January 14, 2019 |
This is the first in a three-part series on misconceptions that restaurateurs need to be aware of when using social media.
Social media is one of the biggest points of connection you can have with customers and potential customers – but misunderstandings and misconceptions about whether you need it, or how you should be using it often occur.
Here we look at the biggest misconceptions that might be negatively impacting your online presence and the success of your restaurant.
“I DON’T NEED SOCIAL MEDIA, I GET ENOUGH CUSTOMERS.”
It’s great that you have got a lot of customers, and that you are busy – but you need to remember, you don’t just use social media to sell directly to your guests. In fact, brands that push too hard to sell their products actually end up annoying visitors, losing engagement and not ranking as highly as brands who understand that social media requires a social connection.
Creating a community and taking the time to interact with your guests not only builds your online profile, but it improves your reputation, industry authority, and standing in the public consciousness.
Your customers are loyal to you for a reason, but if you take their loyalty and patronage for granted, you will lose that good will and they are going to go elsewhere.
“THE BEST THING TO DO WITH NEGATIVE COMMENTS, REVIEWS AND FEEDBACK IS TO IGNORE IT!”
No! Absolutely no!
Ignoring your customers will not help your business. Leaving negative feedback unattended doesn’t just cost you the custom of the person involved, it actively damages your reputation and puts future customers off.
It is estimated that for every one person who complains, there are another 26 unhappy customers who don’t say anything… but they don’t come back either. When you get a negative comment or review, your customer is giving you a second chance to make the situation right – how you handle your review management can change their opinion of your venue, and even see them recommending you to others.
You also have to remember that other people see your reviews. If you have unattended negative reviews, potential customers aren’t going to assume you dealt with the matter privately, or that the reviewer may have been less than truthful. They are going to assume the review is accurate, and you didn’t care enough to sort it out.
Reputation management is essential – especially in the restaurant industry, where your competition is constantly growing.
You need to show your customers that you care about their experiences, that you value their custom and that you are willing to make amends when things go wrong.
“SOCIAL MEDIA IS JUST FOR ATTRACTING NEW CUSTOMERS – I DON’T NEED TO WORRY ABOUT PEOPLE WHO ALREADY DINE WITH ME.”
You mustn’t get complacent – your competitors use social media and can appeal directly to your customers as well, tempting them with new offers and dishes, and giving them good reasons why they should visit their establishment the next time they are looking to go out.
If you are not visible and active online, your brand and venue is going to be forgotten in favour of new experiences and offers.
It is important to strike a balance with your content; every piece needs to be understandable to someone who is discovering your brand for the first time, but it also needs to be interesting and engaging for the customers who are returning again and again.
One of the most effective ways to get this balance right is to conduct research into the demographics of your audience using analytical tools (such as Facebook’s Business Manager). When you know who your audience are, and what they are interested in – you will have an easier time creating content that appeals to them.
By having an active social media presence, you can encourage new guests to visit you, interact with returning customers and keep everyone up-to-date on what your venue is doing, what it’s offering, and how they can find you.
If you don’t have optimised social media working for your brand, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to connect with customers.