The most important thing about your restaurant is the food. If the food isn't good none of the rest of it matters.
However, once you have gotten the menu right, then there are so many other places where you can lose a customer forever. And it seems that people are more tempted to talk about a bad experience with a restaurant than any other type of business.
Well, there are ways to solidify your relationship with your customer, find out about their bad experience before they tell all of their friends and stay ahead of any bad word of mouth which will actually create positive word of mouth.
Social Media Tools for Restaurants
- Register - Use sites like Yelp.com, TripAdvisor.com and Urbanspoon.com. Go in and register your restaurant and provide as much information as possible regarding location, menu, price, hours. Make it easy for people to find out about you.
- Reviews - Encourage your customers to review you online and provide feedback of their experiences.
- Twitter – Utilizing your twitter account you can take to go orders, let people know about specials, get feedback on menu changes, promote your blog and announce entertainment. Be sure to promote your twitter account on everything you do and encourage people to follow you.
- Blog – Blogging is a great way to bring the customer into the kitchen. Sharing a recipe, employee profiles, and kitchen tips and tricks are just a few options to break down the wall between the kitchen and the dining room. Customers want to be part of something more then just a meal, they want to feel like they belong.
- E-Newsletter – Email a monthly newsletter with the latest happenings, new menu items, entertainment news, recipe of the month etc. This is also a great tool to collect email addresses for future opportunities to connect with the customer.
- Google Alerts – This is a great tool to use to listen to what is being said about your business, website or even your chef. Setting up a Google alert with just the name of your restaurant can bring priceless insight to both positive and negative talk that’s being said online about your business.
- Facebook – Set up a Facebook fan page to connect with your customers on Facebook. Keep it updated with fresh content and always make sure you’re involved with the conversations that are taking place on “the wall.”
- MySpace – If your clientele is more likely to be found using MySpace, create a profile page and updated it with fresh content as well. Like Facebook engage in conversations and comments.
- YouTube – Incorporate video into your social media strategy. Like your blog, take your customer behind the scene and give them a pass to a part of the restaurant that only insiders are allowed to go. Provide a few quick tips and how-tos from the house chef. Share these videos on YouTube and other video sharing sites, as well as your blog. Use video to even show where you buy your produce and meats. This is also serves a dual role because it promotes your local farmers.
- Mobile – Have customers provide their mobile phone number for coupons, specials and latest news via an SMS message.
- Events – Host Tweetups for your Twitter community and Meetups for those that gather around topics via meetup.com.
- The Business Card – Provide a business card or note-card to each customer that maps out where they can continue their dining experience online.
- Social Calendars – Use sites such as upcoming.org and eventful.com to promote the latest happenings and events.
- Flickr – Use photo sharing sites to show images of events, behind the scenes and market days. Let your customer see from the eyes of the chef rather then just the brand.
- Email – Use email not only for your e-newsletter, but also to give away FREE stuff to your customers and continue to build your email list.