Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, UrbanSpoon? HELP!
Restaurateurs are finding it increasingly difficult to keep up with the many options for social media marketing today. How do you decide which site is best for your restaurant?
Consider Your Time Constraints
If you have a limited amount of time to spend on actively marketing your restaurant online, you may want to develop a relatively passive approach. This will mainly include monitoring sites such as FourSquare, Yelp, UrbanSpoon, TripAdvisor, and other check-in/review sites for mentions and reviews of your restaurant. You can even respond to negative reviews -- just don’t be this guy.
A more active approach to marketing your restaurant on social media will include posting and directly interacting with your followers on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. You should budget at least an hour per day to engage fans, post comments, add status updates, post photos, read other posts and groups, etc.
Study Your Customers
Can you describe your ideal customer? Have you written a detailed description of them? Where do they live? Work? Play? What do they do? Read? Listen to? Think about how they interact online and which sites they visit often. Are they active on Facebook or Foursquare?
As you talk to your customers, ask them where they go to search for restaurants. Which sites do they use and trust most? Invest your energy in the sites where your customers and prospectives are already active.
Be Realistic About Your BudgetSetting up accounts on social media sites is free -- which is one thing that makes them so appealing to small restaurant managers and owners. But running them isn’t. Carefully review your marketing plan and budget and figure out how much money you can afford to invest in your social media efforts.
All channels aren’t created equal, in terms of the investment they require. Creating a steady stream of videos for YouTube will require more money than designing and managing a simple Facebook page.
It’s better to do a single site really well than try to manage multiple channels weakly. We recommend that newbies select only one site and focus exclusively on that site for at least one month.
Ryan Sides is the Lead Strategist at Bacon Social Media and is committed to helping restaurateurs increase repeat business and save money through Social Media marketing. E-mail Questions or Comments to Ryan@BaconSocialMedia.com.