Social media & food – what a perfect pair! People love sharing photos of their food, their fancy drinks & their date-nights, often which, are at restaurants. What great opportunities for restaurant owners to capitalize on ‘free’ exposure & organic marketing! However restaurant owners should be aware that these opportunities do not come without some effort & thought into how their social media marketing should be managed & how to mitigate the risks that come with them. For instance, how will you as a restaurant owner respond to criticism by an unhappy patron on social media? What about customer inquiries asked via social media? And how does one go about encouraging more customer shares of their positive dining experiences?
Below are some tips for restaurant owners looking to make the best of their social media presence & the many opportunities they are given.
Tip # 1 – Encourage Customer Participation
Encourage your patrons to share photos, statuses or reviews of their dining experiences with you. Do small things like posting Yelp logos in your store front, advertising your Facebook page on your menu or even running a social campaignthat offers customers a small incentive for posting reviews. Every time a customer posts content about your restaurant they are sharing that content with all their followers, many of which will likely be your target audience (since they are followers or friends of an existing patron). Think of every share as an advertisement being broadcasted out & encourage as many of those customer generated ads as you can.
Tip# 2 – Do not hide from social complaints by unhappy customers
Some restaurant owners believe that they can mitigate the risks of social media but simply avoiding it, thinking that unhappy customers can not complain if they do not give them an opportunity to do so. This could not be more wrong. Not only does this prevent the restaurant from capitalizing on the positive reviews & customer exposure, but it prevents them the opportunity to turn a negative into a positive by offering that unhappy customer some kind of resolution. This will not only hopefully resolve the situation & encourage the unhappy patron to revisit, but it will show other potential patrons that you are committed to providing quality food & service.
Tip# 3 – Use your social media accounts to provide customer service
Giving good customer service should not stop at your restaurant. Use your social media presence to show off your customer service skills and respond in a timely & friendly manner to online social customer inquiries. Prepare yourself to be able to monitor your account even while you may be busy operating the restaurant. There may even be opportunities to accept orders for take-out or deliveries via your social media accounts – grab these opportunities & engage with your social customers!
Tip# 4 – Build on what you do best – food!
One of the biggest advantages restaurants have over other businesses on social media is that the products you are offering are highly visual! That is, your food! Food is inherently good looking (for the most part anyways) & you can show off your delicious goods by sharing images of your featured dishes, fancy drinks & decadent desserts. Make your content visual by taking shots of your chiefs preparing different dishes, take creative photos of your food & stage the perfect shot of the final prepared product. Then use visual platforms like Facebook & Instagram to share these images.
There are tons of opportunities for restaurants to attract new customers via social media. Some of the best Twitter accounts I follow are managed by food vendors or restaurant owners, like @CherryBerryHFX who make me want a frozen yogurt even in February, or @PalladiumFamily who pop up on my twitter feed every supper time.
If you are a restaurant looking to get your social media profiles started or need some help managing your accounts, that is what we do! Check out our website atwww.pigeonpostmedia.ca or connect with us on Facebook & thanks for checking out our blog.