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Restaurants and social media are a match made in heaven. Restaurants provide their clientele with an experience; one that is often documented on the customer’s own social media wall. Why wouldn’t your restaurant be keen to get in on the action?
Unfortunately, thoughtlessly setting up a Facebook page for your restaurant does not make for an effective online presence. You want to carefully plan your restaurant’s social media strategy, to ensure that your online presence comes across in the exact way that you’d hoped. With all of the flexibility that comes with platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Yelp, a strong plan needs to be formed in order to capitalize on the (almost unlimited) potential of social media.
So how do you go about creating a social media marketing plan? It’s easiest to break the process down into four parts; the audience, the content, the voice and the competition. Each of these areas covers a unique aspect of the social media experience, and when they are worked in tandem, you’ll have all the ingredients you need for social success.
Let’s get to it!
Find Your Audience
The very first step on the road to social media domination is to understand exactly who your core audience is. This will obviously be reflective of the sort of restaurant you own – are you a family diner, a hip café, a snack bar in an industrial area, or something a little more Michelin star rated?
You’ll soon get an idea of your audience by analyzing your current clientele. Focus on things like their age, their apparent profession, and the times that appear to be the busiest (whether that be a time of the day, or a peak period of the year). It’s important to get a good profile of your audience, as the result will govern almost all of the decision making from this point forward.
Think About Your Content
Once you can close your eyes and create an image of your standard customer in your mind’s eye, it’s time to work on your social media message; the content that you’ll be delivering to your audience from this point forward.
For the snack bar in an industrial area, for example, focusing your content around lunch (meals of the day, specials etc.) will ensure that your audience is engaged. If you’re a pub that enjoys a healthy Friday afternoon crowd, a drink special that has patrons hanging around for dinner may be worth thinking about.
Be sure to deliver a variety of content in a variety of ways. There’s no point in just putting up the specials every day at midday. Keep your audience excited to follow you. Post videos and photos, and showcase a little behind-the-scenes action.
Develop Your Voice
Just as important as the content is the voice in which it is delivered. If your audience is what you’d find in a hip inner-city café, for example, referencing (carefully chosen) pop culture or using local slang may be appropriate. For the establishment aiming for that Michelin star, flick through the thesaurus and replace “fancy” with “opulent”, “fresh” with “salubrious”, and “yum” with “succulent and flavorsome.” You’ve got free reign to double your normal word count.
Analyse Your Competition
There are no secrets on social media. You can check out exactly what your nearest competition is doing, and analyse if their strategies are working. Doing such homework allows you to learn from others’ mistakes, giving your restaurant’s social media presence the greatest chance at success.
While copying every aspect of a competitor’s social media strategy is never a good idea, borrowing, customizing and improving upon their ideas is an excellent way to go about it. If you follow your competitors’ accounts there may even be a chance to join forces in the future, collaborating on a social project.
Once you feel as though you’ve got your head around each of these aspects, it’ll be time to jump online and put them into practice. While there will certainly be lessons that can only be learned on the fly, giving yourself a good strategic foundation will put your restaurant in the best possible social media stead.