Facebook is perfect in reaching out to your new customers, very ideal in connecting with your regular diners, and is a wonderful tool in luring back those who have not visited your restaurant in a while. Buddy Media, a social media management company, has this to say to restaurant operators who need to intensify the effectiveness of their Facebook pages:
Make sure your employees are also in the loop
Make sure you reply to your fans’ questions, address their concerns and acknowledge them for the time they allotted in posting a comment on your page. Your simple “thank you” would definitely go a long way. And make sure you are consistent, online or offline. Whatever story you have on your wall should reflect in your restaurant when customers show up for a meal. Ensure that your key employees are also in the loop with what’s going on in your page.
Hard-selling doesn’t do the trick
Hard-selling doesn’t do the trick most of the time these days. Don’t just focus on selling – exert efforts on being interesting! “Your fans would love to know about your new menu offers, but they aren’t too keen on interacting with those who appear to be too self serving,” said Ashley Tyson, a social media manager of a fast food chain.
You can educate your fans by showcasing food, providing recipes that your chefs in smart chef clothing have created, and explaining the origins of some of the ingredients of their specialty dishes. Island Creek Bar simply posted a status that greeted their fans a “Happy National Oyster Day!” and encouraged them to watch a video of how their chef in dainty chef clothing prepares their perfect summer cocktail, the perfect drink to match with a plate of enticing oysters…and ultimately got their fans craving for it. The Mermaid Inn posted a how-to video to show fans how to cook and eat lobster as their own way of educating their fans. You don’t really need to scream “come dine here!” –just plant the seed that would lead them the idea.
If you got excellent reviews from the press, share it on your page. And pictures! Think “food porn” and remember how people love to look at artful food. Make them drool at your dishes and get them to visit.
No one expects you to be perfect
No one expects a restaurant to be perfect—an honest response to a negative comment or review and a speedy offer to solve a problem is what makes a restaurant better than the rest.
At Jimmy John’s Facebook page, a customer named Judy commented: “I’m upset at Store#1205—the last few times I have ordered my favorite sandwich, they always manage to get it done so wrong. The people who take my orders always write it down and seem to get it right, but when I get it, it’s wrong!” Jimmy John’s seamless reply: “I’m all over it, Judy. Send me your address and phone number so I can gain your trust again.”
But what happens when the complaint is about a specific individual and the issue is still being examined—can you take the correspondence off the wall? Yes you can, as long as you let the customer know why you are taking the complaint off the wall, assuming that the issue is being handled. Explain as efficiently as possible that you are only trying to be fair to the person whom they are complaining about. Also, make sure that you follow through and get back to the customer after the situation has been evaluated.
Facebook is a free tool that has utmost potential to drive traffic to your restaurant—all you have to do is to master the way to handle it, making sure all those impressions and likes are converted to sales, ultimately achieving your end-goal of a higher bottom line. Good luck!