Having a restaurant or a bar (or a combination of both) these days requires more than just a good location, good food, good drinks, and good service. With the rapid growth of technology and the popularity of smartphones and tablets, restaurant and bar owners like you need to stay in circulation by bringing your business online. Your main objectives here are to keep your regular customers posted and to have potential customers get to know about your restaurant.
Think about the social media world as a community. Once you are on board, you’ll be part of a community in a way that you don’t see in your restaurant or bar. And since the social media world is a community, you need to keep yourself (as the one managing your restaurant’s social media accounts) and your restaurant or bar (as the entity that represents your business in the social media world) engaged in the community you’re involved in.
Here are 10 ways to get your restaurant/bar online:
- Start with Social Media (If you’re still starting your business). Your business is like an extension of yourself. The way you have branded it must also reflect in every social media account you have created for your business. It’s the same way that your personal profile reflects you. Although it depends on you on what kind of social media platform is best for your restaurant/bar, it’s best to think the way your customers do. Observe your own friends in your social media circle and ask yourself: In which platform/apps are they always active? Reach your customers in areas where they usually are active: such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Then you can extend your network later on by exploring other platforms.
- Create Quality Content Consistently. Of course, you need to do this to keep your main objectives intact. Just like how you may consistently update your own social media accounts, you must do the same for your business. The difference here is, instead of posting daily musings and whatnot, you will be posting enticing content about your restaurant/bar. Within your customers’ reach, you can now easily market your business. Introduce a promo, a new food item, an event (e.g. if you have live bands singing, etc.), or whatever that needs your customers and potential customers knowing. The point is: keep reminding them that your restaurant/bar exists and that you’re inviting them to grab a bite again soon.
- Follow the Trend. People nowadays prefer watching videos over reading lengthy stories (which should probably be found on a blog or a website instead of Facebook). What’s more about videos is that a lot of people like broadcasting live during their trip or posting Instagram stories to be more expressive (and to do a lot less editing on the videos than it takes on an Instagram-worthy photo). You should do the same for your business. If you want to make a video that you can view again in the future, then make one or post one on Facebook. If you’re all right with posting videos and photos that will expire in twenty-four hours, you can try Instagram stories or better yet, Snapchat.
- Make Your Content a Little Bit Personal. Stick with your brand. Having social media accounts for your restaurant/bar makes an opportunity for you to share the stories that your business has. May it be a rich history, a humble beginning, or your employees’ wonderful experiences as your staff (and as your brand ambassadors for that matter), these kinds of content would actually bring your customers to a deeper level of knowing that your restaurant/bar is not just any profit-making business but is actually an entity with a soul.
- Avoiding Oversharing. Keep this in mind: oversharing is different from making your content a little personal. One thing you need to avoid while managing your business’ social media accounts is endorsing every single food product you have. You don’t want to flood your customers’ feed with your content because you’ll only be driving them away. Instead, you can post a digital photo of your menu. It may be good to post something every day, but let your customers breathe in between posts that they see.
- Use Photography. One way to stick to your brand while on social media is using a similar look of your photos, especially if the photos are of food and drinks. Look up on basic food photography or get some inspiration from established restaurants or photographers who do food photography. Or if you have a friend who’s also a photographer, even better. Otherwise, stick with learning the basic. If you’ll hire someone who manages your restaurant/bar’s social media accounts (i.e. A Community Manager), make sure that they know how to maintain uniformity in the photos. Depending on your brand, your photos can come out as minimalistic, artistic, colorful, and or whatever style that truly brings out your brand.
- Encourage Customer Feedback Online. This is a good way to know more about your customers and what they think. This includes negative feedback. Responding to negative feedback means letting your customers know that you are open to making your business improve to serve them better. Twitter and Facebook are common platforms where people leave their feedback about your business. You can manage your Facebook page on your smartphone or tablet by using the Pages app. On there, you can access to customer queries via chat or comments.
- Be Involved Around Your Social Media Community. Just like we’ve mentioned earlier, stay involved in your community and allow your account to repost or share content that are in line with your business’ interest (e.g. wine processing, a video about where spices came from, etc.), mission, and vision. Your restaurant/bar’s social media accounts need not to have content solely about what’s going on in the business. Sometimes it’s good when your followers or loyal patrons see that you, and the people working in your restaurant/bar are not all about business, but also about other things good.
- Keep Your Diners Engaged As Well. You won’t want to come off as too assertive to your customers by always getting engaged with them. Instead, attract them to visit your Page by posting promos that they can avail of or join and to get prizes, restaurant vouchers, and giveaways. It’s time to be creative with your marketing as well!
- Keep Growing. As your business expands, and you may have already gotten around managing social media accounts, you may want to build a website to finally have your own place on the Internet. The beauty of having your restaurant/bar business its own website is that your customers can look at what it’s like to experience your restaurant even before going to it. There you can post countless snapshots of your restaurant/bar, write a blog post about who performed on stage last Friday night, and show a map on how to get there. You can post just about anything relevant and interesting to keep your restaurant/bar’s brand strong and your customers informed and entertained.
Managing social media accounts may be exhausting when you’re already the mind and the heart of your business. That is why it’s best to start something with simple and basic. If this is all too much for you, then you should consider hiring a Community Manager. Chances are if a Community Manager runs your restaurant or bar’s social media accounts, is that you’ll earn more visitors to your page and maintain audience traffic to it. Just make sure that the person you hire knows your business by heart as well and is able to communicate it well through your business’ social media accounts.