Making Social Media Work for Your Restaurant

It was a small dream, but it was yours. Put together a menu of foods the people in your neighborhood will love and create a friendly atmosphere where they can enjoy a good meal and one another’s company. It may look like your restaurant is doing well enough, until the day one of your customers is paying her bill and asks you if you have a Facebook page.

If you’re thinking fast, you’ll tell the customer you are working on your Facebook marketing, and then follow up and actually do it. Your customer wants to like you, not just when they are actually in your restaurant, but wherever they go. If you want to get going on your own, you may be tempted to snap a picture of your business sign with your phone and create a quick Facebook page, but this is a temptation you should resist. If you’re going to introduce your restaurant to the world of social media, you want to do it right. This includes coming up with a complete mobile marketing strategy, including SMS marketing and Twitter marketing. It also means hiring an expert to help.

If you do it, do it right

The thing that is even more damaging than not getting involved in social media is setting something up, and then neglecting it. Business Network International loomed at attitudes of business owners when it comes to using social media ineffectively. Three quarters were put off by the lack of skill and amateur management. Too many use the platform to either bombard followers with promotional messages, or they simply neglect updating at all.

It is easy for a small local restaurant to fall into this trap, after all their expertise lies in the kitchen. But by working with someone who does know, they can develop a digital marketing strategy that increases business. Twitter marketing in particular was shown to lead to stronger relationships and new business.

Mobile Marketing

While developing Facebook marketing strategy that is engaging is important, it is important not to ignore the potential benefit of mobile and SMS marketing, In the U.S., more that 90% of people have cell phones with texting abilities. For the most part, text messages are read very soon after they are sent, usually within four minutes which means a business, including a restaurant can make a personal impact very quickly. In addition to simply sending messages, you can offer mobile coupons and even interact with customers. Using SMS marketing allows you to connect with those customers that may not want to share everything on Facebook or Twitter, but still want to keep track of what you have going on in your restaurant.

Targeting Bloggers

Of all the people in the Internet world, bloggers could be some of your best friends, but they too need to be approached in the right way and related to in a mutually beneficial way. Yes, it seems like everyone and their brother are blogging, but that means that someone not far from you is likely blogging, and they may even have a regular audience.

As a local restaurant owner you may wonder why you need to reach out to a blogger whose readers may not even be in your area. The simply answer is that people move. Even if someone doesn’t live in your area, it doesn’t mean they will never be there, or that they won’t know someone nearby. If you are in a small town, you can target larger cities nearby, as people in the city often like to step away from the hustle and bustle for a day.

You could share a recipe with a food blogger or comment on a wine review as you suggest something on your menu that will match just right. Interacting with bloggers as a representative of your business is still a personal thing, and it is important to remember that you want to make more than a business contact. You want to build a connection, which means doing more than sticking their card in a drawer and forgetting about it. Look at their needs, and find times when interacting with them will boost their readership and well building your own reputaion and brand.

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