How Restaurants are Incorporating Social Media—Part 2
On Tuesday April 24, we broke down the latest on restaurants using social media and some information on using Pinterest. The other heavy hitters in the social media game are Facebook and Twitter.
It may seem like there is a lot involved with keeping up with social media—but it’s really not as time consuming as you think, especially when there are websites available such as HootSuite or Later Bro. Sites like these enable you to post in advance, because let’s face it, during any meal time rush, the last thing you have time for is to post.
Here’s a breakdown and the latest on Facebook and Twitter as well as a few ideas to help you rejuvenate your pages.
On March 30, all Facebook fan pages got a facelift as they were automatically switched over to the new Timeline. Some hate the new Timeline while others love it–but if you want to be on Facebook then you’re stuck with it. Don’t look at it that way though; the new Timeline feature actually brought on a few new really neat features that help to humanize your business. After all, your restaurant is more than words typed on a screen.
1. Cover Photo
The cover photo is at the top of your page and it’s a way to display what your business is about and grab attention. Facebook did set a few rules on cover photos such as no calls to action, purchase information, contact information or references to interface elements (i.e. “Likes Us”). So if you use one of these no-nos in your current cover photo, you may want to get it updated. View the rules and cover photo tips here.
While you can’t outright promote in your cover photo, your contact and “About Us” area is where you can promote your business in your account settings. There are actually a few different sections you can fill out—so write whatever works best to describe your restaurant. The more information the better, so be sure to put in your address, website, phone number(s), hours of operation and anything else available.
New word and new page placement, but same concept. What are we talking about? Apps. Remember how you had “tabs” on your old Facebook page that were on the left side? For instance check-in, Like Us, maps, notes or a link to your blog? Those are now called “Apps” and they are located at the top of your page instead of at left. Four apps appear and you can add more (up to 12) in a drop-down. Just be sure the top four are your most important.
4. Top Pin
If there is something you want to be sure people see, such as a menu special or event, there’s an option now to make it a “top pinned post,” and it will stay at the top of your page. Do keep in mind, if you mark something as a top pinned post and it’s time sensitive, set a reminder for yourself to change it or un-mark it. According to a SmartBlog on Social Media article, top pinned posts can stay up for a week.
It’s called the Facebook “Timeline” because it now allows you to tell the story of your business. Things you posted in the past are easier for viewers to find and you can add milestones in your restaurant’s history such as when you first opened or a huge memorable event. It’s whatever you want to portray.
With the new Facebook Timeline, there is more of an emphasis of pictures–so if you can post some, whether it’s in a status or an album, do so! And they don’t have to be anything epic. Let’s say you’re having a special on one of your sandwiches. Instead of just posting a status update about the sandwich, why not include a picture with it?
While Facebook and Twitter are both social media sites with a concentration being on words, they are completely different and should be treated that way. You get 140 characters. That’s it. But it’s really not that much of a challenge. In a recent Sociable360 infographic, they describe Twitter being best for “short, to-the point updates; monitoring conversations about your brand and finding potential customers.”
We live in a world where people’s attention spans are low. If you don’t capture someone’s attention in the first sentence of anything, they move on. So with Twitter, they make you get straight to the point. Here are a few quick tips on making the most of your restaurant’s Twitter:
- Make your tweets different than your Facebook posts so your audience has fresh content on both platforms.
- If do have to have Twitter linked to Facebook, or vice versa, try to make the Facebook status 140 characters or less. It’s obvious to people when a tweet is just an actual Facebook post because it cuts off.
- Only use Twitter terminology (hashtags, @ symbol) on Twitter and not on Facebook.
- Post specials or tips to get people to come in! Restaurants are really the exception to the “don’t be over salesy” rule for businesses on social media. It’s okay to post “Two tacos for $1 until 6 p.m. today!” or “Doesn’t a personal pan pizza sound like the perfect lunch?”
- Use hashtags to your benefit. The hashtag (#) marks an important keyword in a post. It spreads your posts out further, just beyond your own followers.
- Use trending topics to your benefit. If there is a way to incorporate a trending topic into a post, do it! Don’t add it in if it’s irrelevant though—only if it fits with what you’re saying.
- Tweet back. Engage with your followers that are trying to interact with you. And interact with people you follow.
- Don’t spend too much time trying to compose “the perfect Tweet” because it’ll already be old news within five or 10 minutes. Don’t waste time, just post.