Voice of the Restaurant Industry
It is uncommon now for a business person not to have heard of the importance of using social media in marketing their company. Since your customers are using social media to see what people are saying about your restaurant / food service establishment, if you don’t have a business development plan that includes social media marketing, then you losing out!
In a nutshell, social media are those social networking sites where individuals congregate to connect with friends and family; sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the newest addition, Pinterest, to name just a few. With so many people with similar interests congregating in one place it is no wonder that the business world quickly caught on to the importance of having a presence on these websites in order to promote their businesses. Facebook alone has 900 million users worldwide. Twitter has 200 million users worldwide. Another social media avenue to consider is your own website with a blog. Having your own blog allows you to gain more advertising foothold in the social media world. Blogging is often free or has very little cost associated with it, although there is a real time commitment to blogging.
One way to utilize social media when it comes to the food service industry is to ensure that your business has a presence within the social media structure. For example, by using YouTube and Twitter channels to broadcast your company’s latest updates you can drive more traffic to your website or to your business itself. By having a Facebook page you can ensure that your presence will be felt on Facebook, and that when you purchase selective advertising blocks on Facebook, that your ads will be seen by those who are most likely to increase your sales. One of the primary benefits to using social media – especially when it comes to food service businesses – is as an interactive two-way conversation with your customers; a means of getting input directly from them with regards to your food, service, location, cleanliness and any other aspect of your business. Being able to determine how your customers really feel about your food service establishment can help you learn from them and to strike the right balance in your business. Engagement is the biggest key behind social media strategy.
No matter what marketing strategies you employ, the biggest advantage to social media marketing is in connecting and engaging with your customers; in making them feel as if they are a part of your business. When your customers obtain instant updates in their email or on their Facebook page they feel as if they are involved in what is happening. This is a feeling that does wonders for promoting customer and brand loyalty, even when it comes to an industry as volatile as that of the food service industry. But don’t take our word for it. Look into what the leading social media sites have to offer in their corporate or business advertising sections and see if any of their options could potentially be used to promote your own business and to generate customer traffic. You may find yourself pleasantly surprised at the results. Above all remember that social media requires patience, insight, some skill, and a clear understanding of your goals and of your audience.
What social media sites is your business using to connect and engage with your customers? Leave a comment.
Ian Said, is an entrepreneur and founder of Ideal Software, a software development company specializing in Stock Control and Point of Sale reporting solutions. Follow him on Twitter @costofsale