Learning how to use social media for restaurants or cafés should be on your list of essential things to do. A huge 88% of people were influenced by reviews and online comments. With so many hospitality businesses already online, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed and unsure how to stand out from the crowd. In this article you’ll find some best practices on building up a social media and online presence for your business.
Create an Online Voice
This isn’t as vague as it sounds; the first step is to figure out what type of tone you want to show your audience. Many hospitality businesses choose to go for a more light-hearted and friendly tone. This tone should be reflected in the type of content you share. Sharing a meme or a funny picture of staff is acceptable for this tone. Imagery should be bright and fun with the language to match. Don’t be afraid to hashtag or use language you know your customers use.
However, there’s a fine line between using the language of your customers and sounding like an awkward parent. If you decide to use slang, don’t overdo it.
Example: Our new dish is totes amazballs. Try it today and get lit!
Instead try: Our new dish is just amazing! Try it today and use our hashtag #newdish
If you’re looking for a more formal tone, memes are not the way to go. You should share content like your menus, business news, local events you’re a part of, or photos of dishes. Don’t be afraid to use hashtags but stay away from slang terms.
Use Customer Content
Customers may tag or share your business in photos or share your location on social media. This is free content that you can reshare with your followers while showing that your restaurant is popular. This free content is especially great if you don’t have the time to keep updating your social media. If you are short on time, content management systems can help busy business owners to schedule social media posts. You could also have competitions between customers to share photos, giving a prize at the end.
It’s important to encourage your customers to share and tag you in their content as this means free marketing and publicity for you. Consider creating a restaurant hashtag so customers can use it when they share a photo. This hashtag could be displayed in your restaurant or café alongside menu items or your Wi-Fi password.
Show off Employees
Showing your employees on your social media is a great way to show your business as a friendly place to eat and work. This shows you care about your employees, thus humanising your business to both customers and potential customers. A big plus of this is that people will want to work for you if they know you have a friendly and employee-centric culture. Employee turnover is a major issue for the hospitality sector, so this may help you get an edge on your competition when it comes to hiring.
While it’s great to post about national or worldwide trends or events (like Mother’s Day, Black Friday or Christmas) it’s just as important to post about local events. Is there a local event coming up that you can post related content on? Consider making a list of annual local events and promoting them on your social media. This shows you’re not just local but that you care about your local community. Don’t be afraid to jump on less formal events like World Tea Drinking Day (half price tea) or World Sibling Day (got siblings working for you? Share that!).
Don’t Talk About Yourself
This is where it gets tricky; how can you promote your business on your own social media without talking about yourself? Well, here’s the thing; you can talk about yourself, but just not all the time. So, don’t be afraid to use your social media to promote a new dish or share some business news, but balance that with sharing customer content and encouraging them to comment and review your business. Twitter allows you to create a poll, meaning you can get your customers to decide or give their opinion on something like a new menu item. Or you could just keep it simple and share a photo of the new menu item on your social media platforms and ask for opinions.
Make Things Easier
Setting up and starting to use social media for restaurants and cafés is simple when you know your tone and overall brand message. Using customer posts as content is a great way to keep your social media active without much work from you. However, investing in a social media management system would allow you to schedule and manage any social media account you have for your business. There are many free versions around, but they have limited functionality. Consider taking a free trial before investing in a social media management system that suits you and your business. Alternatively, you could hire someone to run your social media accounts. This would mean that your restaurant or café can stay on relevant topics, interact with customers, create graphics and upload photos in real time.
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Starting your business’ social media is an investment, but also puts your business out into the wider world, builds brand trust and shows people what you have to offer before they even set foot in your door. The power of social media cannot be underestimated which is why it may be a good idea to hire a social media manager or invest in a social media management system.
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