How To Avoid The 6 Most Common Mistakes Restaurant Owners Make on Social Media
It’s 2017, and social media marketing is still on the rise.
Yet for many restaurant owners, promoting their businesses via social media remains a vague concept.
The number of social media networks and the guidelines for using each one can be overwhelming for restaurant operators. This leads some to ignore social media marketing entirely.
With so many social media platforms and so little time to master them all, even restaurants with an established social media presence could be making major marketing mistakes.
Restaurant owners and managers must create a successful social media marketing plan for their business.
See the 6 major mistakes restaurant owners make on social media, plus how to avoid them:
1- Not taking social media seriously
Social media is not a passing fad. It’s time for restaurant operators to realize today’s restaurant guest looks at reviews when deciding where to eat, “checks in” to places they dine and posts their meal experience on social media.
Whether you like it or not, your restaurant is inevitably going to appear on social media because your guests are on social media talking about their dining experience. Therefore, if you don’t take social media seriously, then you may be gambling with your business reputation.
2- Attempting to be on every social media platform
It isn’t necessary for your restaurant to have an account on every single social media platform that exists. In fact, trying to be active everywhere on social media will leave you spread too thin and likely will result in not posting enough on any of your accounts to generate awareness or interest in your restaurant.
Choose two or three social media networks and commit to engaging with guests and other businesses consistently on those networks.
3- Using social media to sell, sell, sell
There’s a time and a place to upsell, and it isn’t 24/7 on social media. When guests connect with your restaurant on social media, they want to be informed and entertained. Guests do not want to be told to come in and purchase your fabulous cheesecake (or any other menu item) every time they look at your page.
A better social media strategy would be to post a photo of your delicious cheesecake and tell them how many orders you sell on a Saturday night (or some other fun fact about your desserts). Posting a photo with interesting information (vs. pushy sales language) lets everyone feel good about the social transaction.
4- Untimely response to guest comments (or no response at all)
If your restaurant is on social media, then your guests expect timely answers to their questions and feedback. Respond to every comment, whether it’s positive or negative, and try to do so within 24 hours.
Think of your social media pages as an extension of your dining room. Be sure to respond to guests the same way you would if you were speaking face-to-face. No matter how unreasonable a guest complaint might be, remember to stay positive and upbeat in your reply. Every customer on your page can read your responses to guest complaints.
5- Mixing business with pleasure
Your restaurant social media page represents your brand to the entire online world. Don’t give in to the temptation to use it like a personal page when it comes to posting opinions. In general, avoid political or religious posts (or be prepared to lose business over your stance on a particular issue).
Use caution when posting humorous content for the same reason. Not everyone agrees on what is funny. If you wouldn’t be comfortable telling the joke or comment to the entire dining room, then it’s probably not appropriate for social media.
6- Not measuring the results of social media efforts
You can get 500 “likes” on a post, but if you aren’t keeping track of your weekly or monthly “likes,” how do you know if 500 is an upward or downward trend?
Your social media marketing goals define which key metrics to measure and analyze. For example, if one of your goals is to increase awareness of happy hour, then track how many happy-hour related posts you publish each week. Track how many likes, shares and comments those posts get. Don’t forget to also track your happy hour sales in the month or so following a happy hour campaign.
As long as you measure the results and adjust your activity according to what works, you won’t be wasting your time with social media.
Social media marketing is an area where restaurant owners have generally sold themselves short for too long. By avoiding the major mistakes restaurant owners make on social media, restaurateurs and guests can stay connected beyond the dining room.