Ask almost any group of people how you should market your restaurant online and they’ll list off half a dozen different social networks. If you’ve spent much time with any of them, you’ll quickly realize it’s a huge investment of time to market your business effectively on ALL of them.
Nevertheless, I constantly see restaurants trying to do exactly that. I’m not talking about giant franchise systems with full marketing and advertising teams, either. I’m talking about tons and tons of average, one location mom and pop restaurants.
If they were using all those sites effectively, I’d say, “More power to them.” Unfortunately, what you usually see is a whole bunch of barely active pages and profiles – a Twitter feed last updated a year ago, a Facebook page with a couple months of consistent posts and nothing since, an Instagram account with a few pictures…you get the idea. As a loyal patron of a restaurant with that kind of scattered social media presence, it can be hard to figure out the best place to get the updates and promotions you’re looking for.
So what’s a small restaurant to do? For starters, plan your social media presence based on what you genuinely have time to maintain. If that means only Facebook, so be it. It’s better to make one very useful profile than to waste time building endless profiles, trying to get followers, and losing steam before you get around to maintaining everything. If you want to claim the profiles just to make sure no one else does, that’s fine – just be sure to let users know if a profile isn’t actively maintained and updated.
Second, if you need to get help, get help. It’s likely you know someone or have a staff member who would be willing to help out for a very reasonable price. Often, marketing and advertising students are thrilled at the opportunity and they’ll do it for no additional cost during their normal work hours. Just be sure to lay out some basic guidelines about what should and should not be posted (and advice about when to get you involved).
Finally, make sure your website and signage are updated to let guests know where they can follow your updates. Though some will seek you out, it helps tremendously if you make it easy on people and let them know where you’ll be.
The key to winning with social media is to apply long-term, consistent effort. By narrowing your focus to include only those sites you truly have time for, you can expect greater returns for a smaller overall investment.
Questions? Comments? Experiences you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!