Stories of an Intern: Your Restaurant in Social Media
A Little Intro to Me
I’m Alexander Garcia, a recent graduate from the University of Texas at Arlington with a major in Marketing. I’ve been working in the restaurant business for about four years, starting from the kitchen and moving up to my current managerial position.
I also worked as a Brand Ambassador for different restaurants at my University, where one of my main duties was to manage their social media pages. Now, I hold the position of Social Media Intern at Atomic Design and Consulting.
The Restaurant Industry and Social Media
Social media has transformed the way customers interact with a business, especially when it comes to research and planning of one’s restaurant selection. Social media is a great way to generate and grow your restaurant reputation.
Customers trust peer reviews. This, and the fact that it is so easy and quick to comment, recommend and review a place in social media is the reason why this is becoming one of the major players in the success of a restaurant.
The best way to grow a restaurant’s reputation is by far with word-of-mouth. Social media allows the reach of word-of-mouth to spread faster and further than ever before.
Managing Your Restaurant’s Social Media
The first thing that you need to know as you manage the social media for your restaurant is who you’re trying to communicate with. You have to define your target market, and if you’ve been in business for a while, I hope (for your restaurant’s sake) that you’ve done so already.
You have to understand your customer. In other words, put yourself in their shoes and think, “What do they want to see; why would they read and like your page? Why would they follow you?”
You have to define how you want your customers to see you. For example, if you want to be a family-oriented place, play around that idea—post pictures of your friendly staff and customers enjoying the atmosphere with their family. If you want to be known for your food, post pictures of your dishes, your menu and your chef.
The 7 Key Ingredients for Successful Restaurant Social Presence
After reading many different articles on social media (and taking from my own personal experience), I came up with a top seven of things one can (and should) do to be successful at managing social media for their restaurant. It is important to understand that as great of a tool as social media is, it can be very hurtful if it’s not used correctly.
7 things that a restaurant should do on social media:
1. More Ears Than Mouth– Listen to your customers, ask for their feedback and, most importantly, use this feedback to improve–don’t ignore it.
2. Think Like Your Customers– As mentioned before, you have to put yourself in your customers’ shoes—what will make them follow you and like you?
3. Interact With Your Customers– respond promptly to questions, thank them any chance you get and assist people with customer service.
4. Encourage Check-Ins– Social Media pages offer the capability of “geotagging.” Invite your customers to check-in on social media whenever they are at your restaurant. They can help you promote your pages organically.
5. Likes on Facebook– Facebook offers a great advantage for business. It is really easy to use and can make your restaurant very attractive and appealing to your customers. Take advantage of the cover image, post photos, offer group deals and use contests and sweepstakes to attract a larger fan base.
6. Followers on Twitter– Twitter is very useful; allowing only 140 characters per update, it is very brief and informative. Attach links and pictures to your tweets and use trending hashtags.
7. Followers on Instagram– Instagram is huge on hashtags—take advantage of this. Use trending hashtags that relate to your post, create niche hashtags to differentiate yourself and create hashtags for specific campaigns. Instagram is a photo-sharing network, so definitely use pictures of your menu items, your menu, the atmosphere and your staff.