A lot of factors go into where restaurant-goers will dine on any given day. Type of food, location, price, or word of mouth, for instance. These days, a restaurant’s online presence has a major influence over enticing (or detracting) diners. If a diner cannot locate your menu online or notices a lot of negative reviews, for instance, they will likely choose someplace else. Restaurant owners need to be vigilant over their online presence to grow and maintain their customer base.
Consistently Post to Your Networks
It’s no secret that the restaurant business is a tough business. When you post to your social media networks for a while and then suddenly stop, it can give the impression you’ve shut your doors. Your social media presence should bring people in and your sudden lack of presence may unknowingly keep people away.
Before you begin any social media marketing efforts, really think about what social networks will reach your desired audience and which of those you can realistically maintain. If you cannot post consistently on a network, either outsource the work or forego that platform altogether.
It’s not a bad idea to claim your restaurant’s name on different networks so you have the option to be active on them later, and so someone else doesn’t claim it first. This doesn’t mean you have to post to that site, however. Claim what you think you may use in the future but concentrate your efforts on the sites you can reasonably maintain now.
Promote Your Page – Online and Off
You’ll need to promote your restaurant to build your online audience. This should be done both online (via ad campaigns and boosted posts) and offline at your restaurant. Use tabletop signs or door stickers to inform your customers which social media networks you are on. Be sure to also include your handle or URL so customers can find you easily. Consider providing an incentive to customers who follow you, like special offers that are only advertised to your online following, and be sure to include that on your in-store signage.
Fully Fill Out Your Profiles
Complete each section of your profile so customers can get all the information they need before visiting you. If there is an option to add your menu, provide your address and hours, or describe your restaurant, do it. Don’t forget to update your profiles any time any of these details change.
Have a Personality
Your restaurant has a personality. Maybe it’s carefree and fun-loving. Maybe it’s refined and polished. Make sure the atmosphere of your restaurant is reflected in your online presence by the content you share.
Respond, Respond, Respond
Customer service is of the utmost importance in the restaurant business. Diners want great service in addition to great food. The great service you provide shouldn’t start and stop when customers walk in and out of your doors. It should expand to your online presence. Respond to messages you receive before diners arrive. Many diners use Facebook Messenger, for example, to ask questions about the menu or reservation policy. And don’t forget to respond to comments and reviews you receive after the diner has eaten with you.
Any business, but particularly restaurants, should expect to receive some negative online reviews. Food is personal and people are highly opinionated about it. Expect some negative comments as a normal part of doing business. Do your best to respond to every review, both positive and negative. Use the negative comments to learn where there might be opportunities for improvement. Always be gracious and take the high road — thank customers for sharing their experience and providing feedback. Then, be as specific as possible when addressing their concerns.
Have you come across a restaurant who is nailing it with their online presence? Share their profile in the comments below. We’d love to take a look!