How to Market With Facebook
By Lorri Mealey, About.com Guide
Facebook has leveled the playing field when it comes to marketing and promoting a restaurant. It used to be standard practice to pay a good chunk of change for newspaper ads, radio spots or TV commercials. However, with the advancement of online advertising and the mobile revolution of smart phones and iPads, people are connected instantly, all the time. This is why it is important to include social media marketing in your promotional campaigns.
The leader in social marketing is Facebook, which has revolutionized communication in the 21st century. Old media strategies were basically businesses announcing themselves to the public, selling their products and services. Consumers, though swayed, viewed these ploys as an interruption in their daily life. New media, that is since the internet came on the scene, is all about a dialogue between consumers, concerning a business, product or service. This new, permission based style of marketing lends itself perfectly to restaurant industry, where word-of-mouth advertising often produces better results than a traditional marketing campaign. And no site does this better than Facebook.
Set Up Your Facebook Page
A Facebook page is the command center for your social marketing campaign. Through your Facebook page photos and timeline, you can establish and express your restaurant’s identity. It allows you to respond to customers quickly and personally. Along with photos and posts, you can use a variety of apps to further engage customers, like menu apps and event apps. You can select which posts and stories you want to highlight by pinning them to the top of your timeline. The Facebook Page also allows you to mark milestones for your restaurant, whether that be hitting a certain number or likes of fan followers, opening a franchise location or receiving some good news (James Beard Award, anyone?). The page layout also allows you to show at a glance how many people like your restaurant and are talking about it. It also allows people to see how many of their friends like your Facebook page. Use Facebook to Deal With Customer Complaints A concern for some restaurants is customers posting complaints on their wall, for everyone to see. This is definitely a chance you take with social marketing. People are less inhibited in what they say online. That should not deter you from setting up a Facebook page. There are a couple of different strategies for dealing with complaints. You can address them, and then post a few other things, to “bury” the comment down your page (a little sneaky, but effective). This shows the customer you care about their comments, while not giving the complaint prime real estate on you page. Often times other customers will beat you to the punch, defending your restaurant against complaints.
Photos and Videos
People love pictures of themselves. Tag customers in photos. Not only does this make them feel included, it will show up in their news-feed and their friend’s news feeds. This is effective, word-of-mouth advertising at its easiest, making customers feel special and showing everyone else how fun it is to be at YOUR restaurant.
You can also post photos of dinner specials, drink specials or desserts. Avoid posting too many food photos, this is why you have a website. Same applies with videos. A short video of your chef or bartender is fun, but people won’t want them continuously in their news feeds.
Administration Privileges for Facebook Pages
As an admin, you can have access to all kinds of neat stats to measure the success of your campaign. Your admin page shows you information about post performances, notification of comments, as well as likes and tags by customers.
Consistency is key to a successful Facebook campaign. You need to post regularly, but not too much, else you run the risk of people hiding you in their news-feeds, which is akin to being invisible. Keep the tone light, friendly and encourage people to interact with you.