Restaurant pages on Facebook present some interesting challenges for brand managers. In an digital forum like Facebook, customers can’t taste, touch, or smell what you’re cooking. All they can do is talk about it. So the question then becomes, how do you get them to talk up your brand?
SPEAK THEIR LANGUAGE
Every community online has its own vibe, and if you’ve been posting for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed that your fans have their own way of saying things. The first step to authentically engage with them is to pay attention to what they’re saying and how they’re saying it.
If your community uses emoticons, for instance, you should to. If they respond well to pictures of your dishes, serve them more. If they prefer images of events, post more of those. Give them something to talk about. If you have special offers, upcoming events, or coupons, let them know about it on Facebook.
Above all, be entertaining! Use inventive wording, only post the best photos, and give people a laugh whenever you can. Finally, one of the most basic ways you can connect with your customers and show your appreciation is simply by clicking “Like” on their comments so they know you heard them.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Time your posts for maximum effectiveness. Most people dine out on the weekends so it make sense for restaurants to post then. According to a recent study by Buddy Media, interaction rates for the Food and Beverage category are 18% higher for posts on the weekends.
The same study also found that the time of day a post appears impacts how likely your customers are to interact with your brand. Interaction rates are 14% higher, on average, for posts published between 7:00PM and 8:00AM, presumably because people have more free time to interact in the evenings or before work.
Depending on the day part your restaurant is primarily serving, your optimal time for posting could vary. It just depends on your community, so use your Facebook Insights to find out what works best for your restaurant.
INSIGHT IS KEY
Use the key learnings you’ve picked up along the way to be more strategic in your posts. Use their way of speaking to increase your bottom line. Challenge yourself to define your goals for each post. Do you simply want to tell them about a new menu item, or do you want them to make a reservation so they can try the new menu item? Be as specific as possible with your goals. The strategy informs the wording, and the wording can make the difference between a packed house and an empty one.
Pay attention to your restaurant’s comment feed, especially about your shortcomings. If you see a number of people wishing you had x, y, or z, acknowledge their comments and let them know you hear them. As difficult as it is, taking ownership of missteps and correcting them goes a long way toward building trust and loyalty.
If you take reservations and your Facebook page is linked with OpenTable, use your analytics to find out which days of the week or times of day are most popular for making reservations, then start reminding your customers that they can make a reservation on those days and times.
Start viewing your Facebook page like a never-ending focus group that’s continuously providing great feedback. You can learn a lot about your customers by interacting with them online. If you’re wondering what customers think about something or how they might respond to changes, go ahead and ask them.
Remember, companies pay big bucks for the kind of strategic insights you can get for free on Facebook everyday. So listen to what your customers are saying, and reap the rewards that come with more engaged Facebook posts.
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PHOTO CREDIT: HelloImNik