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Restaurants need Social Media Marketing

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					Restaurants and Social Media
How Restaurants Can Use Social Media

Every kind of business and service is getting on the bandwagon of Social Media. Whether
you are using email bulk campaigns or e-newsletters, Social media has given the Internet a
new intimacy of virtual relationships. Reaching out to your customers and prospects has
never been easier. This indeed is another great marketing channel for every restaurant looking
to grow their brand awareness.

                                                 If your restaurant has been in business for
                                                 years, and is known in the neighborhood,
                                                 trust me, people are talking about you online.
                                                 Make no mistake that there is chatter
                                                 happening. The question remains, what are
                                                 they saying? Most restaurants know that
                                                 having a spectacular dish or menu is not the
                                                 end of it all. Your customers want to be
                                                 appreciated and connect personally with you
                                                 in some way.

I don‘t know about you, but when I enjoy a meal, and feel very satisfied and happy with the
service, I start talking about that restaurant almost immediately. Don‘t you? We tell our
friends, you need to check this place out, great food, fabulous service. You want to share a
good thing when you find it. How much better it would be if we could actually connect with
our favorite restaurants online, or see what they are talking about. It sort of completes the
experience.

Here is a list of tools that any restaurant owner could use to connect with their customer that
in return could produce a type of brand evangelist.

Social Media Tools for Restaurants

• SEO: – your website must be optimized with your key words. That is a must. Being found
on a search and ranking high in the SERPs is the first step for brand awareness.

• Sign up with the local restaurant search engines: Yelp.com, Urbanspoon.com, and
TripAdvisor.com – Request that any positive feedback be shared on the site publicly.

• Twitter: – Create a Twitter Account – publish you profile and use it to announce special
family deals and discounts on meals.

• Create an E-Newsletter: – Ask your repeat customers for their email addresses and send a
double opt in to subscribe to your e-newsletter. Send a new recipe once a month, include
some food preparation tips. Ask for feedback for your next newsletter. This is a great way to
start your database list for future use along with acquiring a solid lead of customers.
• Blog on your Website: – Bring your customers into the kitchen, behind the scenes. Let
them feel they are part of the action - as if they are participating. We all want to feel a little
more than just being filled with good food. We all want to belong.

• YouTube – sign up for a free account. Make a YouTube video of one of your most
popular dishes. Send out the URL on your newsletter and announce it in your blog. As for
feedback from those who have tried the recipe. What a great way to engage people.

• GoMobile – Collect your client‘s cell numbers and send SMS messages about specials and
coupon deals.

If you need some guidance with marketing ideas, see this free online source: Virtual
Restaurant

                                                    BEFORE you Jump into Social Media
                                                    Marketing:

                                                         Create a plan: First, know your
                                                 audience, says L. Michelle Smith, president
                                                 and CEO of Dallas-based media-strategy
                                                 firm M Strategies Inc., whose clients include
                                                 Atlanta-based Church‘s Chicken. Are your
                                                 customers on social networks, and if so,
                                                 which ones? Next, know what you want to
                                                 accomplish: Is your goal to build a
       relationship through dialogue with an audience? To tell people about the brand, or
       about news and events? ―It‘s not a strategy just to be there,‖ Smith says.

      Listen to what customers are saying: Search social-media sites and read what
       already has been posted—not just in reviews but in comments and conversations.
       ―You‘ll learn a phenomenal amount,‖ says Van Vandegrift, president and emerging-
       media consultant with Matrixx Pictures, a Santa Monica, Calif., production company
       whose clients include Austin, Texas-based Schlotzsky‘s Deli. ―They‘ll say all the
       things they love and all the things they hate, and that‘s incredible business knowledge.

      Know your Voice: Decide whether you want to speak to consumers in your personal
       voice (i.e., as the owner, chef or general manager), or as the overall brand, says
       Christina Wong, restaurant and chef publicist at JS² Communications in Los Angeles.

      Create brand ambassadors: Find the people who really love your restaurant. Share
       your vital info with them, let them spread the good word.

      Make your conversations interesting: Just listing menu items, unless they‘re
       particularly unusual, makes for a boring post. ―Say something that shares part of who
       you are, like, ‗Chocolate ice cream is the only worthy ice cream‘ or ‗Just finished
       making my grandmother‘s bread-pudding recipe and it rocks,‘ or ‗Completely
       slammed in the kitchen, no end in sight,‘‖ says publicist Ellen Malloy.

Remember, social media is just a tool, but you are the one to make it happen. Listen, answer
questions, and connect with people online. Take these opportunities to reach out to your
customers. When you do, they will be telling others about you, building your brand, and
making you visible.

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