Social media - there's no escaping it. It's all around us every day, and as professionals, we can choose to ignore it or embrace it!
Restaurants are social places. The whole concept of eating out is based on our need for interaction with others. In my opinion, within the restaurant trade, social media can be an incredible tool to increase customer engagement, build an identifiable brand and breathe life into a business. This can all be done, as long as social media is managed and maintained correctly.
1. Know your audience
Which platform is right for you? Who are your target customers? What age are they? Which socio-economic class to they generally fit into? Which methods of social media are they most likely to engage with?
If you don't know who you want to target and just throw lots of info out there without a strategy- you could end up damaging your brand rather than emphasising it. For example, if your bread and butter customer base are affluent professionals, perhaps a Snapchat marketing strategy will turn them away from your brand, as it will come across as too immature or informal for them.
2. Social media upkeep
Another major thing to consider with regards to social media is the upkeep. Things like competition, special deals and seasonal information must be kept up to date and monitored consistently.
3. Be professional
Communication through these channels in a timely and professional manner is also crucial. Nowadays people can use your platforms to complain or critique, and the way you deal with this feedback is vital if you want to develop a strong, reputable brand.
4. Know the importance of social media
All in all, my advice is this - do not let your social media strategy become a side note in your business plan. It is a vital part of the hospitality industry today and needs to be considered and managed carefully, to increase marketplace presence and success. Good luck!