You already know that building a social media presence is critically important to the life of your restaurant marketing strategy. Social media lets you relate with customers, contact them directly, disseminate information, and run promotions, all of which will bolster your growing restaurant business. The key to retaining and building on your customer base is creating a meaningful, positive connection with every single one of your customers. Social media makes this easy, not only easy (and free) to start, but easy to maintain and use. But there are a growing number of social networks, and especially for a restaurant, it can be more time-consuming than profitable to try to build an effective presence on all of them. For this reason, you need to choose the most manageable and profitable avenues.
Facebook is a no-brainer. Thousands of businesses use Facebook every day to connect with their “fans.” And almost everyone knows how to use it. There is not special training required for the person who is going to be maintaining that vital web presence. Facebook also has plenty of outlets for running promotions, connecting directly with your customers, and get the news out about new menus or special events. Just be sure that whoever you assign to keep your Facebook updated (but not too updated, if you know what I mean), is also willing to lean and shift with Facebook’s ever evolving look and functionality.
Ah, Twitter. Twitter, though limited to 140 characters (that includes hashtags), is a great way to give updates, and gives your customer base a great way to contact your management team if they ever need to. People love to be tweeted or retweeted, and Twitter gives them an outlet not only to contact you, but to brag about the awesome new appetizers or wonderful steak they just ate in your restaurant. While it is a little more fast-paced than Facebook, Twitter, as the tweet-obsessed believe, is less corporate and more personable than the Zuckerberg-ian network.
While YouTube has only recently joined the elite ranks of the social network vanguard, it is quickly becoming the place to be when it comes to connecting with customers. Many companies have made (or broken) themselves with a few carefully, cleverly crafted videos.
Foursquare’s “checking in” feature is an addiction for many consumers, and making sure that your customers can “check into” restaurant, as well as glean the necessary contact information from your profile, will encourage them not only to visit your restaurant, but also to check out your other online presences.
Whichever networks your restaurant chooses to participate in, make sure that your presence is a helpful and congenial one when it comes to how you interact with your friends and followers in the social sphere. The best tip? Think about what you hate when it comes to these networks, and the make sure you never do those things on your pages. Excessive updating clutters up your page and turns into white noise on your followers’ feeds. Useless or poorly worded messages start to feel like spam. Whatever you do, just keep it professional.
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