For the rest of the summer, the Go! Agency blog will focus on the social media habits of some of our favorite industries. Every week, our first blog will explain common mistakes made by an industry; followed by a second blog that will explain how to fix them. Think of this series as What Not to Wear for social media marketing!
In 2016, 75 percent of U.S. restaurants advertised on Facebook (Statista), but that doesn’t mean that the industry has mastered social media. Too many restaurants treat social media like sidework–an afterthought. Updating pages, posting content, and responding to customers–it’s easy to see why some restaurants are in the weeds when it comes to social media! Although several big chains have been killing it on social media, others need guidance. Here are a few of the biggest questions you need to ask.
According to BrightLocal, 85 percent of consumers give online reviews the same weight as endorsements from people they know. Sites like Yelp are more influential than ever: 34 percent of consumers report that peer reviews influenced their restaurant choices; and 61 percent of consumers have looked at restaurant reviews online.
- Do you monitor your Yelp, Facebook, or your delivery service pages for reviews?
- Has your restaurant ever received a negative review? How did you respond?
- Do you respond to positive reviews?
- Do you share positive reviews?
Little to No Interaction
If you take away only one thing from this blog, let it be this: the purpose of a website is to spread information; the purpose of social media is to connect with your audience. Too many restaurants use their Facebook or Twitter profiles only to showcase new menu items or notify the public of holiday closures. An engaged audience is a profitable audience! Too many restaurants neglect this simple fact and don’t respond to comments or questions on their social media profiles. On a semi-related note, restaurants are guilty of wall-to-wall promotional posts. You should be doing more than just sharing your brunch specials.
- Do you reply to comments?
- Do you follow your regular customers and interact with their posts?
- Do you ever showcase your staff on social media?
- Do you only post promotional material?
Poor Scheduling or Rarely Updating
Some restaurants never update their profiles, and some posting schedules follow no discernible pattern. People need to know what to expect. Customers can’t take advantage of your happy hour specials if they don’t know about them in time! Oh, and have fun explaining to the staff that the restaurant’s owner sat three tables five minutes before closing, because the customers all looked at your (outdated) information on Facebook and didn’t know you’d changed hours of operation.
- Which social media platforms do you use? How often do you check them?
- Is all of your information current on each of your profiles? Hours of operation, menus, specials, et cetera?
- Do you announce new menu items? Specials? Events?
- Would people have an easy way of accessing your menu or website from your social media page? When was the last time you posted?
No Community Involvement
Social media might be on the world wide web, but it still gives you a chance to connect with your local community! Successful restaurants are well-established in their communities. Becoming a regular at community festivals and charity events is powerful free advertising! Some smaller establishments have had a great deal of success utilizing social media to create buzz in the community.
- Do you tag other local (non-competing) businesses?
- Have you ever networked with other businesses in your community?
- Do you ever promote or take part in local festivals or events?
- Does your restaurant offer deals that are only available or visible on social media?
We cannot emphasize this enough: social media users respond to images. You need to bring your A-game when it comes to your visuals on social media. You want to entice potential customers with perfectly plated entrees, but even one bad picture could change their minds.
- Are you photos polished and high-quality or amateurish and average?
- Does your photographer use proper lighting?
- Have you ever relied on an Instagram filter to “fix” a below-average photo?
- Be honest: would you eat the menu items you post on Instagram?
This post is just an appetizer. In our next blog, we’ll explain how restaurants can fix these errors!
Are you in the weeds with your social media marketing strategy? We can help! Contact us today for a free consultation!