By Dwayne Reno
It’s no secret nowadays you can’t avoid being on social media. Most new patrons are actively sourcing new connections online for fun and business. As a business owner you can’t avoid the benefits social media offers your establishment; free promotion for events and specials, free visibility, and free customer Feedback! Also don’t forget that with most people on social media looking for new connections, you can’t afford to not take advantage of these benefits. Actively liking, retweeting and sharing on your social media timeline lets potential customers feel like the establishment cares about customers and wants them to be a part of the brand experience. Getting on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram is easy enough and free! So let’s talk about what you need to do if you want to reap the benefits of social media.
Promote, Promote and Promote!
Firstly social media can help get the word out about your establishment and its current activities, this can be of great help when trying to attract new patrons or advertise to your current pool of regulars. Promoting on social media should be done regularly, and always connected with your in-store adverting is a must; how else do you expect to get all those like, tweets and shares?! Think of the pizza store analogy, when you call for pizza delivery the first thing we all ask is ‘What are your specials?’, if your establishment is not creating and promoting specials on social media you run the risk of losing potential foot traffic to your competitors who are promoting on social media. It’s always a good idea to link these ads to an in-store campaign currently running at your establishment. This will encourage patrons to like, tweet and share images of your establishment with their social media contacts, which means increased visibly with new patrons.
Responding to Patrons
Now that you are gaining likes, tweets and shares from new patrons and regulars, don’t forget to make the time to respond. This could be as simple as retweeting a patron or writing a sincere thank you message back to a patron who gave you a killer review in 135 characters or less. Joking aside, missing out on these rare opportunities to interact with your patrons on social media is not an option; as your response not only reaches new possible patrons but also allows your social media network to be a part of your establishments brand experience - creating the need for them to want to come back and bring friends.
Keeping up Appearances
It’s always a good idea to keep your social media networks visually inviting; you keep your establishment looking good, so why not keep your social media accounts looking good as well? Firstly, it’s a good idea to keep a high quality camera on hand if you don’t always have access to a photographer; as this can help when you need to post something quickly. Always use HD pictures when promoting your menu items or specials. This tweet could mean the difference between increased foot traffic, or losing out on potential business. Again link your promotions to in-store campaigns as much as possible. When patrons start to make the trip to your establishment you want then to have access to the same promotions that brought them to your establishment In the first place.
Lastly update daily and allow your social media network to take part in your brands’ unique experience with creative online and in-store campaigns, updated pictures of past event, promotions and specials designed to attract new patrons and encourage likes, tweets and shares. Making the time for social media in today’s competitive food and beverage industry can become time consuming. But with many competing establishments using social media correctly can you afford not to reap the benefits?!?
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Dwayne Reno CEO & Founder
Social Chat Blog
Once a month, Building Block Associates serves up some food for thought with our foodservice Social Chat Blog.