Everyone knows that word-of-mouth can either make or break a restaurant so it only makes sense that restaurants pay close attention to social media marketing. After all, social media is now one of the fastest forms of word-of-mouth marketing.

This article is assumes you have already have setup a Facebook fan page, twitter account, and setup your profile on other networks (you didn’t forget Yelp did you?).

If you have not done so, get started… but a few quick words on setting them up…

  1. Try and use the same name across all the networks if possible
  2. Make sure you are the primary person for the account (ie. don’t let the kid that “gets” Facebook be the one that sets up your page or it will forever be linked to that person’s profile (think: What if they quit or get fired?)
  3. Reserve the names even if you don’t plan on using them right now

So, for those of you that do have the accounts, that is great… now what?

 

The two questions I most frequently get asked are the following:

  • How can I get more friends, followers, reviews?
  • What do I say once I have the accounts setup.

Today I will answer the first question and will respond to the second question in another post soon.

Answers: How to get more friends, followers, reviews for your restaurant
There really is no magic bullet to get them but here are a few things that you can do to attract more people to your profiles.

  1. Ask offline:
    Some simple ideas include adding a bit to your receipts, table toppers, lunch special signs, menus, as well as requesting your wait staff to encourage satisfied guests to join you on Facebook and Twitter and get special “insider only” offers or privileges. While you’re at it, why not take some pictures (if appropriate) of your guests and ask if you can tag them on your page (or allow them to tag themselves).
  2. Search online:
    Twitter: Go to Twitter’s advance search and search for people in your area or people talking about the type of food you serve and follow them; then LISTEN! Resist the urge to immediately begin asking people to follow or friend you. Simply listen and learn how you can offer better service or solve a problem they have. You can also search for people on LinkedIn and Facebook as well but be sure to follow the same mantra of not immediately asking them to become friends or forward to their friends.
  3. Email marketing:
    You are asking people for their email address right? (If not, put out a fish bowl for a weekly winner and start getting those email addresses) Next, put together an eMail Marketing Campaign that touts the reason people should connect with you on social media and remind them to forward the email to friends. Most likely if the person has been happy with your food and service they will act on your suggestions.
  4. Share things worthy of sharing
    Einstein Bro’s Bagels recently gave a free bagel to everyone that became a fan of theirs on Facebook. What happened? They had a TREMENDOUS response and increase in their Facebook fan base! How? Their customers forwarded the information through Facebook, Twitter and Email (sound familiar?) I will go into more detail about offers, contests, and related content on the next post.
  5. Update your web site
    Have the links to your social media accounts added to your web site. This may seem obvious but you may be amazed at how many forget this simple step. One thing I would recommend is that when you place it on your site, make sure you give site visitors a reason to become a fan. The old adage WIIFM (What’s in it for me?) is still very much alive. Give them specific benefits they will get from becoming a friend.

Well, those are only a few ideas to get you started. I will continue to expand on this topic next week with answers to the question about “what to write about” along with additional ideas you can use to help grow your restaurant’s visibility online. Until then eat well and “try the soup”.

Oh, one last thing… Yelp!
Make sure to add direct links from your Fan page, web site, email campaigns and related online activities to your Yelp!profile and request positive feedback!

 

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