Restaurant industry experts couldn’t stress it enough that yes, in these days, restaurants should adapt to the times and use social media in their marketing efforts. Its immense influence on today’s market has been proven to be an eminent key driver not just for a restaurant’s success, but any other brand or industry at that.
The Nation’s Restaurant News sponsored a webinar earlier this month called “The State of Social Media: Where It All Clicks for Restaurant Operators,” and it presented a series of strategies for effective social media marketing.
“Why did society easily embrace social media? Because it allows people to connect with each other in a very human and very personal way. That is one of the reasons why it has become very powerful and successful. It also takes out the level of formality that has been inherent in our previous methods of communicating,” said Tonia Ries, one of the panelists in the webinar and founder of digital and social media agency Modern Media.
That is why a lot of establishments have already placed their resources behind this web-based and mobile technology, increasing their social media budgets to over 300 percent in the past two years.
“People easily respond to messages that have a personal and more human quality to them, and how restaurants use this reality in communicating the qualities of their brand, and how they express it to the people, varies,” Ries continued.
Social media platform to use
For those who have not started yet, start with Facebook. The very first social media marketing effort that most restaurants do is create and maintain a Facebook presence in their area. Managing a Facebook account involves getting a huge number of fan base; being transparent; educating your fans; being able to show off your goods—you can post those luscious food photos that are just normally in your menu boards or artistic table tents; and being able to respond to their comments, among many others. What’s important is that you’ll be given a chance to position your restaurant out there in the front line.
Other than Facebook and Twitter, restaurant operators can consider the other social-media platforms showing promise: EmpireAvenue, Gowalla, Foodspotting, Namesake, Quora and Hashable.
Tool that can be utilized
There are a variety of tools that restaurateurs can use to stay up to date, and among the most uncomplicated ones are videos and web-based applications. Videos (on YouTube channels or can be interactive ones) are great ways to capture the spirit and essence of the restaurant, showing off the dining place’s environment as well as its food offerings.
Don’t forget, of course, web-based applications – they are said to be the future of the restaurant industry. Make sure that they are smart phone friendly, as industry authorities are predicting that by 2015, majority of the American people will access the Internet—translated: your website—through their smart phones. They will check out your location, ambiance, food items and their prices– those that are just normally shown in your menus, menu boards and table tents, with just a few taps.
“If your restaurant website is vey extensively Flash-based, with heavy-downloads and elaborate mood-setting features, you can try re-evaluating your strategy,” said Ries, “and check how you might create a more mobile-friendly version – something that would work well on a smaller screen and would entail a lesser download time.”