Understand if, when, and how to engage.
The foodservice industry is as competitive as ever, and whether you’re an established business or just getting off the ground, there are never too many ways to drive your business forward with new customers and more loyalty from existing ones. This has led many businesses to flock to social media channels, creating profiles and pages and sharing content, but some businesses have held back because social media can be daunting for even the savviest entrepreneurs.
Social media doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Any business can leverage platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube by taking a deliberate approach to understand the landscape, identify opportunities and launch a presence.
- Look at your competitors. One of the richest sources for insight is your competitors’ social media platforms. Make a list of your biggest competitors and look at how they’re using social media channels. What platforms are they using? How are they using them? See if they are doing something you could do better and even if there are elements to their approach you might want to emulate.
- Research your customers. Social media should be used to connect with your customers, so do a little research. Ask some of your best customers how they use social media to follow or engage businesses and what they would find valuable, but also, do some research of your own by looking at how customers are using different social media platforms.
- Search for your business. You may be surprised to find that whether you’re using social media to promote your business or not, you may already have a presence. Search for your business and look at existing social conversations to identify where people are already talking and looking for information about you. Use Google, Twitter search and Facebook’s Graph Search to search for your business.
- Prioritize and launch a presence. Use all your research and determine where your brand’s greatest social media opportunity lies and then establish a presence with established goals in mind. It may be Facebook to keep your biggest fans up-to-date on special deals, Pinterest to share some of your incredible dishes and the recipes that inspire you, or Twitter to provide real-time updates on the business. Remember, you don’t have to do everything at once. Prioritize what makes sense, create a presence and invite your customers to connect.
- Keep the content coming. No matter what channel or channels you choose to use, content is the fuel for success. Create a calendar, determine how often you want to and can post, and identify key dates and initiatives you need to promote. Then plan and create content based on what you know about your customers and what your restaurant brand can provide them. As you move forward, don’t stop measuring. Compare your efforts with the goals set out at the beginning to identify successes and opportunities for improvement.
Social media offers a new opportunity for businesses to connect with their guests, and while it may seem overwhelming, businesses who take a deliberate approach to establishing a presence can use social media to help build their business.