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Maximize Your Use of Social Media By Understanding Its Hierarchy

Yup, we’re on to another social media ‘talk.’

We’ve had How Social Media Helps Your Restaurant Business, Social Media Strategies From The Experts, Managing Your Employees’ Presence in Social Media, and Tips In Maintaining An Effective Facebook Page and Twitter Account. Now, we shall try to understand the hierarchy of this phenomenal medium to be able to maximize your marketing initiatives.

Social media, as we all know, is the use of web-based and mobile technologies that turns your communication with your customers into an interactive dialogue, heavily focusing on the creation and exchange of user-generated content. The changes that computers, mobile phones, emails and internet itself have done to our world are little compared to the communication breakthrough that happened when social media emerged.

Its phenomenal emergence has connected people and brands, allowed companies to be more responsive to their customers and empowered consumers to directly interact with the companies that they like.

And what’s really great about it is that you, our budding restaurateur, can actually make use of it on a streamlined budget. The first step, of course, is understanding it– getting a full grasp of the hierarchy of social marketing and how each of these can work to your advantage.

Your website. Your restaurant’s website is your foundation. In the Web 2.0 environment, you need to understand that elements like social plug-ins, interactivity, ease of navigation and browser compatibility are absolute musts. Browser compatibility simply means that your website looks the same and is readable in browsers like Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and Chrome; as well as in various cell phone browsers like Android, Blackberry and IOS (iPhone).

Blogs. Blogs, short for weblogs, are personal entries of one or a group of writers, frequently updated and intended for general public consumption. They either reflect the personality of the authors or reflect the purpose of your website, linking to other sites that you may favor. Blogs establish a good base for your social media strategy.

RSS. This stands for Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication. Blogs need to have RSS feeds to be able to publish updated works (blog entries, audio, news headlines, videos) in a regular format. RSS feeds are picked up by websites and news readers who are looking for content regarding a specific topic, like your specialty food items in your menus in leather restaurant menu covers.

Social Search Sites. These are sites that people go to when they want to look for restaurants to visit and read the experiences and opinions of its other users. Platforms like Yelp, Urban Spoon and Foursquare are examples of this—they influence your potential customers by providing good or bad reviews of your restaurant.

Social Bookmarking. This is a method for internet users, like your potential customers, to organize, manage, store and search for their public bookmarks or favorites. Social bookmarking is one of the most effective ways to get your website indexed and gain traffic. Stumbleupon and Reddit are examples of this.

Social Networks. These are websites that enable users to create public profiles within the website, forming relationships with other users who access their profile. Think Facebook and Google Plus.

Microblogging. Microblogs are typically smaller than regular blogs, but still allow its users to exchange small elements of contents such as short sentences, video links or individual images. Twitter is a perfect example of this.

How can all these help create a community around your brand? You use your website and blogs to create content (like the latest recipe creations featured in your menus in outstanding restaurant menu covers), making sure to add information and links that are relevant to your products or services. Then you use the RSS, social search sites and social bookmarking to create links and context. Then we use social networks and microblog sites to spread our content and connect with our customers and prospects.

All these, when done properly, allow you to develop a solid social media strategy that will greatly beef up your restaurant’s sales and customer traffic.