5 social media guidelines for Restaurants

1. Be polite. No one wants to be the owner/manager/employee who lashes out at an unhappy guest. There are countless examples of letting anger take hold, but the results are always the same: it’s embarrassing, gets bad PR, and can ruin your brand image. The best thing to do when someone has a complaint, but has already left the restaurant, is to take the conversation offline, and privately message them and resolve the situation out of the public eye. If someone is still at the restaurant, approach the guest and see what can be done to rectify the situation.

    2. Respond. It’s very easy to set up a social media account, use it for a while, and then ignore it for long periods of time. The problem with ignoring social media platforms is that guests can still be interacting with an establishment, and feeling like they’re being ignored. This result is the opposite of what social media should be! Try to always respond to check-ins and comments, even if it’s just a quick “thank you!” It’s a small step to lasting relationships with guests.

      3. Consistent communication. When a company decides to set guest expectations with a Facebook or Twitter promotion, front-of-house staff members must know about the promotion. Brand equity is damaged at the customer level when a server is not knowledgeable or the kitchen is not prepared.

        4. Facebook is not Twitter. Don’t use Facebook as an extension of Twitter or vice-versa. Take advantage of Twitter’s fast moving feed and Facebook’s new 5000 character limit and the ability to post photos and videos.

          5. Last, be aware of current events. Understand trending topics and the purpose of hashtags. Do not be the next Kenneth Cole #Cairo debacle.

            The Holy Trinity of Restaurant Social Media… and Yelp

            Social media is essential in promoting businesses and engaging with customers and guests. At first glance, social media may seem like a waste of time. Below we’ve outlined the 3 most popular sites for restaurant goers –  Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare. We’ve also included Yelp, because we’ve noticed that the site is a growing concern for owners and managers of restaurants.

            Twitter:

            What it’s used for: interaction and conversation, real-time taste of consumer attitude, promotion

            Overview: Twitter is a great resource for real-time interaction. Correctly monitoring Twitter results in a better understanding of the marketplace. Twitter allows users to search for topics and see what trending topics are in a specific area. It is a great place to interact with guests and join conversations that relate to the type of food or drinks served. For example, a sushi restaurant might search for #sushi, and find someone that is craving sushi in the area. They can then invite them in, establishing a connection with the guest. Restaurants can also use Twitter to announce and promote specials.

            Foursquare:

            What it’s used for: relationship building, loyalty rewards

            Overview: Guests can use Foursquare to check-in to businesses. Businesses take advantage of this by setting up specials, like free chips and salsa for every check-in or a free drink for the mayor. Restaurants can take advantage of Foursquare by monitoring check-ins and welcoming guests that have checked-in. Making a guest feel welcome and special increases the likelihood of them coming back again and again.

            Facebook:

            What it’s used for: promotion; conversation, photos, events

            Overview: Facebook for business is helpful in promoting specials, posting images, and conversing with guests. One major benefit of Facebook is that restaurants can post things that people can look back on for months, like photos and comments. Facebook also allows users to create events and invite guests who “like” the page.

            Yelp:

            What it’s used for: reviews from guests; research from potential guests

            Overview: Of all  people who dine at a restaurant, a very small percentage post reviews on Yelp. It is important to monitor a brand through Yelp, but more valuable information about the way a restaurant is perceived can be obtained by talking to guests while they are dining. If a guest has an issue while dining and it is not corrected before they leave, they are leaving unhappy, and any review they write will reflect that. If a manager talks to the table and corrects the problem before they leave, the guests leave satisfied.

            Do you need help making social media sites branded? Contact us, we’d love to help!