Social Media: Take Out The Complications
Social media is such a part of today’s society–Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube. As a restaurant owner, you may find the concept of social media overwhelming and while many resources encourage businesses to create strategies and business plans, restaurants don’t necessarily have time for that. It’s all about serving the customer.
Instead of avoiding social media all together, or taking time out of your busy schedule to create a plan your staff might not even be able to follow, here are some ideas to start or ramp up your current social media efforts.
1. Share Information Customers Want To Know
Social media is powerful because it is more personable and includes so many other elements that can’t be used in traditional advertising. Share what items are on the menu and/or what your specials are that day. Even if that’s all your restaurant posts, it is something that can be done across most platforms:
- Facebook and Google+: Image of food with full details on special
- Twitter: Image of food with caption (only 140 characters are allowed so just pull what’s the most important)
- Instagram: Photograph a menu or sign covering that day’s specials
- Vine: Take a video snippet of the menu and then of the food
Words can sell a menu item. But you know what’s even more powerful? A picture. Post photographs across all platforms of your amazing dishes that will entice them in. Yes, it might take a minute to set up the area. Basically just don’t take a photo in a messy area. Walk over to a cleaner spot to snap your photo.
3. But Do Use Words
You can take a picture of an amazing dish, but definitely take advantage of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to talk a little bit more. What are the specials? How much do they cost? What are customer favorites? Are there any events going on to promote?
4. No Time? Yes There Is.
Posts don’t necessarily have to be made in real time. There are social media tools out there to help you schedule ahead such as Facebook’s scheduler, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, etc., so you can prepare posts to hit customers throughout the day.
5. Let Customers Promote Your Restaurant
Let your customers be your advocates. Run a contest, for instance on Twitter, that uses a hashtag to encourages customers to share something they love about your restaurant with others. Choose a winner at random and reward them with a free meal.
Instagram and Vine are great for short videos. Use these to give your customers an inside look of your restaurant, whether it’s a brief video of a chef preparing a dish, or a mix of shots from the kitchen to the dining room. If you’ve never used either of these social media platforms before, they make it incredibly easy to shoot the video on your smartphone. Download the apps and check it out!
7. Share General Tips and Knowledge
People use social media to learn, whether it’s mindless reading or to educate themselves on a certain topic, place, etc. Why not give them something? Building relationships will entrust a bond between your restaurant and that customer. So for instance, share a cooking tip, or advice on food safety that can apply to their home life.
8. Be Funny (If You’re Funny)
If you or someone at your restaurant that can post is funny–be funny! Obviously make sure it is appropriate because what you post on social media speaks for your brand. Don’t let that hinder your restaurant or scare you away from being funny. Humor is a perfect way to attract customers.