Principles Of Social Media And Restaurant Digital Marketing You Should Never Ignore.
You’re a forward-thinking restaurant manager. You know digital marketing is important.
But knowledge and understanding are two very different concepts. When it comes to digital marketing, many restaurant managers have learned this fact the hard way.
In an effort to keep you from making these same digital marketing mistakes, let’s review the basic principles of social media and digital marketing you should never ignore.
Restaurant Digital Marketing Lesson #1: The customer is always right…especially on social media
We train our staff to live by the words “The customer is always right.”
On social media, however, it doesn’t matter if the customer is right or wrong.
Yes, you read that correctly. It. Doesn’t. Matter.
What does matter is dozens (if not hundreds or thousands) of potential customers could read their comments on social networks. That’s why it’s so important to respond carefully.
In most cases, arguing with customers in the digital space is a no-win scenario, no matter how right you may be.
The truth is, long-winded reviews of negative dining experiences are simply part of the restaurant business today.
Surprisingly, it isn’t usually the complaint that does the most damage. It’s the restaurant’s response (or the lack thereof).
When a customer gets heated over an issue— and then takes it to social media—expect consequences if you return fire with your own accusations.
If you choose to get defensive or emotional in your reply, there’s a very realistic possibility of having the whole rant go viral.
The best solution for settling the score with angry customers online is to do so with class and empathy.
By opting for the constructive approach—accepting dissatisfied guest experiences and offering a solution in return— you will be able to turn a bad situation into something positive.
Don’t run from negative comments. Instead, use them to build an audience that knows you care enough to respond to all customers’ feedback.
Restaurant Digital Marketing Lesson #2: Consistency is your ‘bread and butter’
Loyal customers expect their next visit to be as good, if not better, than their last. Consistency is one of the reasons why regulars keep returning time after time.
I’m sure you are fully aware that when food quality is inconsistent, customers begin to question everything else about the restaurant, too.
Restaurant digital marketing works in a similar fashion.
When customers choose to engage (digitally) with your restaurant, they deliver content on a routine basis.
After four months of consistent social media updates/posts and biweekly emails, a sudden stoppage in the output indicates “something happened.”
“Was there a change in ownership?” “Did that nice manager quit?” “Are they closing down?”
Inconsistency in your messaging compels customers to ask questions and can plant seeds of doubt about your business.
Furthermore, inconsistent digital marketing limits your audience reach. Often, when restaurants don’t immediately see an ROI on their social media/email efforts, digital marketing takes a backseat to other business functions.
But choosing to “exist” in the digital space versus leveraging digital to its fullest potential is meaningless.
There is no middle ground in digital marketing. You’re either engaging with your guests regularly or you’re invisible.
Restaurant Digital Marketing Lesson #3: Keep up with the times
Social media is an ever-evolving, living entity. It’s constantly changing, which can be an overwhelming realization for restaurant managers, especially with the catalog of responsibilities already on their plate.
Trying to keep up with every little breakthrough in social media is an unrealistic objective.
It is important, however, that you are at least aware of what is happening so you don’t waste your time/money on digital tactics that are obsolete.
Here are 4 tips on how to ‘keep up with the times’ in 2017:
- Take advantage of hashtags
- Search for terms (in hashtag format) to syndicate the latest news on those specific subjects. Terms such as #restaurantmarketing, #restaurantsocialmedia, #digitalmarketing and #smm are just some examples that might lead to great tips and tricks you can apply to your own restaurant digital marketing.
- Set-up Google Alerts for your restaurant name
- Google Alerts sends you notifications about any search term you set up an alert for (such as the name of your restaurant). The process of setting up alerts is painless, so take advantage of this feature to stay ahead of what people are saying about your business online.
- Listen to Podcasts
- Follow social/publication influencers in the food & restaurant industry
- Research and follow the biggest (digital) names in the industry to keep up with what’s happening.
Restaurant Digital Marketing Lesson #4: Follow your analytics like they’re going out of style
Digital marketing and numbers go together like hipsters and PBR.
Without a regular analysis of the results of your marketing efforts, you might as well be cooking in the dark.
It is essential that you have a clear, comprehensive understanding into your digital marketing results.
You should be able to answer: “How many ‘shares’ you generated this week,” “How many new customers you acquired because of your email loyalty program,” “How many Facebook impressions you produced this month compared to last,” etc.
By answering questions such as these, you will be able to invest your time and money more wisely into tactics that generate the best response from your guests.