Restaurant owners are asking, “What is social media and how can it help me?”
Social media is a medium of communication that builds relationships i.e. business through interaction. And when it’s orchestrated correctly, the rewards are great. It will increase revenue, balance out seasonal fluctuations and develop a better environment to serve customers.
Making social media a priority for your business has many positives side effects, but building a credible image and trust in the community are at the top of the list. Let’s discuss 5 reasons why social media is crucial to your business.
1. It builds a community.
Think about it. Without social media, customers give you their allegiance because of the food, atmosphere, or prices – all tangible reasons. They probably don’t know you or have a relationship with you. So if another restaurant has a similar product they may decide to go elsewhere.
Through social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Yelp) you can reach out to customers, ask them if they enjoyed their experience, gather reviews and give them a reason to return that is personal – not just tangible.
2. Promotes a positive image. Although a restaurant is a body of many people working together, it is viewed as one entity. Pre-social media, customers didn’t talk in specifics when it came to a restaurant experience – it was great, okay or bad. But with social media, there are many platforms for customers to discuss their experience with the world in intimate detail.
Social media offers a place to engage with customers and build relationships to enhance the brand. If the restaurant has a last minute issue that conflicts with open times – a leaky roof or broken oven – it can be announced online and give customers adequate time to change their schedule. It can also announce upcoming festivities or specials.
And if customers complain or make negative comments, social media is the best way to ensure the business’s integrity. Difficult situations are an opportunity to show customers how important they are by confronting them head on. Genuine relationships and loyal customers are the reward.
3. Humanize your restaurant. How do you react to the chef who takes the time to say hello, a manager who says your business is appreciated or a server who knows you by name? Who doesn’t like to feel special?
Nowadays people want to interact with their favorite business online, too. They want to know personal information about your restaurant and they expect you to give it to them. Sharing is caring, and sharing is the definition of social media. As a business humanizes itself, the door opens for people to create loyal relationships. Sharing insider details about the chef or owner, explaining a well-known restaurant acronym or giving cooking tips make it personal.
Sharing information may sound scary, but there is power in taking the initiative to share it on your own terms. Plus, it’s the norm nowadays, and if you don’t, your business will be left behind. Guaranteed.
Customers remain loyal when they view a business relationship as personal. Never know, the off-season may just turn into a busy season.
4. It’s about the service. Your business may already have a loyal fan base, but don’t be foolish enough to think it will last forever. Good restaurants come and go with time, and everyone knows it. The businesses that last are going to be those who understand the importance of servicing their clientele past the normal routine of the business. Customer service is IN, vague, half-hearted attempts are OUT.
Serve your customers, give them a chance to voice their experience in your restaurant and to get to know you. If you truly want to run a successful business, you’ll appreciate the honesty.
5. Relationships are everything. Despite all that is changing in the way we do business – relationships are still everything. One never knows when a sensitive situation could threaten the livelihood of your business’s reputation, no matter how successful it is.
Plan for the future as you would for the off-season. It’s important to make your relationships stronger and let your customers know they are appreciated.
Do you believe restaurants should invest in social media? I would love to hear your thoughts.