Other than being an effective medium in announcing specials, last minute promotions, news updates and basically just building a solid customer base, Twitter and Facebook, apparently, are very helpful as a means of getting immediate feedback from a restaurant’s customers.
Tweeting and posting about fast food has become an accepted way of life for a lot of people. Kentucky’s Courier Journal reported about how restaurants get a lot of help from Facebook and Twitter, as well as all other social media sites. The publication interviewed Leah Roberts, a 28-year-old claim specialist from Louisville, who says she regularly tweets about the fast food restaurants that she goes to for around three to five times a week. “It’s just like talking to my friends,” she said. Tweeting is also her way of venting out if she has had a bad experience at a restaurant, with a certain hope that her own little voice will have an impact.
While a lot thinks that tweeting about eating is mere internet noise, Louisville’s Taco Bell, Pizza Hat, Papa John’s International and KFC do not think so. These establishments, apparently, appreciate the fact that their customers are talking back. They have people tasked to read and reply to what their customers say online about their restaurants.
One good instance was the unwarranted bad publicity which affected Papa John’s after it ran an ad at Wonkette.com last month. Public outrage went off after Wonkette.com ridiculed Sarah Palin and her son who has a Down syndrome – and Papa John’s was quick to act on the matter, prompting Wonkette to remove the controversial commentary about Palin’s family. “If it were back in the old days, it would have taken several days for the matter to be brought to our attention. Thanks to social media, we were able to take the necessary steps right away, instead of dragging it to a few more days,” said the pizza company’s spokeswoman, Tish Muldoon.
Same goes for KFC, too. KFC values their restaurants’ interaction with its Facebook fans and Twitter followers, they actually have a team of about six to eight people closely monitoring what the public is tweeting and posting about them. As their interaction with their fans and followers became stronger, telephone calls to their toll-free 800 number slowly waned, and was gradually replaced by feedback posts and tweets at their Facebook page and Twitter account. To date, KFC has 3.1 million fans on Facebook and 34,000 followers on Twitter. They ask for customers’ opinions on these sites and they often get massive feedback.
Domino’s stopped using food artists to dress up their pizzas during print or TV ad campaigns after the pizza chain invited their fans and followers to post pictures of the actual Domino’s pizzas that are delivered to them. The turn-out was staggering, with forty thousand photos submitted. “The result made our image as pizza makers a whole lot better. Those photos show that the pizza you see in our advertisements are exactly the same as what gets to you upon delivery. No camera tricks,” said Domino’s spokesman Tim McIntyre. They now have their very own Tweetologist who works full time, utilizing two computers, in responding and taking care of their 2.6 million Facebook fans and Twitter followers.
McDonalds, to date, has 8.9 million fans on Facebook. Pizza Hut has 3.7 million, Krispy Kreme has 3.4 million, along with so many others. How does it go? Inside Facebook came up with their own tips in making your restaurant page a successful restaurant marketing tool. First, make use of daily updates – just about anything relevant that you can think of-to maintain your presence in your fans’ newsfeed. Second, interrelate with your fans as often as possible—promptly reply to queries, feedbacks and criticisms, and post surveys from time to time. Third, use photos and videos to showcase your menus and products. And finally, continuously integrate your Facebook page with your restaurant’s other restaurant marketing efforts—do you have a contest in another site, or a tie-up with a hot live concert? Post the link and update your fans.
The target here is to reach as many customers as possible, and by realizing the importance of these sites and the best way to maximize its usage, you can convert these fan base and followers into actual, tangible restaurant sales.