Getting Started with Social Media for Restaurants

Social media can seem scary to a lot of business owners.  It's not really as complicated as it looks and it doesn't have to take a lot of an owner's time.  If you're feeling overwhelmed, it's likely that you're trying to do too much without the right help.  Find a professional that can help you both put together your social media campaign and then have them teach you as they do it.  Don't push it off on your children or an intern, this is important, it's best to get off on the right foot.  Getting started is always the hardest part.  Once you've launched a few campaigns with some help, you'll be better qualified to determine if you'd like to take over or continue to use your outside help.  You wouldn't try to construct your own billboard on the highway, would you?  Well, this is the same concept, except it has the potential to reach a much wider audience!

Remember, a good social media marketing campaign involves two avenues.  The first avenue is to give your guests something to talk about.  This may include email marketing, referral programs, exclusive promotions, or content your guests find interesting and make it available on these social media channels.  The second avenue is to listen to the chatter that's occurring on these mediums and respond and interact with your guests.  You should be extending your brand and personality online to make it a fun and rewarding experience for your guests.  The key is to build loyalty, very similar to what you're already doing on the floor of your restaurant today.  Your passionate guests want to talk and refer your business to others.  Having a social media presence gives them a very powerful way to do so.

The key to being successful with social media marketing (or any marketing) is engage and interact with your guests through the mediums that they are already using.  The first thing to do is find where your guests are lurking, and focus on those spots.  You do not need be everywhere. Instead pick one social media spot that you know your guests are participating such as Facebook or Twitter, and engage with them.  Don't try to conquer the entire Internet, instead go to where your customers are.   This will help minimize your amount of work involved and give you the best results.

Most restaurant owners end up enjoying the process of social media.  It's very similar to what you're already doing in your restaurant, engaging and interacting with your guests!