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Maggiano's customers are using Facebook, Twitter and other online mediums every day to keep up, reach out, and make plans with friends. Maggiano's wants to be a part of that conversation. Social media is not the next big thing; Social media is widely used by almost every demographic, and the big boys are rapidly usingFacebook, Twitter and other digital promotions to build their customer bases and drive more visits. The real question is how to find the time and money to use digital marketing effectively.

On one hand social media is cheap. It costs nothing to post on Facebook, blog or tweet. However, you need two things for a successful social media plan: content and an audience.

The content/audience is a classic chicken and egg problem. Without content, you cannot have an audience, and without an audience, creating content seems like a waste of time. Furthermore, without the right content you will never develop an audience and could risk losing touch with your best customers.

To understand the relationship between content and audience, let's compare a business Facebook presence to buying "time" on the radio. Like most traditional media, with radio you buy the audience along with the medium. Radio stations generally play music for free to create an audience and then sell that audience to advertisers. Your ad is essentially an interruption to the content the audience tuned in to hear.

A successful small business Facebook page is quite the opposite. You get "Liked" because of what you post. Your "content" is the reason you do or do not have friends. If it's all "Half-Price Seafood Tonight," well just imagine a radio program of all great ads. Yawn. If your Facebook page sounds like a radio ad, you probably won't have much of an audience.

What does work is to create a well-rounded social media strategy. This means a consistent stream of interesting tidbits, announcements, and promotions distributed across multiple mediums (Facebook, email, Twitter and blogs) that will grow your audience, keep them interested and cause them to react when you have something special to promote.

If writing a couple of blog posts, two emails, 12 Facebook/Twitter posts and a promotion every month sounds like a lot of work, I guess that answers the question of why Maggiano's is hiring an expert to do it. The next question is what's your plan?

You could hire a tech guy and a good writer (these two talents are generally sold separately). Alternately, you could learn to do it yourself, or you could let us to it for you. CoverBoom has developed a program for independent restaurants that need quality, customized content and promotions at an affordable price. We will run your online marketing.  You can run the restaurant.

If you would like to learn more about creating custom content for your business, we would love to chat with you. Give us an hour of your time and you can get a year of email, blogs, Facebook posts/tweets and promotions. Call us to find out how.

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