The Appetizer: A Quick Introduction for a Quick Guide
There was a time, years and years ago now, where only tech companies and college student-run startup companies used Facebook to connect with their target audience. Not long after that, everyone and their grandma were using Facebook.
Seriously, my 91 year old grandma is on Facebook!
It was in this meteoric rise that the vast majority of restaurant Facebook page and accounts began popping up. From billion dollar McFast food chains, to upscale, reservation-only establishments - if you had a menu and a seating area, you have a Facebook page! Now that the dust has settled and several imitators have tweeted and pinstagramed their way into the market - let’s take some time to do use Facebook to market your restaurant efficiently and effectively. If you follow these simple DO’S and DON’TS, your customers will notice and will be more inclined to make the transition from ignoring your posts to becoming active participants in your social media conversations.
Bon Appetite de Facebook: The DO’S of Restaurant Facebook Marketing
- Make Sure Your Restaurant Has a Facebook Page not a Profile - Does your restaurant have friends or likes? If you answered friends - you’re doing it wrong! Facebook profile are for personal users to like and comment on their old college roommate’s vacation photos. A Facebook page is a reserved space for a business or an organization to connect with interested parties and share related information and news. Besides, who would want to be friends with a building?
- Post Early and Often - When do you change the sign by your hostess that highlight the daily specials? If you answered “every morning, before we open” that is also the perfect time to post those specials on Facebook. (If you’re one of those people that changes the sign the night before, you’re going to have to set an alarm or something) Think about all the office workers who find themselves in front of a computer every morning. While not all of them will admit it, their Facebook feed is the first thing many of them will view on that screen. A nice write-up of your daily specials accompanied by a mouthwatering photo might come in handy for when they discuss what’s for lunch hours later. If you get into the habit of posting this desirable content regularly you won’t have to catch anyone’s eye - they’ll be looking for it.
- Encourage Interaction Through Your Posts - It’s a beautiful day today - what do you like to do on days like this? Have you seen (insert current hit movie here) yet? What did you think? Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone? Each of these statues encourage an answer. You can tailor these questions to tie in with something about your restaurant to keep everything relevant. For instance, the beautiful day post would work well for a restaurant with outdoor seating. The movie question would work well if your restaurant has a promotional tie-in with the current blockbuster or is even located by a theatre. The Schwarzenegger-Stallone question would be good to just get some conversation going and getting your followers to look out for future posts. Also, its just a great question. (The answer was Arnold, obviously.)
Undercooked and Half Baked: The DON’TS of Restaurant Facebook Marketing
- Don’t Overpost or Underpost Promotional Messages - You see this one all the time. Restaurants that feel the need to let you know every hour on the hour what is new on their menu and when they will be closing tonight. As mentioned above, a nice “Good morning, here’s what we have going on today” message is nice but at 8:00 in the evening few people want to be reminded a third time about your delicious fish tacos. The abandoned Facebook page is just as ineffective. Their page often reads like this:
Notice the time lapse between the two comments. Chances are those followers on St. Patty’s day forget they opted in all those months ago.
2. Don’t Embarrass Your Customers - This one particularly pertains to bars or establishments were stiffer drinks are served. Come on, we’ve all been there - there’s no benefit to post a picture of someone dancing on a table for all to see. Sure it might get a few likes and snarky comments but there’s a good chance you won’t be seeing that patron or their friends around your establishment in the near future.
3. Don’t Post Controversial Views or Questions - This is taking point #3 from our DO’s section too far. Posting questions or comments about something that evokes strong opinions and defensive reactions is never a good idea. You don’t want your restaurant timeline to become a forum for a debate commonly discussed on CNN. It’s never a good idea to make any of your followers feel isolated or uncomfortable so leave topics like politics, religion, and who should win Dancing With the Stars out of your Facebook posts.
Saving Room for Dessert: The Takeaway of this Guide
These are just a few quick DO’s and DON’TS tailored to your industry and the Facebook social media platform. It is important to keep in mind that Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, and any other social media account you restuarant may have follow slightly different rules. As far as Facebook is concerned though, follow these guidelines and you will be sure to stand out from the run of the mill noise from competing restaurants that has been polluting Facebook news feeds for years.