For some restaurants, social media may still seem like the latest marketing fad. But if you ignore it too long, you just might be watching customers, traffic and search rankings pass by your restaurant. Using social media to market your restaurant isn’t easy, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t find success. Let’s see if we can help you out. Any cook or brand manager will appreciate an easy to follow recipe, I am going to share with you my 5-Step Recipe for Social Media Success for Restaurants.
Keep in mind, without a focused strategy and an understanding of your audience no marketing stands a chance at success. What social media is not is just another medium to blast out irrelevant messages to Jane and Joe Public, you can leave that to radio. The brands who still don’t get social media are ones doing it wrong by blasting messages and not building relationships with their customers.
You see social media really does work, when you use it correctly
What can social media do for you restaurant brand?
▪ Raise Brand Awareness
▪ Drive Customer Traffic
▪ Increase Google Page Rank
▪ Position You As a Resource
▪ Share Your Brand Voice
▪ Make You An Authority
▪ Generate Customer Loyalty
▪ Helps You Gain New Customers
Let’s be clear, social media is not easy nor is it free. These are two facts you need to understand. If it was, everyone would be doing it successfully. While I am going to offer you an easy to follow 5-Ingredient Recipe, without a commitment of time and some resources you will still struggle.
The good news is that there are tools, apps and an increased acceptance that has made social media marketing easier for brands to and especially restaurants to find success.
Restaurants and social media go together like milk and cookies
Eating food is a social activity. From sharing pictures of food, reviewing restaurants or simply checking in… the experience of dining out really does mesh with social media activity.
Nearly nine out of 10 restaurants used social media outreach this year—the most common tactic by a wide margin—up from 77% in 2012: Restaurants Up Their Use of Social, Mobile
From Mobile apps to social media usage, smartphones are on the rise and thus they need to be part of your marketing plan.
The increased usage of mobile is another reason to be actively marketing your restaurant on social media.
One might attribute social media’s increased effectiveness for restaurants to increasing popularity of Smartphones. Location-based apps, geo-targeting and search make it easier for consumers to find the restaurant they are looking for. And, once they find that perfect restaurant , where do you think they share the news? That’s right, on social media where 54% of young adults prefer Smartphones for social media usage.
How about that recipe?
1. Create Content
2. Curate Content
3. Consistent Sharing
4. Conversations with Your Customers
5. Connections That Builds Brand Loyalty
Now that you have the ingredients, what’s the recipe to success?
Creating content for your restaurant has many benefits ranging from improving search rankings to building awareness and sharing news or information about your restaurant. You want to diversify the content you create to keep it fresh and try to incorporate videos, images, blogs and recipes, etc. You should also consider repurposing existing content such as historic images, menus, advertising or signage as well.
Make sure your content helps to tell a story about your brand, remember your goal is to build relationships. Don’t be afraid to get personal or share pictures from events or your customers themselves. Highlight your restaurant staff including chefs, servers, hostess or bartenders. You want to build relationships and start conversations, this requires being personal and responsive. If you are not listening or responding to customers in real-time, you are not using social media the right way. This is social media not megaphone media.
Curating content (sharing news, articles, blogs and graphics from other sources) is important since you don’t want to just share you own content. If all you do is self-promote your own content you are simply blasting out information and treating social media as a one-way conversation. Successful social media involves two-way communications, so providing interesting, relevant and valuable content that your audience is interested in will help spark that conversation. Failing to create AND curate will ensure that you will lose followers, annoy followers or your restaurant customers will just tune you out.
By curating you become a resource, you provide helpful tips that your customers and social followers will appreciate. Don’t hesitate to mix in tasteful humor, trivia or even facts about the type of food you serve.
For best results mix between 20-30% self promoted content with 70-80% curated content.
That is a lot of content every single day, isn’t it? Time and resources are limited for everyone, so using the proper social media tools like Hootsuite and Bundle Post will enable you to be consistent and efficient with your time. Simple ingredients with the right tools is a recipe for success!
One last cooking analogy:
Social media success comes from a steady, reliable heat such as an oven. If you are looking for marketing success at microwave speed, social media isn’t the tool for you.
This is a guest post by:
David Schwartz is a recovering traditional Advertising Executive turned Digital Brand Strategist for @brand_education. Utilizing the popularity of digital and the social web he helps companies understand the power of creating their own content and sharing their brand voice. David started his career working for MTV in New York, he then proceeded to Atlanta to work with the likes of Coca-Cola, Chick-fil-A and the Home Depot. From his time working with companies of all sizes he has learned that a strong brand is the key to long-term success by turning customers into brand advocates. Now living in Nashville with his wife and two children, David works with companies of all sizes teaching and consulting on best practices for building a brand in the digital age. David on Google+