Most companies should be looking to implement the use of social media into their future marketing strategies. Companies such as Urbanspoon and Pizza Hut are not only doing that but taking steps to get involved with new mobile apps and location based services. How can Restaurants use social media to increase their consumer base?
- Let people know where you are – make sure you’re registered on applications such as Yelp, Foursquare, use your local etc. If you’re a mobile food van then use Twitter to update your location to your followers.
- What do your customers want? Listen to your customers’ requests; do they want to know what’s on the menu next week? Do they want to know what events you have this month? Are you showing the next footie game in the restaurant bar? Using social media doesn’t need to be a big, quirky stunt – look at your restaurant feedback and provide this information to your followers and fans as a gentle reminder.
- Make a day and stick to it – one problem is the time required to update your social media channels. If you don’t have the budget to get support from an agency then put aside one day a week where you will interact with your customers online and let them know when that is. You could even give it a name.
- Search – using free or paid tools, you can search for people who are looking for specific items that your establishment provides. Listen for searches such as ‘I fancy pizza after work’ or ‘where can I find a decent tapas bar? ‘and interject with the conversation, let them know where you are and tell them to stop by on their way home. You could even offer them a free drink if they take your advice.
- I don’t want to hear the negative – People will talk about you if you’re on a social networking site or not, so you might as well be part of the conversation. Sometimes just acknowledging and responding to a comment can be enough in certain situations.
- Listen – There are heaps of review sites out there, make sure you’re monitoring what people are saying about your restaurant – if people are always moaning about the food being served cold, maybe it’s time to look at your internal processes and make improvements. If it’s one bad comment between 50 good ones – is it really cause for concern? It’s good to have a balance review of your business for potential customers. People can be suspicious of a 5* rating.
- Foursquare – even if you don’t want to set up a deal right now, claim it as your business. It only takes a few minutes to register and you might wish to use it in the future. This counts for other upcoming networks.
- Branding – Make sure you have consistency with your networks by using the same logo, colours and tone. There are fakes around, so make it easy for consumers to spot the real you.
It’s easy to get lost in the use of social media but don’t forget what the strengths of your restaurant are and why people come back, time and time again. You don’t need to come up with a wacky idea to attract people, make the use of social media an extension of your marketing strategy and brand personality.
If you’re buzzing with ideas and don’t know where to start, feel free to get in touch