They’re popular, they’re fun, and when they’re together, magic can happen.
We’re talking about restaurants and social media, of course. They go together like steak and sizzle. Everybody eats; (almost) everybody tweets. And savvy restaurateurs know that social networking is the real secret sauce these days.
Here are seven recipes to cook up a successful social media strategy:
Facebook is the king of social media. Zuckerberg and co. have created an unbelievably cost-effective way to advertise. By creating a Facebook fan page that diners can conveniently “like,” you serve up brand recognition, customer loyalty and constant reminders of the relationship you have with patrons.
Twitter is Facebook’s chatty kid brother. It has 500 million active users spewing more than 340 million tweets every day. Twitter is a great way to say great things about your restaurant. It’s the fastest way to get the word out whether you’re announcing daily specials or offering VIP discounts to your list of followers (who can always retweet your message to their followers).
Blogging. If you have a knack for writing longer chunks of information, a blog complete with photos, videos and infographics is a great idea. And who’s stopping you from fleshing it all out with customer feedback? Guest reviews would do nicely. So would event and menu announcements and, yes, even recipes of your popular menu items.
Yelp is a social site where users review services and (most of all) restaurants. Reviews will put your restaurant on the map. You can establish a Yelp page for your place if no one has created one yet. If they have, you can claim that page as your own by providing Yelp with details showing that you’re the owner or manager. Owning the page means you can provide feedback on the reviews. Just remember to not be defensive and to always respond exactly as you would in person.
Pinterest is basically an online bulletin board where users “pin” pictures they like to different boards. A board is a set of pins created on any topic. So … If there’s a board about great Italian food and users see mind-blowing photos of your award-winning creamy spinach lasagna there, there’s a decent chance they might be motivated to check you out where it came from.
Foursquare is a location-based social medium for mobile devices. Visitors “check in” and make personalized recommendations. Foursquare has deals based on where customers are and gives suggestions based on what your friends like and what people with similar tastes have liked in the past. Foursquare has more than 25 million users worldwide and 6.2 million check-ins a day. Restaurants can offer discounts for patrons who “check in” and set up a loyalty program for customers who do so on a regular basis.
Your Website. Okay, strictly speaking, this isn’t social media. But making sure you have a good-looking and functional website will boost traffic to your various other marketing platforms. A Facebook page isn’t enough; your own site will make you easy to find when people are looking for you on Google. Predominately display your address, hours, contact information and links to your various social media profiles. Next thing you know you’ll have social media “heat” and new customers will be lining up to get their fill of what you’re selling.