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Restaurant Marketing with Social Media

Duessa Holscher

24 October 2011

Social media expert and restaurant consultant Barry Chandler, of Interactive Hospitality, joined the GRS Customer Conference last week to share some amazing tips for our customers.  Here's a summary - but for the full dose be sure to vist Barry's blog!  Barry specializes in helping restaurants create and implement social media marketing plans, so let him know that GRS referred you and he will be happy to help you!

Why Social Media?

Just watch this video - there's no doubt that social media is a factor all restaurants need to consider! 

Some important principles of restaurant social media:

  • Listen First, Sell 2nd.

  • A conversation already exists out there about your restaurant.   Do you want to participate?

  • Social media is about building a community of followers who love you, they will market for you and defend you.

Getting Started:

  • describe the imageSet Goals that you can measure and achieve.

  • Follow your customers to the platform they are using - Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Yelp - its up to them.


On Facebook:

  • Be sure to set up a business page - not a personal profile.  Profiles have friends, pages have Fans.   Google can search for pages.

  • Facebook is more important than your website because of the "ripple" effect, your customers can introduce their friends.

  • Facebook now has a "Places" check-in option.  Give your customers an incentive to "Check In".  Why?  The average person has 150 friends on facebook - so if you get 500 check-ins, that's 75,000 people exposed to your business.

  • Use coupons, sweepstakes, videos, photos and ask customers for their e-mail address so you can keep in touch that way as well.

  • When promoting your Facebook page, be sure to give customers the specific address, not just "Find us on Facebook" but Facebook/yourrestaurant.  

  • Remind customers to Check-in, tweet & review!   Use your vehicles, signage, guest checks, staff uniforms to promote this!

  • Try some targeted advertising on Facebook.   You can target such a specific demographic in a small geographical area, people who only like "pizza" within a 10 mile radius of your business!   Reduce some of your traditional ad spending and try it out.

  • What is an e-mail address worth to you and your customers?  Experiment with different offers to find out what works best for you.

  • If you have multiple locations, each should have its own Facebook page to enable check-ins.


On Twitter:

  • Write in the same voice you would use when talking to a customer.

  • Start following other local businesses to get a sense of what they are talking about.

  • Follow the “followers” of local area sports stadium, radio stations, etc - as these are the people most likely to start following you.


About Review Sites

  • Often these are the top of the search results for your business.

  • Think of it as a good way to pick up on any potential management problems - you are hearing feedback directly from the customer.

  • If you have a bad review, apologize, then offer to discuss it offline to change their mind.

  • The best way to combat a bad review is to have a bunch of good ones to offset it.  It doesn't hurt to ask your loyal customers to write a review!

  • Monitor what is being said about you!  Use tools like search.twitter.com, google.com/alerts, and nutshellmail.com to stay informed when people talk about your brand.


What to Post:


Remember you are trying to build a community of loyal fans.  As part of your inner circle, your fans want exclusive content, like behind-the-scenes video of your kitchen staff preparing a meal, or explaining why you use certain ingredients.  Choose a dish of the day, post pictures of food and events.  You can ask customers to “Name the menu item” that’s posted - if they can identify it, they win it that day.  Introduce staff members.   Post a daily quote.  Create events for your followers -- tastings, menu introductions, menu item retirements.  Post information about local events beyond your restaurant but important to your community.  Always respond to comments.   

If you haven't started your social media restaurant marketing plan yet, don't despair.  Dive in, learn about it, experiment, join the conversation.  Your customers will guide you.  Or ask for help from the experts!

Duessa Holscher

Duessa was the Founder and Managing Partner at FireFly Technologies until it was acquired by Granbury Solutions in 2010, where she served as Chief Product Development Officer until her appointment as President in 2019.

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