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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?

 

(This article was originally featured in the Louisiana Restaurant Association's eNewsletter, The Dish.) 

 

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 dont 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 writen 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 Budget

Setting 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. 

 

Do You Agree?

There are plenty of other considerations for deciding which Social Media site is best for your restaurant.  Which top 3 would you consider?  Let me know in the comments section below. 

 

About the Author:

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. Questions or Comments? Find me here!

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Comments

  • @ryan - yes, the Twitter app is brilliant. Definitely a "best in breed". I tend to use HootSuite a lot, on desktop and mobile, but that's mainly because I am used to the interface and because I use Twitter lists extensively to divide up people I follow in areas of interest. One list for developers, another for startup people, another for customers, another for friends, and so on. Wouldn't be able to use Twitter without them! :)

  • @magnus - thanks for reading and for the comment. I too fill my lag time with mobile time. :) To be honest though, I truly dislike the fb mobile app. I use safari and go to the desktop version. The app is too restrictive for pages. It's great for just reading and keeping in touch though. Twitters app is nice. I like the way it shows you if someone is following you or not, so you know right away if you can DM them. Twitter's app is even better on the iPad. Its left and right swiping is too cool.
  • Good points. What I really like about Facebook and Twitter are the awesome mobile apps for smartphones, allowing you to not necessarily schedule in an hour every day but sneak in time for responses and follow ups in the "in between" times of doing other things.

  • @JonRock - good point.  I debated on including something like "If you need a direct answer, here it is..."  Maybe another blog post? :)

     

    @AngelaStoner - Thanks!  I agree.  Having a tool, but not knowing how to use it, renders the tool useless.

     

  • If I were an independent, I would suggest focusing on Facebook, FourSquare and UrbanSpoon. Twitter could potentially be a big time-sink it you don't have the time to dedicate to sending Tweets and maintaining Refollow.

  • Great post Ryan - most restaurants are active in Social Media (or at least have a Facebook page!) but don't know how to effectively use them.  These tips are definitely helpful! 

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