OWNING YOUR DIGITAL PRESENCE
As you’re well aware, in today’s digital world it is not enough to just have a website or Facebook page. You have to consistently post, share and refresh. Doing so keeps your brand and restaurant top of mind with both frequent guests and new customers. But keeping up or creating an official strategy for the first time can be overwhelming. We’ve gathered some solid tips to get you started.
The goal of digital marketing is to be a trusted resource for current and potential customers. By providing relevant information on your website, blog or social media, you position your business as an expert. It’s a way for you to stay connected with your guests and humanize your brand. To make sure you have a consistent brand voice, carefully choose who is responsible for generating the content. Don’t stretch yourself too thin; if you don’t have time to update several social platforms, pick the top two or three that have the most traffic and dedicate your efforts there.
Who doesn’t love a good video? Give viewers a glimpse into your world with a behind the scenes look in the kitchen. Short videos highlighting cooking tips or recipes are also a good way for people to connect with your chefs. Spotlight someone from your staff each week. Live videos are supported on most social platforms now.
This app and food photos are a match made in heaven. Mouthwatering images of dinner specials or new dishes are attention grabbers. 75% of people who browse food photos say they have chosen a place to eat based on social media, according to Zagat. And be sure to use relevant hashtags with your pics so your posts are searchable; capitalize on trending hashtags to expand exposure to your business. If you’re launching a new dish, promote it with a hashtag and turn it into a contest to encourage guests to post and tag their own pictures.
Just saying the word “Yelp” can cause restaurant owners to break out in hives. While you may have a love-hate relationship with these online comments, you should make a habit of reading your reviews. If there’s a negative comment, don’t get defensive. Be transparent by appropriately responding. There are some good tips on responding to Yelp complaints online, like these two articles from Thrillist and Toast.
Chances are good that your restaurant has a Facebook page. Don’t forget to post frequently and take advantage of geotargeting. This feature allows you to drill down to exact locations to ensure your posts are reaching where your customers are. A basic, but sometimes overlooked, tip is to make sure your menus, location hours and contact information are always up to date. Much like Yelp, don’t ignore negative comments; respond quickly and take the conversation offline when you can.
The beauty of social media is that guests are most likely already posting about your restaurant. Search for your restaurant’s name to find loyal customers. Once you find positive comments and outstanding photos, ask them if you can share their posts to your channels. By doing so, you can start to build a team of brand evangelists who bring a personal story to your restaurant. These individuals are your target audience and can help reach similar customers.
Once you dive in, track your stats. This will define what’s resonating with your audience and help you make adjustments. Don’t be discouraged if your fans don’t triple overnight; building a social following takes time and commitment. Slow and steady growth is not a bad thing. Most importantly, have fun with it!
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