(Blogger’s Note: This is the last post of a three part series on Social Media and Internet advertising and marketing.)
For a moment, let’s look at the old days – when print media was king. Albeit that was just a few years ago – and print still is a viable vehicle, except it is costly – there were abundant options on where to place our advertising. Much of the placement depended on cost, circulation and demographic. And the pile of papers and freebies was enormous with quality and expense at the and often garbage at the bottom.
The array of social media sites that avail themselves to us today is equally abundant and because there is virtually o cost involved at getting your message to a market, we tend to jump on every bandwagon we can. But there is a solution to over populating sites and diluting our marketing message.
If restaurant success is based on the ancient adage that the three most important factors of a new concept are location, location, location, then the three factors for successful social media advertising and marketing are organization, organization, organization.
Without organization and a plan to implement your advertising and marketing campaign, your social media Tweets, Facebook posts, Foursquare contributions, email blasts, iPhone apps and website publishing may not be effective.
With social media user profiles readily available, it’s easy to analyze which groups to join, follow and market to.
The variety of social media options changes almost daily, making it difficult for a restaurant marketing professional to sometimes stay focused. Focusing on a plan is imperative.
Here are ten tips on social media marketing tips that may help to promote your message.
1). Decide how much time you actually have to set up, maintain, update and contribute to a social media site.
2). Discuss your plan with a few staff members – wait staff especially – and find out if any of them have any time to volunteer to help you. Make that person your designated traffic driver. The position could turn into a full time job for a waiter with any marketing and social media skills who helps increase business.
3). Make a commitment to advertising promotions on your Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms. Thins can be done as simply as offering a complimentary cocktail, dessert or appetizers to the first 2 million people who respond. (Just kidding, the number won’t be that high.)
4). Pick your home court. You can’t be on all of the social media sites, don’t try. Choose one or two to begin and test the waters. See how your promotions work.
5). Customers can’t possibly read all of the electronic messages, posts, and tweets they receive. Offer your customers an option of whether they want to follow you on any of the sites you choose. A comment card in a check presenter asking where they get their social media fix will help you plan accordingly.
6). Post regularly – this could be one a wee, three times, or even daily. But make your tweets 140 characters of worthwhile information.
7). Keep track of your followers. If your numbers are going up it mean they are reading. Also, let your staff members know which sites you’re on and ask them for help promoting the restaurant and the sites they are on. You might as well turn the time they are texting –instead of doing side work- into a benefit for the both of you.
8). Don’t become addicted. For some, social media has become their lives. Set aside a time to update and follow. There is life after Facebook. However, the way things are going there may be Facebook in the after life.
9).To app or not app? That is the question. Although websites and app platforms range from inexpensive to outrageous, a restaurant app can be developed for less than $2000.00 set up fee. The decision that needs to be made is how much time to you have to update content and keep it fresh.
10). Don’t ever forget the most famous social media habit in the restaurant business. “Hey, Bob. Welcome back. Good to see you. Have a drink, on the house.” It still warms the heart and works like no other trick in hospitality.