The Locavore Next Door: Why Local Restaurants Shouldn't Neglect Social Media
By Carrie Robinson on July 21, 2012 from The Locavore Next Door
- At the very least, start a Facebook page and a Twitter account for your restaurant. A website is great too, but at least get yourself out there on the social media outlets most used by your potential customers. You cannot rely on sites such as TripAdvisor or Yelp to get your business’s information out there.
- You started your Facebook page and Twitter account? Great! Now maintain them. That means replying back when a potential customer sends you a tweet. Do one better and follow back your customer as well. When a patron comments on your Facebook page, acknowledge them and address their question or concern on your page. Doing this publicly lets your other page fans know that you are addressing it. Even if you want to offer that customer a solution privately, comment on the post to let them and everyone else know that you are going to message them to address the issue.
- If you start a Facebook page, post photos of your dishes, of the restaurant inside and out, of your patrons sitting at your tables, patios, and bars enjoying themselves. Make your page (and therefore your place of business) more visually appealing. Post an up-to-date menu. I cannot stress this one enough. This is probably the most frustrating thing I encounter when researching restaurants online. Your potential customers want to know, need to know what is on your menu.
- Have a special tonight? Tweet it. Post to your Facebook page. Never underestimate the value of a Twitter Retweet or a Facebook Share. When a follower retweets your tweet, then hundreds of other people are potentially seeing your tweet as well. The cheapest advertising ever. Make sure that what you are tweeting and posting to your Facebook is something that your followers and fans will want to share with their followers and friends. Make it interesting, relevant, and appealing.
- This one should be a no-brainer, but make sure your website and/or Facebook page has all the basic information that a potential customer needs to know like hours, where to park, if you only accept cash, and a phone number for your place of business.
- Every so often, reward your faithful online followers and fans. Offer them a one day only discount or a free dessert or appetizer with proof that they are a Facebook fan or Twitter follower of your restaurant. I cannot tell you how many times in my life that I have decided to visit one restaurant over another on a particular evening just because they were offering something extra to their social media fans.