If you need some guidance with marketing ideas, see this free online source: Virtual Restaurant BEFORE you Jump into Social Media Marketing:
Create a plan: First, know your audience; says L. Michelle Smith, president and CEO of Dallas-based media-strategy firm M Strategies Inc., whose clients include Atlanta-based Churchs Chicken. Are your customers on social networks, and if so, which ones? Next, know what you want to accomplish: Is your goal to build a relationship through dialog with an audience? To tell people about the brand, or about news and events? “Its not a strategy just to be there,” Smith says.
Listen to what customers are saying: Search social-media sites and read what already has been postednot just in reviews but in comments and conversations. “Youll learn a phenomenal amount,” says Van Vandegrift, president and emerging-media consultant with Matrixx Pictures, a Santa Monica, Calif., production company whose clients include Austin, Texas-based Schlotzskys Deli. “Theyll say all the things they love and all the things they hate, and thats incredible business knowledge.
Know your Voice: Decide whether you want to speak to consumers in your personal voice (i.e., as the owner, chef or general manager), or as the overall brand, says Christina Wong, restaurant and chef publicist at JS Communications in Los Angeles.
Create brand ambassadors: Find the people who really love your restaurant. Share your vital info with them, let them spread the good word.
Make your conversations interesting: Just listing menu items, unless theyre particularly unusual, makes for a boring post. “Say something that shares part of who you are, like, Chocolate ice cream is the only worthy ice cream or Just finished making my grandmothers bread-pudding recipe and it rocks, or Completely slammed in the kitchen, no end in sight,” says publicist Ellen Malloy.
Remember, social media is just a tool, but you are the one to make it happen. Listen, answer questions, and connect with people online. Take these opportunities to reach out to your customers. When you do, they will be telling others about you, building your brand, and making you visible.