Restaurant social media can seem like a must have strategy, but it’s not for every restaurant.
There is a lot of discussion about social media in the business world today.
You may have dabbled, but like others you’re probably wondering if social media is a good investment.
In this post we’re going to look at the social media opportunity for restaurant owners and explain when restaurant social media might be a good strategy and when it might be best to pursue other marketing strategies.
What matters most in social media is the customer.
The demographics, especially age, of your customer will determine if social media is a good investment. Tweet This
Your restaurant likely has a pretty specific customer. While there are variations at all restaurants usually there is a single type of person you focus on as your target customer.
If you’re a traditional restaurant you might focus on an older demographic.
Maybe your restaurant is located close to a university where lots of young students and professionals come to eat, drink and socialize.
These are two very different target customers.
You would expect each restaurant to have different ways to market to customers.
The general rule to follow is that if your customer is less than 35 years old or even 30 years old then social media is likely going to be a way you can market to your target customer.
If your customer is over 35 you can focus on other marketing channels.
There are exceptions to this rule, but in business you have to play the odds when it comes to marketing. For social media, the odds favor restaurants with young target audiences.
Here are two examples:
Your marketing philosophy allows you to pick your customer – this image says everything – boomers vs. 18-34. pic.twitter.com/zLdy23TG
— Kevin Hillstrom (@minethatdata) February 6, 2013
Interview: Bart Bryant
“I hardly ever use a computer, my wife prints e-mails for me and puts them on my desk.”
Bart Bryant probably isn’t following restaurants on Facebook.
Determine your target customer.
It’s easier to determine if you should use social media or not after making the determination.
If you determine that your customer is in the younger generation that uses social media then social media has a higher likelihood of being a marketing opportunity.
People use social media for a few different reasons depending on the nature of the platform.
Facebook gives people the opportunity to connect with people they know in real life. It’s a great platform for sharing photos and keeping in touch.
Some businesses have been successful using Facebook by creating a business page. You can create a list of people that like your business page. When you provide updates some of those people will see your updates in their News Feed. Photos seem to do best when shared.
Twitter is a way people stay updated on the latest news. The crowd on Twitter shares what’s happening right now in the world. Twitter is basically a feed for up-to-date information. If you have frequent updates that are interesting to people you could find success for your restaurant.
Google+ is Google’s social platform, but they take a different approach. Google+ has an impact on search and that’s important for local business including restaurants. By creating a restaurant Google+ page you provide Google with important information like your address, phone number, menu, etc.
Indications are that having a Google+ page with lots of followers and authority will have a great impact on search.
Google+ might be the best way to introduce your business to new customers.
With each social media platform it takes a stream of interesting content to get discovered by new customers.
At Restaurant Engine, we focus on creating content on our own website through the blog that people want to share on social media. This is a common strategy and one that can work for restaurants.
You can upload the original content – photos, recipes, updates, etc. – on your website and share on social media.
That’s the key to social media: referrals.
People need something to share.
The ultimate referral comes as a result of your food and service. If you’re a great restaurant people will talk about you on social media just as they do in real life.
But you can also create other great content for people to share. That’s where there is a new opportunity with social media.
Investing in social media marketing within your company is mostly a time investment. You’ll have to dedicate human resources to creating content and updating social media platforms.
To truly take advantage of restaurant social media you’ll need to have a person dedicated full-time to the efforts. They’ll focus on creating content and attracting followers.
You can outsource this to a marketing company. There are even social media marketing companies that focus primarily on attracting new customers through social media.
So it’s either a time investment by you and your employees or a monetary investment done with outsourcing the efforts.
A quick note on expectations because it’s an area where people get in trouble.
Social media success usually doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a long-term strategy aimed at building a following that will share your content with others. That’s how you get new customers to discover your restaurant.
It likely took some time for your restaurant to build a following. Expect the same type of work when moving forward with a social media strategy.
There are a couple “ifs” that go with the question, is restaurant social media a good investment?
If your customer is under 35 years old restaurant social media could present an opportunity.
If you can create a strategy that fits with the nature of a social media platform restaurant social media could present an opportunity.
If you have the time or money to invest for the long-term restaurant social media could present an opportunity.
Once you’ve analyzed your restaurant based on these questions you’ll be able to know if social media is a good investment.
If you think it is a good fit then you’re in a great place because social media can be a great opportunity for restaurants. It’s something that could be a source of new business for years.