Do The Little Things Right in Online Restaurant Marketing

Give your restaurant a human side online by showing yourself and others inside the restaurant.

Give your restaurant a human side online by showing yourself and others inside the restaurant.

Are you making the most of online restaurant marketing presence?

You’ve established a great website and a strong following on social networks.

These are big milestones, but it’s the little things that really count…

Respond!

If you’re doing it right, your online presence will attract feedback. Past customers will give you their honest opinion, and potential customers will reach out for more info.

Responding to people online builds your restaurant audience and makes your brand more human. (tweet this)

Sometimes responding to online content just seems like too much for a restaurant manager. Especially when there is an influx of emails from suppliers, business partners, and personal emails every day. I’m no stranger to that overwhelming feeling.

The thing is, responding really does pay off. Over the past year, one restaurant owner I know has been working with a new “reply to everything” policy. He says it was pretty tedious at first. Even the smallest most trivial comments he replied to with a friendly and considerate tone. Within a few months, this guy was swearing by his new rule! Every bit of online feedback became a chance to engage in one on one, personal and meaningful promotion. For every person he responded to, that was a new chance to gain a loyal customer. It’s much more effective than shot-in-the-dark marketing strategies.

So how do you find the time? Try streamlining your response system. First, dedicate an hour every day to the task. When you set this time out beforehand, it seems much more manageable and you can get into a good place of focus.

To make it even easier, gather your alerts and notifications in one spot. Have a look at this post on using GetListed to monitor all your online reviews for one platform. Set up a folder in your inbox to group alerts together from sites like Facebook, Twitter, and the LinkedIn. Spend your hour every day going through these and replying to everything related to your restaurant.

Even if it’s just a quick “Thank you, we’re glad you enjoyed your meal!” you’ll start seeing positive results.

Update!

Consistent, frequent, relevant. These are the key terms to a strong online presence.

Don’t just leave your website static. Show a sign of life! Try adding an element that can be frequently updated with new specials, restaurant news and other interesting tidbits.

A great way to keep consistent content flowing is to start a blog. You don’t have to be the Mark Twain of restaurant owners! Some of the most effective blogs are just a few sentences or even just a photo for each post.

Networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram also make it easier to keep your customers updated. See a busy time around the corner? Queue your updates so they’re ready to go in advance.

Most importantly, make sure all your basic contact info and photographs are updated. Keep up with the design trends too. There’s nothing worse than a website that’s teleported to your screen from Y2K.

Customize!

Does your restaurant have a cool feature or look? Share it online with some photos. Online users love photos.

Does your restaurant have a cool feature or look? Share it online with some photos. Online users love photos.

Not all web platforms are created equal. Some are more casual, others more formal. Some cater to a mature crowd, some cater to younger users. Customize your content ever so slightly for each place your restaurant shows up online.

Your official website will set the tone for your restaurant – the cornerstone of your online presence. (tweet this)

For other places your restaurant appears, mix up your strategy to fit strength of the medium.

A good example is tags. When you just copy and paste content into each of your social networks, you’re losing the opportunity to reach out to other users with that networks’ tagging tools. I’ve noticed this on Facebook and Twitter. The two sites have slightly different tagging systems, so a tag on Twitter will not necessarily translate over to Facebook.

Another thing – longer status updates go over better on Facebook than Twitter. The character limit on Twitter calls for a shorter, more witty updates. Facebook lets you expand a bit more.

The same goes for the difference between blogging and Facebook. You can post longer, more detailed contents on Tumblr without losing your audience, but Facebook fans are looking for quicker fixes.

Don’t just copy and paste across all platforms! Take the time to tweak each bit of content according to the place your posting it. Use that networking system to tag other businesses or customers. Always think about what looks best on whatever platform you’re using.

Just remember – respond, update, customize! The devil’s in the details!

What are your experiences with online marketing? Share your tips and suggestions in the comments.

Photos by MLive and Virtual Tourist

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