“Social Media Marketing Strategies for Restaurants”

The financial crisis is likely to hit the fine dining industry very hard. Already there have been reports of exclusive London restaurants slashing their prices in order to maintain a steady flow of clientele and therefore subsequent cashflow. Competing on price, however, is never a wise, or usually profitable, strategy, so dining establishments need to look for alternate ways to bring in the customers. One easy way is to develop a social media strategy to connect with your customers and create a community of regular diners.

While every restaurant should develop their own strategy in order to connect with their key demographic the ideas I put forward here should offer you an insight into how to go about it. The tools I’ll be using to implement the strategy are easy to learn and use. In fact you may already be using them, but not necessarily in the most advantageous way. Also the tools are either free or cheap so you should see a good return on your investment (ROI) in a relatively short period of time.

The core of the strategy is to open the lines of communication both from you to the customer and from them to you. This allows you to inform them about what you offer as well as allowing them to offer feedback about what you’re doing well and what you can improve upon. This later part essentially allows you to use your customers as a free, perpetual, up-to-the-moment focus group. Once you’ve opened up the lines of communication there’s then an opportunity there to create a community, which brings benefits like brand loyalty, reliable and trusted feedback and word-of-mouth marketing.

Though the big restaurant brands are the whales of social media, there is plenty of room in the long tail for the smaller, independent restaurant. Why? Because local is the new organic, and you can’t get local from Outback Steakhouse or Subway.  There’s no sense of place at the chain restaurants–the value that they provide is consistency across countless locations and close proximity to major highways.

So what about those smaller, independent restaurants that embrace their local clientele and cuisine?  My advice:  play up your local connections for all they’re worth. Tout your support of local organizations, growers, producers, and artisans. Promote neighborhood events that drive traffic near your store, and coordinate your social media efforts to support your organizational goals.

Social media marketing and the businesses that utilize it have become more sophisticated. More small businesses are beginning to understand how to best leverage online tools to build a community and recognize that engagement and interaction are the foundations of social marketing, but most don’t know what’s next.

What follows are five advanced strategies for small businesses that may already have small online communities and understand how to create an online presence, but don’t know what to do next.

Did you ever notice that the best local restaurants are the ones you never see advertised?  That’s because successful local restaurants wouldn’t see a high ROI on print advertisements.  They see a much higher ROI by focusing on their values. 

Hometown Heroes have 3 things in common

  1. They know their customers.
  2. They care about their customers.
  3. They evolve with their customers.

Here are 10 ways you can know your customers, show you care about your customers and evolve with your customers by using social media.

 

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