Social media – why use it and how to start

People like to talk about beautiful, delicious food on Twitter

Sometimes it’s good to be reminded of the basics, such as, what exactly are we doing here on social media? 

I listened in on a teleseminar presented by the National Restaurant Association this week, and Stacey Kane, director of marketing for California Tortilla, presented some great, simple tips about why restaurants should care about and use social media.  You’ve probably heard them before, but for those few timid souls who have still not made the leap to Twitter or Facebook yet, here’s a short recap on why you should use social media:

  1. Viral marketing - your message spreads fast and has wide reach
  2. Virtually free - social media tools are free and the cost is only your time and energy
  3. Immediate – you put a message out there and people see it/respond right away
  4. Continuous customer engagement – you stay connected even after customers leave your restaurant, and you have access to follow up with surveys, thank you for visiting messages, trivia, specials, etc

And if you now “see the light” and are ready to Tweet away or create a Facebook Fan page, what’s next?  Here’s a few more bites from Stacey about how to get started:

  • Decide who will handle the duties of tweeting/posting – they must be able to speak in your “voice” and have time to participate
  • Listen!  Check out the major social media sites and listen to what people are talking about, investigate what they are already saying about you, do your homework
  • Pick a platform – decide what target market you are trying to reach and which sandbox they play in (Twitter or Facebook or other), and then go and play where they like to play!
  • Decide if you will offer discounts, specials, etc. to followers – and be sure everyone in your company knows about it and how to execute those offers

And I would add one more key component - develop a social media strategy and stick with it!  You really need a road map of where you want to go and how to get there – or you may end up in Poughkeepsie when you were headed for Tallahassee!  There are many social media consultants and advisors (like myself) who live and breathe these activities every day – use us!  Let us help you, and then you can do what you do best – make delicious food for your awesome customers – win-win for everyone.

Class dismissed :)

Related post: 5 Reasons Why Restaurants Should Use Twitter

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