As an every day consumer I am constantly surprised when I come across a restaurant that doesn't participate in any social media...not even a Facebook page. In this era of technology it is important to have a presence on the internet beyond a single website. Today people are influenced more via social media and email than from old-fashioned print, radio, and television. If you think of your restaurant as a brand, then you should utilize every venue available for promoting your brand.
Social media and email campaigns can be a daunting task for restaurants to add to their already busy lives. I'm sure that's the reason why some of them are lacking that Facebook page. If the restaurateur is too busy and not technologically savvy, social media falls by the wayside.
The power of social media for building your brand cannot be denied. A simple photograph of a tantalizing burger is more powerful than a menu description. When combined, even more so. Even so, with so many social media platforms out there, it's difficult to keep up. Should you focus on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Yelp, or whatever else is out there?
That's where a social media consultant can be valuable. For anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to a couple thousand for a public relations firm, there are people out there that can take care of posting something, somewhere at least once a day. The key is to keep your name and brand in the customer's reachable memory.
Every city has a few social media savvy foodies out there that work specifically for restaurants at an affordable rate, sometimes even just in trade for food. Depending on your budget, you can go for just simply posting pictures to sites all the way to interactions/replies to customers comments, building websites, and setting up e-commerce sites for gift card, t-shirt, and other novelty sales.
Rodney Blackwell, at Circle R Marketing, started out as a food blogger and now works with several Sacramento restaurants. For Bacon & Butter he takes photographs of their new dishes and then posts them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as well as managing their website and e-commerce site.
"Social media marketing is so much more than doing x number of posts over y period of time. I really believe that replies to questions that are asked, comments on the cool food photos customers are sharing and thanking them for their visit are all ways to stay in touch with customers and keeps them coming back." says Blackwell. "I also believe it's important to use the social media channels to build up a restaurant's newsletter so the restaurant can reach customers directly in one of the most effective ways possible. That way if Facebook changes how posts are seen or if the Twitter feed flies by too fast, you can still email the customers that are interested to let them know about that cool upcoming event or special offer."
If you have trouble thinking of how to budget for a social media consultant, consider where you can trim costs. Are you paying other internet vendors for marketing along with dozens of other restaurants; so you are lost in the crowd? Can you even be found among the listings? You might be better off taking that fee and using it to focus on promoting your restaurant alone.
One free way is to "claim" your restaurant profile on Dinnerwire.com. Once claimed, you can Edit your profile to include pictures, video, description, and amenities. For restaurants using Rezku, this is the landing page for making reservations.
It’s easy to be overlooked when you are in the big pool with everyone else, but you can come out of the water and wave your branded beach towel and catch more attention on your own. A good social media consultant can take that burden off of you and wave the towel so that you can focus on that restaurant you are trying to run.