Ask a restaurateur about technology, internet and social media marketing for restaurants, and what words do you hear most often?
We have been working this way since we opened the restaurant, why should we change?
If you are a restaurant owner and agree with these words, take a few minutes to read this article, as you risk being left behind by your competitors.
Not being open minded or open to new perspectives will lead your restaurant far away from customers. A lot of your customers are sharing their dining experiences in your restaurant on social media.
They expect you to be ready to clarify your doubts and be open to dialogue. If they find you active on social platforms, it will convey a fresh and advanced image of your restaurant.
Customers link your “being social” to operating a transparent and professional company.
Should my restaurant be on social networks?
Yes, but be aware of the pros and cons of restaurant social media marketing. It might be complex, time consuming and risky to develop an effective social marketing strategy that’s able to attract more customers to your business.
Disadvantages of social media marketing
As a restaurant, you will be exposed to negative reviews by satisfied customers as well as the so-called Trolls – wasters who launch invectives just for the fun of it or because they are being paid.
In any case, your audience demands you always respond, and soon and effectively. This contributes to brand loyalty which is something greater than trust: it’s a powerful mix of fidelity and loyalty.
Moreover, the benefits of social media marketing are not immediate. It may take months to bring new customers to your restaurant, and this often disheartens restaurant managers and leads them to give up too early.
Social media marketing is not about taking pictures of your dishes, posting them on Facebook saying how good they are and waiting for customers to crowd into your restaurant. Instead, it’s about building a relationship with your customers over time with a well-designed strategy.
It takes time to develop relationships with clients. Developing real-world relationships takes time and effort, and it’s the same with social media.
When budgeting for social media, don’t forget paid ads. For example, for little cost on Facebook you can boost the visibility of your posts and show them directly to your target audience.
Benefits of social media marketing
Fertilize your social garden well, and you will benefit soon. Here are 5 benefits of social media marketing for restaurants.
Actively speaking with your audience in online communities and groups, and by actively using hashtags on both Twitter and Facebook, you’ll raise brand awareness and your brand will start to get noticed.
If you work daily on social media by offering useful content, responding to questions and creating a trusting relationship with your prospects, you will become recognized as reliable and authoritative.
3. Customer service and sales
Providing information, clarifying doubts and responding to all comments (positive and negative), your perseverance and commitment will be recognized. If you pass the test of online customer service you will gain trust and increase sales.
If you have done the social media marketing wisely, built your audience and done the search engine optimization on your restaurant’s site properly, you will naturally get traffic to your website.
5. Lead generation
As with the previous point, a good job in planning and communication will direct traffic towards a lead conversion point, such as a web form that collects customers’ emails.
Case study: Chipotle
If, on the one hand, social networks give you the chance of sharing emotions and values, on the other hand you should accept criticisms and suggestions. The digital relationship is reciprocal.
The ones who are able to ride the wave of social networks will have more success rapidly. Take Chipotle Mexican Grill Restaurant as an example.
It is one of the few fast food outlets that has focused its communication on transparency, values, fresh ideas and customers’ feelings. There’s a reason for this: they were owned by McDonald’s for a decade. Therefore they wanted to create a new image based on ethics.
On the web and social networks they always do the following:
- Clearly indicate GMO ingredients on menus and online
- They haven’t used any of these ingredients since 2015
- Use only the best parts of pork
- They have launched Food With Integrity, a label which stands for biological ingredients and meat from animals raised in natural conditions
- Spread useful nutrition information
- Participate in the fight against obesity
None of this would be possible if they didn’t use social networks skillfully.
Where do I start? Which social media platform is good for my restaurant?
Good questions, and you should understand where your target customers are. For example if you run a cafeteria and your target audience are teenagers you might opt for Snapchat, Facebook or Instagram. If you run a stylish restaurant for important people you might go for Twitter.
In any case, I recommend to start with Facebook, where you will find more or less everyone. Your restaurant must be here, regardless of which platform you will mainly target.
Before setting up a Facebook page and churning out posts, I suggest studying carefully what are the best social media marketing practices for restaurants, and develop a strategy that is right for your business.