You keep hearing it…social media…social media! Right! I get it. Well, I have to say if you are not at least intrigued to learn about social media at this point you’ve done your business a disservice. If you don’t have at least a Facebook page and you are a consumer driven business I’m going to urge you to open one up today. If you don’t know how to do this you need to grab your nearest teenager and get them to help you. It is not hard to get this going and this is not a how to blog on opening a Facebook page.
This is however an article on the benefits of getting social. So what’s the best form of advertising? Yup…word of mouth! Wouldn’t you spend money more willingly upon the recommendation of a friend of family member? Probably, unless you are paranoid and that is a whole other issue. Doesn’t it make you curious when you hear about something over and over again? Oh yea…I heard of them… or I heard of that. Somehow once you’ve heard about something repetitively it all of a sudden has more value.
Be Consistent, Post at the Right Times, and Get to the Point
Making social media work for your business takes consistency and creativity. To be consistent you need to post regularly. Five posts a week should be your minimum. Your timing also needs to be optimal. Restaurants get the best engagement between the hours of 7am-12pm. If possible each post should have an eye catching image. Yummy looking food is always a good choice. Keeping your post short is always the way to go. I have a low attention span so if you have more than 100 words you’ve lost me. Some people are more patient than I am so try to keep it under 150.
Know Your Audience
Know who you are talking to and be authentic when you do. Your current or potential patrons should be able to read and feel the vibe of your business through your posts. Always include a call to action in your posts. Ask for shares and comments. When you get really good at using social media break out and add in a contest, promotion or a survey.
Deliver Value to Your Customers
As you post, try to include content that has value to your customer. Content does not always have to be directly related to your business. It could be a public service announcement. But just be sure it is relevant to your audience. The best way to increase your followers is to be entertaining. People love funny content and that is the content that gets shared. When you get really creative create a list of top 10’s. This is also great shareable content. Lastly, tailor your content to the season.
Here are some examples of great social media in action:
Ray and Mikes Deli in Hamden, CT does Twitter right! They post multiple times a day and encourage their customers to post photos and hash tags to win a free sub. A very effective, inexpensive way to gain exposure.
Baker and the Bean in Cheshire connect with its customers daily. They post their menu and when they plan to be in and out. They also respond to their customers if they comment.
The Boiling Crab in Dallas, TX does a great job with eye catching photos, cute poems and did you know posts. They are also utilizing hash tags which is new to Facebook.
You don’t have to sit on the computer all day to make social media work for you. Most content can be planned into the future. You can also utilize programs like Hootsuite to manage your posts.
If you would like to engage our restaurant community or ask one of our social media experts a question, please comment below.