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You probably have heard all about the benefits about using social media for your restaurant and all the different types, but do you actually know how to use it effectively? Connection to these sites allows restaurants to have almost 24 hour access to their customers and what's even better is that it's free advertising. When was the last time Facebook asked someone to pay to post how good their Starbucks frappacino was? However, if a restaurant wants to be successful in creating a social media plan there are a few steps that they should take before jumping in.

One of the first things that a restaurant needs to determine is their audience. This is an easy step as most successful restaurants know who they are marketing towards already. But the thing that is most important about the target audience is how they interact with social media. Some people prefer to just post once a day and check up only once while others tend to post every minute. It is also important to see where loyal customers congregate. Do they prefer Facebook or are they more Twitter or Tumblr fans? Determining this will insure that a restaurant attracts and informs the right people.

Next is to identify the goals or establish the "why" of a restaurant's social media strategy. Setting a clear goal of the strategy before start up will ensure that it will flourish the right way. It is also important to create relationships with customers. A strong relationship with customers builds brand loyalty and keeps them coming back for more.

Once a restaurant has established a strategy they want to make a clear "social voice" for their customers. A restaurants "social voice" needs to reflect what they are and the brand it represents. A restaurant should be consistent with their updates to the site because customers like stability and the knowledge that the brand they are loyal to has everything in order.

Performance is key to having a good social media strategy. The great thing about social media is that it allows a restaurant to track how well it is working for them. Looking at the number of comments and questions customers post shows that people are involved in the brand and want more from it.

After a restaurant implements a social media strategy, they want to evaluate the content they have published. This is very important because just as a restaurant is always changing, their strategy will also have to change. There will be details that need to be retouched and new features to add. Having a social media strategy is a constantly changing tool that will need some attention. However, if given the attention it needs it can be one of the most effective ways for a restaurant to thrive. Social media strategies are a must for restaurants in the modern market and will continue to evolve and provide immense resources for the future.

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