Don’t believe these six myths about Facebook for restaurants:
1. If you build it they will come. Unfortunately, just because you have a page doesn’t mean customers will flock to it. You have to actively promote your presence through other online channels (i.e. your web page, email signatures, etc) and offline channels (i.e. business cards, take-out menus, magnets, etc). You can even have your servers tell customers about it – most customers can get on their smart phones right there to like your page.
2. You can set it and forget it. Scheduling tools are great to pre-schedule posts, which is really helpful when you know your specials menu or promotions in advance. But that doesn’t mean you can ignore your page once they are scheduled. You still need to respond to any questions or comments, screen content, and post about timely and relevant things in your restaurant and community.
3. My fans only want to hear about me. Yes, they are your fans and probably your customers, but that doesn’t mean they only want to hear about you. Give them other content that is engaging and interesting, and still relevant to your restaurant. Some ideas are wine paring tips, recipes, info about local farms or pictures of local teams you support.
4. My fans don’t want to hear about me. Yes, I just said not to talk about yourself all the time. But the key words are “all the time.” Fans do want to know about what is happening at your restaurant, so don’t leave that out. The key is to balance between promotional and non-promotional content. Track engagement and see what is actually working and post more of that. There is no exact rule, you have to try both and see what works.
5. I can delete any unfavorable comments on my page. Technically you can do it – but should you? There will likely be more backlash if you delete comments than if you left them and addressed them. Facebook for restaurants – or any business – is an open forum and customers will use it to express their opinions, which aren’t always favorable. Use this as an opportunity to respond to public comments publicly – apologize for a perceived bad experience (even if you don’t agree). If it’s not a trend, your community will self-correct on your behalf and will outweigh any negative with positive. If it is a trend, then it may be an opportunity to address some business needs, and to publicly let your community know you have heard them and addressed the issue. This builds an atmosphere of trust and lets your customers know you care.
6. I should never delete any comments from my page. There are some comments that absolutely should be deleted. Establish a written policy on what would be deemed inappropriate for your page. You can keep this internally for your records and your team, or even post it to your “about us” section on Facebook. Common inappropriate statements that merit deletion are those that can be viewed as sexual, racial, discriminatory or defamatory (i.e., a false statement that harms the reputation of a business. An opinion about bad service or food is not defamatory, but an untrue claim that you don’t wash your dishes between meals is).
Don’t fall for these six myths when using Facebook for restaurants! You can read more social media tips for restaurants here to learn about what content you should be promoting and how to use tools such as Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for restaurants.