It’s a mistake to ignore the importance of social media marketing. It’s also a mistake to hire someone who just likes surfing social media accounts to handle it for you if you don’t like doing it yourself. Social marketing needs someone who understands the restaurant business, its target customers and how to use social media to reach them. Here are three ways to effectively reach your customers in this digital age.
Have an Online Presence, but Keep it Smart
This may seem obvious, but the truth is that few businesses have built a recognizable and professional platform. Take a look at a website like Snappy Tomato Pizza. The site is colorful, eye-catching, easy to navigate and offers specials right up front. Use your website to tell your customers (and potential customers) who you are. Post regularly and include photographs often.
Use your Facebook page to connect with locals and announce events, specials and holiday hours. And guess what? You can stop there. Twitter isn’t the platform for restauranteurs, and Instagram is only useful if you want to take pretty pictures of your food. Neither sites will drive traffic back to your website, as statistics show.
Go Back to Email Marketing
Social media has had its ups and downs when it comes to targeting customers. According to Forbes, email marketing is back on top now that Facebook is limiting how many people see your posts, unless you want to pay endless fees for “boosts.” In this article, Business Insider points out that customers marketed through email will spend 138% more than those who aren’t.
How can you gather emails? You could go the old-fashioned route of having customers drop a business card in a giant bowl for a drawing. You could also offer free Wifi and instead of requiring a password, require that patrons access the internet by leaving their email addresses.
A video? For a restaurant? Absolutely! Studies have shown that people are 64% more likely to buy your product after watching a video, says Business Insider (linked above). Post a video introducing your restaurant and your employees. Post a well-edited clip of your chef putting together one of his signature dishes. Post a clip of the latest live band to play at your restaurant. Just don’t overdo it. Too many videos will fail to attract continued attention.
One last tip: don’t forget to engage your audience! The internet isn’t a bulletin board for you to tack your advertisements to. It’s a social place. Communicate with your followers. Respond to comments and complaints. Narrow direct advertisements to one in every five or six posts.
Post something truly useful to your audience, like how to properly boil and peel an egg, or how to get meat of crab legs, or how to break down a chicken. Many of the people who eat at your restaurant are home cooks themselves. They’ll appreciate the knowledge you impart.
Remember, social media is a useful marketing tool only when handled properly. Educate yourself about who your clients are. Pay attention to the responses you get. Stay consistent and stay current. If you do these things, marketing through the internet will pay off.