoing effort. You must keep it up by frequently posting and launching new campaigns if you want to stay fresh and relevant. Use your imagination and put yourself in shoes of the consumer. What would make you want to try a new restaurant or become a loyal customer?