The days of having some communications major who works a shift or two at a restaurant handle all the marketing for your restaurant business are over.
Restaurants are getting more competitive when it comes to marketing via social media and other online avenues. It has been shown that 83 percent of people research an establishment before deciding to spend their money there.
Marketing online via social media and content marketing/PR is the only way to compete in some of the larger markets. The following are some ways you can market efficiently online.
Use Social Media and Online Outlets for Customer Service
There are few things that people like to complain about more than their service or the food at a restaurant. While there are going to be people that just can’t be pleased, there are those who had a bad experience who just want to be heard. Responding to a negative tweet or asking for contact information in order to remedy the situation can keep people from going on a negative review tirade online.
More and more people view these reviews so keeping them as positive as possible should be a priority. Online review sites like Yelp or Google Reviews give the business owner or staff the ability to respond to these reviews. Some of these might have personal attacks against you or your staff but it is important to stay professional as other customers or potential clientele might see it before deciding to go or not go to your bar/restaurant.
Nothing screams that a staff doesn’t care about its customers than not even claiming these pages. Not responding to these reviews also can lead a person who was on the fence about returning to decide to not return as their opinion wasn’t valued.
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Don’t Underestimate the Use of Coupons
Many people love to feel like they are getting a deal, there are plenty of ways you can offer coupons online. Social media is a great way to allow people to claim coupons by hashtagging a certain phrase that has to do with your bar/restaurant. Other tactics to market are by putting a coupon on a site like Groupon which can give it maximum exposure to the masses.
The fact is many people will use the coupon but only for a fraction of their meal allowing the restaurant/bar to still make their healthy margins. A thing as simple as checking into a bar and receiving a free drink is a great way to boost social presence.
What Social Media Platforms Should You Be Using?
Facebook should be used as many people go to the restaurant page to see what friends and others have said about their experiences there. This can be a great place to advertise daily deals or even the catch of the day. Another thing that can be done on this platform is posting some media exposure that your establishment receives in a local or national publication. This can also be a place to answer questions on specials or even attire if need be.
Twitter can be used for a bar or restaurant to promote different specials or even engage with regulars. Building this relationship is important as it can humanize an establishment which can boost customer loyalty and personal relationships can be garnered. Instagram is a great platform for restaurants or bars that have an aesthetic appeal to their food. A description of food doesn’t pale in comparison to a picture of a tantalizing sushi roll or steak.
Follow the trending hashtags in the area in the event of a food festival or event in your city. This can be a great way to get new people into your restaurant simply by commenting on the happenings around your restaurant. Pinterest can be a great platform if your chefs like to try new things that are not on the menu. They can post these recipes and gather a following of people who want to try something a well-known chef is cooking during one of their off days.
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Don’t Miss Out on SEO
Local SEO for a restaurant can turn an establishment to success in a matter of months. The one caveat is that your service and food have to be great as many people check reviews rather than ranking on a search engine. If you have a high enough rating and your restaurant is ranked on the first page, this might be all of the work that you have to do.
Boosting this SEO score can be quite simple especially if you have a well-known chef in the kitchen. Backlinks can be built to your site even if they do a simple cooking expo and explain it in a blog post. SEO for restaurants has always been important but with the advent of different reputable review sites, this has lost a little bit of steam.
As you can see the restaurant/bar industry can be quite complicated to market for as the landscape is very competitive with many restaurants taking on new and creative strategies to dominate the competition. Cover what you know and that is food/drink when marketing for your establishment as branching out will not hit your target demographic. Market online efficiently and have impeccable service/food then your establishment will be here to stay as the public will ensure it.