Today’s consumers are increasingly web and social media savvy; people turn to the web first for information on new hot spots to try. Consumers value what their friends have to say and frequently turn to social media for recommendations on what’s new and exciting. To be absent in these markets is really missing the boat. Social media marketing is easy to use, free, and invaluable for restaurants and bars. In this tough economy with increasing competition, leveraging social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook to reach new guests, communicate with your patrons, and encourage feedback is the way to go.
If you haven’t already, try using social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Four Square to reach your guests using a variety of techniques. You simply can’t get a better review than a follower “liking” your post for all their friends to see or re-tweeting your special to all of their followers.
- Encourage patrons to connect with you to view special deals and promotions – websites like Facebook and Four Square allow you to offer special deals to guests who ‘check-in’ when they visit your restaurant or bar. Not only will you increase the likelihood of getting new bodies in the door by offering a special deal, you benefit from the social aspect of those customer’s social media contacts seeing their friends ‘check-in’ at your establishment, and hopefully, raving about what a great time they had. Word of mouth goes high-tech!
- Show off all you have to offer and what you’re proud of at your establishment with a YouTube video. Join countless other bars and restaurants that are taking advantage of social media to promote their happenings and special features with videos. Why not create a video of one of your bartenders giving a tutorial on how to create one of your signature drinks? It allows you to showcase your restaurant, your staff, and also show off some of what makes your establishment unique. Want to promote an upcoming special event? Show video viewers what they can expect, and get it up on the web for customers to see.
- Interact socially with Facebook, Twitter and more. Social media allows you to have a conversation with your customers. Thank your patrons for tweeting about how much they loved their visit, answer questions and offer recommendations for the night’s specials or available reservation times on Facebook, even get in touch and ‘make it right’ if someone shares about a less than stellar experience at your establishment. Keeping the conversation fresh, fun and exciting shows your customers that you care and want to offer them an excellent customer service experience.
- Encourage feedback and connections by letting your customers know that they can find you in social media channels. You have to start somewhere, and making sure it is easy for your patrons to find you is the first step. Make sure to provide links to any of your social media channels on your website and print marketing, and you can even provide web addresses or a reminder to “Find Us on Facebook” on your menus or business cards.
Customers keep track of recommendations and places they like, and when the weekend rolls around and there is a decision to be made about where to go, it could be your business, simply because you tweeted about a special or a friend ‘liked’ your page! You can also find TAM® of Nevada on Facebook and Twitter. Join us socially and stay up-to-date on industry news and events, facts and figures about alcohol awareness and education, TAM® course and schedule information, how-to videos, cocktail recipes, industry job listings, and more.
Be cautious when using social media. There are no specific regulations regarding social media but remember that social media is advertising and available to everyone, including law enforcement. Do not put anything on social media that you cannot put in a print ad. Do not post activities that occur in your establishment on social medial that can be a violation of the statute or the rules.
© 2012 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada