Restaurants and Social Media (and your website).

The Future of Computing

Smartblog on Social Media quotes the following restaurant-and-social media tidbits:

  1. Consumers are 71% more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals.(HubSpot)

  2. 49% of consumers use Facebook to search for restaurants. (Mashable)

  3. 58% of Facebook users expect offers, events or promotions when they become a fan.(HubSpot)

  4. 81% of U.S. survey respondents say friends’ social media posts have directly influenced a purchase decision. (Forbes)

  5. 15.1 million consumers go to social media channels before making a purchase decision.(Knowledge Networks)

A good way forward for an independent operator of a restaurant with regards to internet and social media strategy is the following:

  • Gather up your existing marketing collateral (and create new material).  This includes photos of your establishment, staff, your restaurant at its busiest, exterior, and glamour shots of your food.  Be sure to have your paper menus (and source PDF or spreadsheets) and good quality examples of your logo and any clipart (and digital sources where possible).  Make sure you have the legal rights to use that material.
  • Determine where your customers are in the online sphere.  It’s safe to say you need to be on Facebook and Foursquare.  The tech saviness of your clientele will determine if you need to be on other networks such as Google+ and Twitter.
  • Determine a promotional strategy that complements your business need.  Your goal isn’t to follow the group-buy model where you lose your shirt with one-time customers but rather a strategy where you get a customer (and enthusiastic advocate) for life.  Think loyalty program, not coupons.
  • Create a website with social media hooks.  Your site MUST do the following (and not do these things as described on the Oatmeal):
    • Static Landing Page
    • Display location, hours of operation, map, and ability to get driving directions
    • NO FLASH landing pages
    • Be smartphone and tablet friendly
    • Display your menu natively (without the use of Flash or Adobe Reader)
    • Allow for search and social media optimization, including hooks for Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare
    • You may want to consider a blog if your restaurant has seasonal specials and events such as bands, comedians, or theme nights.  The contents of that blog can then be pushed to Facebook and Twitter.
    • You should have an about page.  Telling the narrative of your restaurant and showing pictures of its history is a good way to emotionally connect the brand with your patrons.

Of course, you can easily do these things yourself.  It just requires money, time, and expertise.  Don’t want to do it alone?  I can help.