5 Digital Marketing Tips for Restaurateurs
One day a week, we are trying to offer digital marketing tips for specific industries. I think the food industry is one that can be most impacted by social media. There are so many sites and platforms around that specifically work in the food industry. The trick then becomes using all the tools available to build a great presence online. Below you will find 5 tips for you to follow if you are a restaurateur or restaurant marketer.
- Start with a Great Website – In most businesses, an effective online presence starts with a great website. You own your website and everything on it. Use that to your advantage. Post your menu where people can find it easily. Offer online delivery (if that is operationally feasible). Create a page for reviews – one that you have absolute control over. Be sure to make your hours, phone number and location information easy to find. Finally, and most importantly, invest in a web designer. You can create a site for free on one of many platforms, but they don’t know how to optimize sites for best placement in search engines, they often load slow, and they never look as good as they promise. If you consider staff time spent on trying to setup the site, it is often cheaper to outsource this type of work to someone who knows the business. Have a web designer design your website and have your manager manage the restaurant. You will get better results from both when you do this.
- Embrace Yelp – So many business owners hate Yelp (Take Samy and Amy from Wednesday’s entry for example). Sure, Yelp had some problems when they started, but they have built a great social network that a lot of people believe in. In fact, Yelp has an approximate average of 120 million monthly unique visitors and their members have written more than 53 million reviews. Those are huge numbers. Learn to work those numbers for your benefit. Sign up for a business account, claim your business and then make sure that your information is correct on Yelp. Now the elephant in the room… every business has some negative reviews. Don’t fret over that. I think people understand this. But if you sign up for a Yelp Business Account and claim your business, you can respond to those reviews. I encourage you to do that. If you get a negative review and return a positive comment, you are better than that review.
- Be Amazed by Facebook – Facebook has a lot of cool features. Let’s start with the biggest. There are 1.23 billion people with Facebook accounts. Chances are most of the people who come to your restaurant probably have a Facebook account. Create a great Facebook page. Facebook allows for check-in’s – so offer something in exchange for check-in’s. Facebook also allows for reviews. Offer something in exchange for a positive review. A great example would be to give away a generous gift certificate every month. Each time someone checks-in or likes your page they receive a chance to win. Give them 10 chances if they leave a review. There are a lot creative ideas to build traffic. Also, you can create a tab on your page to show your menu. Take advantage of that as well.
- Create a Google+ Page and Connect with Google Local – This is a little more complicated of a process, but if you create a page on Google+, you can connect with Google local so that if someone Google’s your restaurant name, they get a bunch of great information on the side of their search screen. Any social media strategist, like those at Boxless Media, can help with this.
- Don’t Forget FourSquare, OpenTable and the Others – For many of our clients, we advise clients to pick one or two platforms and to rock them before moving on. For restaurants, my advice is different. There are a bunch of secondary social platforms and apps that connect foodies with restaurants. Research them, get on board and take advantage of their user base. It’s like getting a free marketing person for your company. Just be sure to make sure that your information is correct on these sites.
These are five great tips that will make any restaurant success online. Some of them you can handle yourself but others may require help. We truly believe that if you have someone helping you with your digital marketing, the benefits will far exceed the expense. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. We welcome all comments and questions below…