The number of ways brands can speak to customers has multiplied over the last several years. It can sometimes be overwhelming, especially for small business owners with limited time and resources. Despite the growing number of channels for brands to communicate, no business can overlook the opportunity around what consumers say to each other about your brand.
Restaurateurs would be wise to encourage their best customers and to give them a platform to share the brand with others. After all, when people hear a message from peers, the message comes across as more believable and genuine.
In order for your fans to share your message easily, a company’s message must differentiate itself, but also be simple to understand. John Costello, president of global marketing and innovation for Dunkin’ Donuts, said “The reality is our customers don’t think about the brand every day the way we do. Thus, the message has to be simple: if marketers can’t say what the brand is in a sentence or two, it will get lost.” Once your fans understand your message and can communicate it, it’s time to amplify them.
There are some simple ways to celebrate your advocates and amplify their content without turning them into big budget spends.
- Highlight them in social media: Ask them to share photos of their experiences and get their permission to highlight them in your social channels by, for example, featuring them in your Facebook cover photo. Search for your brand on Twitter and retweet positive messages
- Provide a call-to-action in store: Let them know through store signage how to connect with your brand online (e.g., your website, Facebook URL, etc.), and invite them to share their experiences with their friends.
- Celebrate them in-store: Give nods to your best customers by naming dishes, seats or even tables after them.
Whether you are a larger chain restaurant or just have one location, loyal guests are your greatest asset. Through testimonials and word of mouth, they will be your best and most cost effective resource for marketing your restaurant.