Social media is a great place to connect with your customers, have them engage with your content, and create a wider spread online presence than your website can do alone. But when using social media for restaurant marketing, be sure to avoid these three common mistakes:
Mistake #1: Not responding to customer posts
Customer interaction with your social media is ultimately the goal of having a social media presence for your restaurant, which is why it’s so surprising to see so many restaurants who don’t respond to customer posts. Social media is not meant to simply push out your message, it’s meant to pull in customer interactions and engagement. When a customer raises their hand, it is essential that you address it.
This is especially true for Facebook and Twitter, when they can directly post to your wall or to your page or via direct message when they have a question, compliment or complaint. Every single one of these messages should be addressed in a timely manner (within 24 hours during the week, 48 hours over a weekend, but preferably within the hour in any case possible). Not answering these messages is the equivalent of turning your back on a customer in house when they ask you something or compliment you to your face.
Mistake #2: Removing a post or a comment because you don’t like it
Social media puts control in the customers’ hands when it comes to content. You may not always like what they have to say, but that is not a good reason to remove it from your page. Set your social media policy and determine what is deemed inappropriate for your page and use that as a guideline as to what should be removed. Common policies allow for removal of any content that is: offensive to your audience/the general public, uses inappropriate language, pornographic, degrading, defamatory, slanderous or blatantly untrue, spam (sales pitches/urls), etc. Use your best judgment, but it’s usually pretty clear when something should be removed ASAP from your page.
The types of posts that should not be removed from your page are the kind that you may not want to see but don’t fall into those categories. These are better left alone and addressed publicly. Removing someone’s opinion about your restaurant just because you don’t like can cause far more harm than simply addressing it. For instance, if a customer complains about your service or food, that does not merit removal. But it does deserve a response and an apology, even if you don’t think it’s true, because it was true to them and their perception of their experience. This is different than a claim that someone got food poisoning from your food, for example, which could be considered defamatory if not true and should be removed and addressed with that customer offline.
Mistake #3: Not looking at your results
Managing social media for your restaurant is a lot of work and can take a lot of time, so it’s important to make the most of it. It’s important to understand what is working and what is not to optimize your page for the best results, otherwise you are wasting your time and resources on it. For instance, a quick look at your Facebook page shows you (as an administrator) how many people you reached and how many people have engaged with it through likes, shares or comments. If you notice every time you post a daily special less people were reached and no one interacted, but every time you post a picture of a busy Friday night it reaches a wide audience who engages with it, then it may be time to reconsider those daily special posts and think about content more similar to your Friday night posts.
This is an ongoing process – what works today may not work tomorrow. Keep content fresh, but based on what you know is working for your audience and giving you the biggest return on your efforts.
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