You probably already know it from your own life or those around you: Social media is a potent tool, one capable of pulling people together, pushing them apart, and potentially introducing them to new experiences. As a restaurant owner or manager, you now practically have no choice: You need to be on social media to be successful. Thankfully, the proof is in the pudding: Good social media use can make or break a restaurant.
Are you looking to use social media to boost your restaurant business? Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
What Pictures Do You Have?
Most restaurants know that using social media is a great idea, but there's an important distinction here: you have to use social media right. What does that mean? Pictures, my friend. Pictures.
You are in the restaurant business, so you don't need a marketing genius to tell you that your business is essentially a visual one. That's why you focus so much time and energy on your food presentation. That's also what customers expect from you when they visit your restaurant, and it's something you need to pay attention to from a marketing perspective. To that end, you must take attractive pictures of your food and upload those pictures to your social media networks.
The good news is that virtually all social networks — with the exception of more "professional" ones that you probably won't be spending much time on anyway — are picture heavy. For example, Facebook and Twitter users interact more when marketers upload photographs of attractive food. You also don't need an excuse to highlight a world-class meal or a great-looking cocktail — you can just go for it. Indeed, the visual-centered nature of social media and restaurant use has been highlighted before as one of the likely trends in restaurants this year.
The added wrinkle? Video. TikTok and Facebook/Instagram reels have emerged as compelling ways of connecting with customers. Thanks to this shift, you may need to concentrate on video content and using video to communicate with customers. This requires a bit more work, particularly in terms of editing. However, it can be a great way of pulling people into your restaurant, particularly if you are creating new menu items or introducing new features to your restaurant.
What's Your Brand? What's Your Voice?
A brand position and voice are critical in any public-facing messaging, which applies to your social media use. So you have to answer this fundamental question: What is your brand? What is your voice?
The answer to this question will have practical impacts on your marketing position. If multiple people manage your social media, the voice has to be consistent. Your restaurant can't sound and look like a different person from one day to the next. Therefore, you should develop specific style guidelines that will create a consistent voice for who your restaurant will sound like on social media. You need to spend time considering your voice. Will you sound kind? Quirky? Intelligent? What traits do you want people to think of when they think of your restaurant, and how do you want those traits reflected in your social media?
Your social media conversations and pages should also reflect how you market yourself. You should use the same style of art, colors, logos, and more, consistent with your website and overall marketing material.
What's Your Plan?
Here's the truth: Every business that uses social media needs a plan, and a restaurant is no different. If you use social media for your restaurant, you should be able to answer a few questions.
First: What's your goal in social media? Make more money? Okay, great, but you've got to be more specific. HOW do you want to make more money on social media? Do you want to sell more expensive products? Pull in new customers? Get more people who have already been in your restaurant to come back?
Next, who is going to manage your social media? Keep in mind that this shouldn't be some marketing intern or a person who isn't in your restaurant more than a couple of days a week. Instead, it should probably be the owner or manager, or at least an outside firm with expertise in this area. This can increase the stability of the social media content you upload and also ensure that you can upload content regularly without worrying if your social media manager is on the clock. For these reasons, you may want to consider hiring an outside firm.
Finally, what resources will that person have? What training will they have, and what sort of equipment will they need that they may not have access to? Furthermore, are you going to pay for social media ads? This can be hugely beneficial, but only if you set aside a large enough budget and fold any paid social media efforts with other marketing plans. Furthermore, what demographics are you targeting? What message will you use to pull people in? And what networks will you use to connect with this desired demographic?
How Will You Respond to Criticism?
No matter how good of a job your restaurant does, you'll get it: The obnoxious one-star review. The troll just doesn't like you because they don't like anyone. And, yes, you may even get someone who had a genuinely bad experience despite your best efforts.
Remember, criticism is part of life: How you respond to it makes the difference. When you see a negative comment on social media, you have to decide whether or not the person wants a resolution or just wants to whine. You can usually tell this based on the content of the critique. Does it seem genuine, or is someone just being mean? If it's the latter, let it go. That person probably doesn't want an actual resolution.
If it's the former, consider the following strategy: Publicly respond to the criticism, express your sincere apologies, and offer to message the person privately. First, a public response shows that criticism matters to you and that you want to address problems in your restaurant. Next, speak with the individual, find out what went wrong, and offer a resolution. From there, see if there are additional actions you need to take to address these issues.
If you are a restaurant manager, you want the best social media use, but you know that's not enough: You also need the best management techniques and software to ensure you do the best you can for your employees. At TipHaus, we can help. Our software can automate the tip distribution process and ensure that you pay your employees what they have earned in tips. We also make analytics easy: Our software can quickly help you determine your employees' worth. Want more information?Contact us today, and learn more about how TipHaus can help.