I’ve always liked the smart aleck question/analogy “what’s the ROI of your telephone?”  You don’t know when that phone is going to ring (or if!) but you have to have one in case people want to reach you that way.  It’s the same with social media – so why stress out about the ROI (return on investment) of Twitter and Facebook?  Your customers – and potential customers – are out there using these social media tools, so it’s important for you to using them too, and doing it well.  The ROI will follow…

That brings us to today’s “second course” of The ABCs of Social Media for Restaurants (part one here), as we examine the sexy letters J through R – more important tips, tricks and tools to keep you engaged and productive with Twitter and Facebook.

Don’t be a lurker!  Social media platforms are about dialogue not monologue, so it’s not okay to just post your updates and never interact.  Be sure to comment on other peoples posts and show interest in them…and guess what? They will do the same and now we’ve got something going on!

Daily interaction on SM is a must to keep your fans engaged and updated.  If you only post once a week, you are not only losing visibility but your info looks old and stale…not good characteristics of a restaurant!  Just like you make new food every day, create new messages every day that are tasty and fresh!

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/RN74Seattle/statuses/160086452795998208″]

Show up – every day! – to read what people say about your posts, learn what customers talk about (when it’s not about you!), find out what competitors are doing, see what the food bloggers/media are writing about or looking for.  It’s not all about you, remember? 🙂

A universal dislike – menus in PDF form! The majority of people are viewing your info on mobile devices, and they don’t want to download your menu, they want to see it. Now! Make your menu viewable, easily accessible, and formatted for mobile devices.  Here’s why your website needs to be mobile!

Each SM platform is a unique animal, so fight the urge to automate your posts and just blast the same message everywhere at once.  Go to Facebook to post updates, go to Twitter to tweet, etc. – they are all different platforms with different audiences that require a different language.  And you must return to each one often for follow-up, or else people will write you off. Posting a tweet that directs me to your Facebook page to read the info is a big turnoff!

It’s hard to follow thousands of people on Twitter and see what’s important to you, but using organizational tools like Tweetdeck really help.  They allow you to put people in “lists” to turn down the noise and allow you to find information you actually want or need to see. It’s a simple tool to download and set up, maybe 15 minutes tops.  Trust me…

People eat with their eyes first – how many times have you heard that? Or how about “a picture is worth a thousand words?” Now if we just had smell-o-vision! Seriously, you are in the business of selling food and people want to see how delicious it looks!  Statistics have shown there are 3-4 times higher click thru rates on updates that include a photo.  Show us your delicious food and compel me to show up tonight to taste it!

These small  “quick response” codes, placed on a flyer or your front door or an advertisement, can take the viewer to short videos or special website pages or other destinations to give them additional info.  These could include a video showing your chef explaining this week’s special, or details for an upcoming special event or perhaps a secret promotion.  Here’s an article about 16 ways restaurants can use QR codes.

In this age of SM and rapid fire text messaging, people expect answers quicker than ever.  If someone on twitter or Facebook asks you what’s the fresh catch tonight, they can’t wait days for you to reply!  By being present and attentive, you can respond to questions while they are relevant and turn them into diners tonight.

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/BlueMoonBurgers/status/159798343676071938″]

So we’re 2/3 of the way through The ABCs of Social Media for Restaurants – hope you aren’t full yet, because there’s one more course to come tomorrow! Oh and if you just can’t wait to get started, I’m happy to help you…what, you didn’t know I’m a Social Media strategist and trainer for restaurants? Shame on me…

Did you miss Part 1 of the ABCs? Click here to read now!