Today’s customers are more value-savvy than ever, and they’re using a variety of tools – from smartphones and social networks to daily deals and direct messages – to decide where and when to eat out. Social media allows people to create an online profile and connect with other people in online communities. Use social media to build relationships with your customers to make sure they’ll come back again and again.
- Promotion and advertising can be a part of it, but shouldn’t be the focus.
- Social media is a conversation, so make it work for you by becoming an active participant. Use a casual, fun tone and creative images, offers, quizzes and more to keep your community entertained and engaged.
- Connecting with customers is the best way to bring them through your doors. Social media creates a huge opportunity to reach new customers and engage with your regulars – and it’s available to any operation, big or small. Even if you’re a restaurant operator with a limited marketing budget, you can make a big impact by using social media tools right.
Reasons customers follow restaurants on social media sites:
- 67% get promotional deals
- 66% learn about new items
- 37% find out about free food
- 29% learn about new locations
- 25% check out new ads
Source: eMarketer, 2011
Check out the most popular social media platforms below
Facebook, a social networking giant, connects over 150 million people in the US every day. People go to Facebook to connect with their friends and favorite businesses, brands and organizations. With the number of people visiting and linked to so many others, Facebook may be the right place to start a social media campaign.
Twitter is real-time social media. It connects people to the latest information from people and business you find interesting. Whenever you want to share something with your followers, like a new menu item or a daily special, you can post a message about it- as long as it’s no more than 140 characters.
Pinterest let’s users connect with others by “pinning”, photos, articles and videos from around the Internet to virtual “pinboards”, which are organized by subject and interest. Browse through different themes and categories and follow other Pinterest users whose interests match yours. It’s a great way to share food images, recipes and inspiration.
Foursquare is a location-based social media tool that makes cities easier to explore. People share their location with friends by “checking-in” using a smartphone or text message when they’ve arrived at a restaurant. Checking-in earns points, badges and even specials.
Tumblr is a social blogging platform that lets you easily share anything from pictures and videos to links and music, from your computer or phone. It combines the shareability of Twitter and Pinterest with the ability to include longer content. It can be an extension of your current website or even replace it entirely.
Yelp is an online city guide that connects people to local businesses. Users can post and read reviews of restaurants, look for special offers and even chat with others on Yelp. Local businesses use Yelp to connect and share information with people and get customer feedback from written reviews.
These are Daily Deal websites that offer substantial discounts in markets across the country. They negotiate deals with local merchants that are typically 50-90% off normal prices. They then send a daily email with the featured deals to subscribers. If enough people are interested in the deal and sign up, the deal is a go. Best for attracting new customers and spreading the word of your establishment in your community.
Source: ConAgra Foodservice