Bernadine Racoma, content manager at WorkSmartr.comexamines how restaurant businesses can leverage the power of social media.
A savvy restaurateur will invest effort and resources to establish a strong social media presence for the brand. Guests are online and will most likely talk about your food and the service. It is impossible these days for a restaurant to have no reviews on Qype or TripAdvisor. Customers browsed your Facebook profile or posted a photo of a savory dish from your restaurant with a trending hashtag. There are currently over a billion users on any social media platform, and it makes no sense for restaurateurs not to leverage this opportunity. It’s a handy fruit for brand awareness that your brand is part of any conversation. A strong online presence and a massive social media following ensure the following benefits.
- Effective traffic generator. The online store or restaurant website would have one of the top rankings on the search engine page due to good reviews and customer testimonials.
- Faithful follow-up. You will then have them as regular guests.
- Free advertising. Display promotions or delicious dishes to whet the appetite of guests. You are always on top, especially when captions and hashtags are well organized.
- A platform to collect customer complaints and answer questions. This will help improve your service.
- Participation in social networks. Incorporate marketing strategies into posts to encourage guest participation.
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Here are five social media strategies you can deploy to increase restaurant brand awareness and following.
Download appetizing photos
Food outside of service is your bait for guests to come and be repeat customers. Host a feed that encourages customers to dine in. Share as many food photos as possible and plan them strategically. Most traders share them in the morning or before dinner to entice diners to come at those times of the day.
Never limit your posts to food shots. Explore posting photos of employees, the manager, or the entire department. Share a restaurant trip via social media by documenting the arrival, processing and serving of fresh produce into salads. This way there will be engagement from the guests as they peek into the preparation process. Use social media to promote your restaurant using management tools that make all channels accessible.
Offer exclusive promotions to subscribers
Customers want to feel involved and part of your restaurant family. Make your followers feel important by displaying discounts and freebies exclusively for them. Spoil your customers so that other guests join the bandwagon. A simple token like a free appetizer or a free dinner is a small amount compared to the benefits it can bring to your guests.
Balance promotional posts with content related to current events, the restaurant industry, the global pandemic, etc. Respond to mentions and comments by engaging with your customer base. Step away from an automated response and personalize your messages.
User Generated Content
Actively build a loyal following by encouraging them to share user-generated content. This strategy combines engagement and free publicity. In addition, your guest will feel involved. An effective strategy is a photo sharing contest. You can ask your followers to post a photo of their favorite meal with a hashtag and mention of your restaurant. This way you can repost it and share it with your followers. This activity aims to build engagement and keep accounts active.
Be active on review sites
Treat every comment seriously, whether good, bad or neutral. Customer complaints arise because customers care about your brand and want you to improve. Respond to each in a timely manner and with the intention of restoring service. Treat bad reviews as if customers are still at the restaurant. Listen to the complaint, apologize, fix the problem, and thank the customer.
Most customers read reviews before dining out. So you have to respond to reviews and manage them. They can make or break your brand. Being proactive about customer reviews, whether good or negative, is a great way to promote your business.
To this day, traditional word of mouth remains the most powerful type of advertising and promotion. Most people trust a recommendation more than an advertisement. Word of mouth recommendation has moved online to social media. The success and longevity of your restaurant brand depends on the social media strategy you deploy and the level of engagement you have with your diners.