Does this sound familiar? Your restaurant’s Facebook page has nearly 1K likes. You tweet whenever you feel like it. People even post awesome photos of your bestselling desserts on Instagram. Yet for the past year, signs of revenue growth are nowhere in sight.
What exactly is going on?!
Asking people to like or follow your diner’s social media pages won’t give you the boost in sales that you’ve been hoping for. As a restaurateur, you have to be always a step ahead of the game in terms of social media marketing.
After all, dining out is a social experience in itself. After asking recommendations from family and peers, 8 out of 10 respondents will look for more information about a restaurant online. And oh, when Twitter recently struck a deal with Google and gave away their data to the search engine giant, your restaurant’s real-time tweets is now all over the search results’ front page.
The good news is you’re about to learn how to specifically leverage social media platforms to create a groundwork for your restaurant’s success. We outline the following road-tested social media tips for restaurant owners below!
1. Step back and reevaluate your existing goals for your restaurant.
What are you using social media for? Would you like to build a solid following? Or announce a change in the menu? Perhaps, you’re keen on cultivating relationships with existing fans and followers? No matter where you are in the customer journey cycle, a clear social media marketing goal is critical.
2. Establish a clear, distinct brand voice and be consistent with it across all platforms.
In her book Renegades Write the Rules, social media evangelist Amy Jo Martin wrote “People don’t connect with logos and taglines; they connect with other people. So you have a choice: build a business that doesn’t truly connect with its intended audience, or build one that does. The number one branding question today is not, ‘What is your brand?’ but rather, ‘Who is your brand?”
And if millennials make up a huge chunk of your target customers, all the more reason to get your act together and aim for consistent branding across channels. A survey by SDL asked roughly 1800 millennials about their purchases during the first quarter of 2014. The key findings, from the perspective of social media branding, is that these young consumers glide from one channel to another and more than half (60 percent) expect a consistent brand voice in all platforms, whether online or offline.
3. Ask and ye shall receive!
You’ve increased your likes, fans, or followers by 200 percent for the past month! Now what? The next step is to gather insights from these people and gain a better understanding of their needs and preferences.
Fortunately, with social media, you can be creative in your customer surveys! “Would you be interested in (insert new dish here or a possible promo)” is one simple yet effective way to solicit market perception on a campaign or idea you’re considering. The information you’ve gathered will act as your foundation for future marketing campaigns such as running a contest (which we discuss below) or coming up with your target marketing persona.
4. Figure out your restaurant’s target persona.
What’s a target persona? The folks at Buffer did a great job in explaining target personas in marketing. Imagine what it’s like to be your target prospects and customers. Are they young professionals? This is more likely if you have a coffee shop that is a short walk away from the business district. Or if you’re a vegan restaurant, yogis will fit your target persona more than Crossfitters. Often, crafting your target persona involves surveys, interviews, educated guesses, and competitor research.
Generally, a fictional marketing persona should provide a glimpse of your real customer base. Once you have a couple of personas in your toolbox, you can already proceed with your social media campaigns.
5. Run social media contests!
Who doesn’t want a freebie? Everyone does and social media platforms are the perfect venues to hold a contest. If you’re kinda on the fence about social media contests, these statistics from Hubspot prove that contests are a huge boost to customer engagement and carving out a loyal following:
- Contests can increase new audiences by 34 percent on average
- A third of entrants don’t mind receiving email updates from participating brands
- Running your contest on mobile increases the number of entrants by eight times
- Sweepstakes (e.g. Instant Win apps) is the most effective way to hold a contest if your goal is to increase fan base (entrants can turn into subscribers) while photo contests work best if you wish to boost customer engagement.
By and large, a social media contest can provide you with these two game-changing benefits:
- Whether you get 50 or 500 entries, contests will generate buzz and drive people to your restaurant’s social media page.
- Once you have this people’s attention, you can collect valuable data (such as email addresses for future newsletters or mobile phone numbers for weekly special reminders) from the entries. Be careful not ask for too many details though.
By following the above-mentioned steps, you are more likely to increase fan base and engagement via your restaurant’s social media platforms. Stay posted for more of these tips!
Do you have social media insights to share? Or have you tried the steps we suggested? Let us know in the comments section below!