Restaurants and Social Media
The financial crisis has hit the fine dining industry very hard. There have been reports of exclusive North American restaurants slashing their prices in order to maintain a steady flow of clientèle and therefore subsequent cashflow. Competing on price, however, is never a wise, or usually profitable, strategy, so dining establishments need to look for alternate ways to bring in the customers. One easy way is to develop a social media strategy to connect with your customers and create a community of regular diners. An updated website, with a blog, and social media links is just the beginning. RED Brand Media will assess your current use of Social Media Networks and your website, and how we can improve them.
While every restaurant should develop their own strategy in order to connect with their key demographic the ideas put forward here should offer you an insight into how to go about it. To save time and to see a good return on your investment (ROI) in a relatively short period of time contact, RED Brand Media here. We can help you oversee and integrated Marketing strategy.
The core of the strategy is to open the lines of communication both from you to the customer and from them to you. This allows you to inform them about what you offer as well as allowing them to offer feedback about what you’re doing well and what you can improve upon. This later part essentially allows you to use your customers as a free, perpetual, up-to-the-moment focus group. Once you’ve opened up the lines of communication there’s then an opportunity there to create a community, which brings benefits like brand loyalty, reliable and trusted feedback and word-of-mouth marketing.
The Corporate Web
If your restaurant doesn’t already have its own website get one. Now! Just as it was once a necessity to advertise in the Yellow Pages it is now a necessity to have a website. Your website is the most likely second point of contact with a new customer. Without a web site you’re missing out on a valuable marketing tool that requires little set-up and maintenance cost.
Your website needs to move beyond being a static billboard to become a dynamic portal
Even if you already have a website established you may be underutilizing it as a marketing resource. Too many websites are like advertising billboards strewn along the information superhighway. Once you’ve seen them they’re quickly forgotten and there’s really no reason to return. Your website needs to move beyond being a static billboard to become a dynamic portal for you to provide updates and to generate feedback. I won’t go into any the technical details but you need to be using a good content management system (CMS). A CMS allows you to easily add or remove information to/from your website without needing to know how to code. Talk to your web professional about which one is the best for you.
In order to encourage visitors to return you need to offer good content that is regularly updated. RED Brand Media has dozens of creative methods on how to do this.
Something else you might care to try is establishing a regular event – maybe once per month – in which you offer a range of different foods from your ordinary fare or a special theme.
Allow users to comment on the report and you not only get immediate feedback about the event, but you also begin generating a sense of community especially if they’re featured in the anecdote or the photos.
All a Twitter
Social Media Networks are essential to perpetuate your new community . You could for instance establish a Facebook group or a YouTube page. Of course if your particular clientèle are unlikely to be using those services then it would be a waste of time doing so, so you need to find out where your demographic ‘hangs out in cyberspace’ and target that. This is a RED Brand Media specialty.
Twitter is a microblogging tool that offers you another way to connect with potential customers
Twitter has had explosive growth in the 18-49 age range. It is a microblogging tool that offers you another way to connect with potential customers and further establish your community. There are already hundreds of restaurants using Twitter to engage diners online so you’ll be in good company.
There are good ways and bad ways to use Twitter. The good ways will get you a thriving community of friends and loyal followers. The bad ways will get you unfollowed, ostracised and perhaps even ridiculed. Here are some guidelines to using Twitter for the best ROI:
- Be real. Be yourself. Establish your restaurant’s Twitter account as a person not a faceless organization. By all means use your restaurant’s name in your Twitter name, but make sure that the people that read your bio know that you’re the owner, the chef etc.
- Twitter is global. Restaurants are local. You’ll see a better return if you follow people using twitter in your local area. RED Brand Media knows which services allow you to find the top Twitter users are in your area.
- Don’t broadcast. There’s a temptation to boldly tell everyone in Twitter who you are, what you do and what a great place your restaurant is. Don’t. The best way to engage people is to listen to them. Where you can answer other people’s questions, make light and friendly conversation and maybe solve a problem or two. Only once you’ve established a relationship with your followers then you can mention that you’re having an event.
- Be an expert. Seek an expert. Look out for opportunities where you can use your expertise to help someone. If you’re a chef you can offer cooking advice. If you’re an owner then maybe help another small business owner with a thorny issue.
- Keep an eye on your brand and your industry. Twitter allows searches to be converted to RSS feeds which can then be piped, filtered and ready to be read in an RSS reader. Do you have a RSS feed on your blog/website?
The best way to engage people is to listen to them
And all this is just the tip of the iceberg. Once you’ve assembled all the tools to help make you a Social Media Rockstar, you will have to be committed to maintaining a presence, and actually using them to the best of your abilities.
RED Brand Media offers detailed education in the use of Social Media to businesses and individuals so that you can start, maintain, and excel on any of the networks online.