By Alessandra Ceresa
You can’t just make a Facebook page or Twitter account and expect people to latch on and engage. It takes a lot more to reel people in. Restaurants, and the hospitality industry in general, can find great success via social media. There are many ways that a restaurant can use social media to enhance their online presence and keep loyal customers engaged and loyal to the brand.
Just because a restaurant has 2,000 Facebook fans doesn’t mean those fans are reading what is on the Wall or other sections. Engagement is what counts! Read through the following points to get an idea of different things restaurants can do to keep their audiences engaged and loving it!
– Make use of location–based technologies. Recently I had lunch with my sister and checked-in to our lunch spot using Facebook places. Once I checked in, the restaurant offered us a free gourmet popcorn basket to start. What a perk. From then on, I started checking in to a lot of the places I frequented most, hoping to come across some more specials or promotions! This is a great way to not only keep people coming back and lure customers in. People love getting rewards and free stuff. Offering clientele a little something extra for checking in, whether on Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter, etc. is a fantastic method to build a loyal fan base. Plus, after I received my free popcorn basket, I immediately told everyone about it…word of mouth ;).
– Get creative with contests. Social media contests are fun and engaging. It not only gets people to the Facebook page, but once they are there, they will be more likely to peruse around it. If the restaurant has the right content pushed out, this could be a home run. Perhaps a hamburger eating competition where one can only sign up online, or maybe the restaurant gives away a gift certificate for the best recount of an experience at the restaurant. There are so many different ways to approach a contest, but the fact is, is that they work, and can attract A LOT of people. Again, people enjoy competition and the hope that they can win something awesome.
– Make use of pictures and videos. Videotape people enjoying food at your establishment. Perhaps take videos of the staff, the Chef, events being held at the restaurant. People are incredibly visual, and having something that is more than just words on a screen can help captivate an audience. Plus, if you make them funny or worthwhile people will want to see more from the restaurant, maybe even resulting in a web mini-series of videos all about the restaurants, its patrons, and events.
That last point brings me to my next:
– Become a resource in your industry. Publish recipes, chef interviews, tastings, events, pairings and more on the restaurant’s Facebook page and blog. Give people a reason to keep coming back for more. Provide the customer with added value. If fans know they can get a recipe of their favorite dish or cocktail from the restaurant or bar, they are more likely to come back over and over again to the page.
These are just a few ways to start engaging and interacting with an audience. Stay tuned for more blog posts on examples of how restaurants use these, and some more creative ideas on how to get the customer, and keep them.
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