Social Media Marketing – A veritable tool for Restaurants

Recently, a consulting client of mine who is a close friend asked me the reason why there is so much noise about social media marketing in the publications of the industry. At first I was in a state of consternation, but after a moment of ponder I realized that many professionals are not knowledgeable about social media marketing for restaurants. I should have realized that given the large number of businesses that do not own a Facebook account. Another customer of mine asked me whether social media marketing has any benefits for independent bars and restaurants.

First of all we need to have an understanding of the meaning of Social Media Marketing.

Social media is a platform of communication which is social in nature; and marketing is the business or action of selling or promoting products or services. Social Media Marketing is basically using the social means of communication to sell or promote products or services.

Before the advent of Twitter and Facebook, many used to describe social media marketing as advertising through word-of-mouth, and after someone has left an establishment satisfied with the services rendered we would hope that they will tell their friends about it. With social media and social media marketing agencies such as Sweven Media all of that has changed.

What many restaurant owners, bar owners, and managers do not realize is that conversation with customers is not only a verbal exchange with little or no effect, but it has now moved to a virtual exchange where the owners of the establishment can make their own contribution. One of the major advantages brought about by moving conversation to the virtual world is that you can participate continuously in the experience of customers and how they share in that experience long after they have left your business premises.

The possibility of engaging with and continuously influencing your customers in a direct way even when they are not in physical contact with your establishment, is the major benefit of social media marketing.

A better way to grasp the concept of social media marketing would be to understand its main goals and how they can be applied to a restaurant or bar.

The main goals include:

  1. Extending your customer service
  2. Developing public relations
  3. Reputation Management
  4. Creating brand awareness
  5. Driving sales and leads
  6. Building a community of advocates

It is important to create brand awareness for your specific location as this will help project a few information which will linger in the minds of many people about your restaurant. This is because people do not have an obsession about your business like you do, they do not think about your business until when it is time to use the service which you offer.

Create a branding message which will:

  1. Link you to a specific location
  2. Set you apart from competitors
  3. Make a promise to your customer which you can deliver

These messages will move your customers to choose you over your competitors most of the time.

There are several benefits to derive from creating brand awareness through social media platforms. One of which is managing the expectation of customers through branding. If your customers know what to expect from you when they visit your establishment and you clarify what you can deliver, then there is less likelihood of having a major miscommunication with customers and the more likely customers will be satisfied with your business.