Social Media How To
Utilizing Social Media to Drive Traffic
The battle for new diners (and returning guests) is most often fought today on the mobile device – this mostly means smart phones. When operators respond to the question, “What are you doing for social media?” their responses usually fall into one of two categories:
- I pay somebody to handle it – I just don’t have time – I am not very happy because their response time is too slow.
- I have a server that does it.
Here is the truth:
If you know the right tools to use, it is not difficult, costly nor time consuming to develop a social media strategy and manage your social media presence across all platforms.
Have an Anchor
Fifteen years ago, a business had no credibility unless they had a website and the complexity of the web site tended to define the caliber of the company. Those days are long gone. Having a website is not as important as it used to be, but it is necessary to anchor your digital media presence. Your website does not have to be complicated and can be just three or four pages: Home, Menu, About US and Catering (or whatever is most important to you). In the past you needed a web master to host, create, manage and update your web site. Those days are also long gone. You should own your domain – if you don’t currently know if you own your domain you can visit www.whois.com to see who owns it. If you don’t own it, there are ways to take ownership. Updating (or adding pages) is a very simple process today – just click and paste. GoDaddy is one of the best, they offer special pricing for a multitude of products and services. You can connect with them at www.godaddy.com.
Social Dining Sites do the bulk of the heavy lifting today as it relates to building out a social media presence and making a business discoverable. Unless you are using an aggregator you have to go to each site (Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google +, Open Table, Urban Spoon, etc) and create and manage an account individually. If you make changes to you menu, pricing, hours of operation or want to update pictures, you have to visit each site independently to do so. GetFound publishes and updates your business information to a variety of popular sites simultaneously eliminating the need to manage multiple accounts on services like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google, Yahoo, Urban Spoon and more. Check it out at https://www.godaddy.com/products/business-marketing.aspx. There are third party companies charging $150 or more a month to do this and you can do it with Get Found for $11.99/month (GoDaddy currently has it on sale – normally priced at $19.99/month)
Don’t Let Reviews Drive you Nuts
Here are two great tools that make managing reviews easy:
- Perch consolidates all of posts from the most popular social media apps in one place so you can stay current on what folks are saying about you and your competition. perchapp.com. Perch is free!
- Review Trackers not only consolidates your reviews, but also allows you to respond from a centralized dashboard and utilize analytics to evaluate how your business is trending online. The link is reveiwtrackers.com. Review Trackers is normally $49/month.
Posting is the Hardest Part – Not Any More
When given a choice between writing a post and doing a full inventory, most operators will choose the inventory. However, the who, what and when of posting can be simplified with one very intuitive, simple and free tool:
Hoot Suite allows you to pre-author and schedule hundreds of messages for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and LinkedIn. I recommend starting with the free version. Check it out at www.hootsuite.com.
The following resources offer great tips on utilizing specific tools and customizing posts:
- Here is the link to an article that promotes 21 tips to use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter more effectively. It is well written and the tips are effective.
- Here is the link to an article that outlines how to create effective posts
The next two links I use regularly and I hope that you find them helpful:
- This is a link to the National Restaurant Association’s library. It is pointing at the Social Media section, but on the left you will see a wide range of marketing topics that might have value for The Wing.
- This is a link to the blog at socialmediarestaurant.com. It is a great resource on a multitude of topics. I read it regularly to help stay current on trends and tools.
Don’t Forget about your Employees
Internal communication should not be overlooked. Sling incorporates a private, Facebook-style environment for you and your staff with a very powerful online scheduling tool. And the best part about Sling is that it is absolutely free. Check it out at www.getsling.com.