Social Media has taken over in the last 10 years. If it is not a predominant part of your Marketing plan, then you should reevaluate. Not only is it a way to speak to your most loyal audience, it’s cheap! First things first, you must create your Facebook page and look. You can hire a social media consultant for around $500 a month. LinkedIn is a good place to search for an Online Marketing Consultant. Hire them just to help you get started and to teach you how to manage your own promotions internally. You can have your page branded with your logo and colors for around $250.
Build Your Followers
Begin by building your followers. Create online promotions that ask guests to share your page with their friends. These promotions are then tracked by your consultant and when you reach a certain number, like 100, then that follower wins a dinner for two. When you reach 500, you can give away a party for 6 at the restaurant. Also, have promotional signs at the register or table, and if a guest “follows” your page while an associate looks on, they receive a free appetizer or dessert. For expectations and pace, it can take 6-12 months for a small, local brand to gain 500 followers. If you outpace this, then well done!
Once you have a large group of followers, you can begin adding value to this group. Remember, they “like” you or they wouldn’t have followed you. Obvious posts would be based on your menu engineering report with consideration given to new or seasonal menu items. Use photos of food and talk about the carefully selected ingredients or flavor profiles. Assign a marketing go-getter in the restaurant the job of creating posts. You should be posting 2-3 times a week. Capture activities in the restaurant like charity events, live music or celebrity appearances. Be certain you do not let your page become outdated. Nothing is worse than having your last post dated more than a month or two ago.
What information can you add to their lives to help them be more productive and successful? Give them tips on healthy eating, portion size or your easy take-out area. Every once in a while, post a recipe that reminds them of your unique offerings. Let them know your manager and top associate’s names and create a family environment.
Engage Your Audience
Ask yes or no questions that your guest can respond to by “liking”. For example: Have you tried the Summer Peach Pork Tenderloin? Did you know about our ½ price appetizers from 4-6? You can also have some “seed” responders so that if you ask a more open-ended question, they can begin the dialogue of responses. Choose these people from your loyal guests and reward them for talking about you on your Facebook page. You want this to be genuine and not contrived.
Always be certain that someone is monitoring the page for postings and queries so followers don’t get frustrated when they are trying to speak to you and you are not responding. You can ask people to Like you on Facebook but remember that they might choose to leave a less than flattering review of their experience instead. Have a strategy in place to respond to these posts with sincere apologies and some form of compensation.
Facebook is a very easy way to promote your restaurant. It can be easily handled in-house and can be a lot of fun to manage.
CFO Business Growth Solutions, LLC provides Nationwide Restaurant Accounting, Restaurant Bookkeeping Services, Menu Engineering, POS Business Intelligence and Restaurant Consulting Services. For more information go to http://www.cforas.com/why-us/.
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