With Facebook reaching the mark of 1 billion users, it’s hard to ignore this social media giant. The biggest questions isn’t whether Facebook is useful for restaurant marketing, or how it affects a restaurant’s profit, it’s the debate of how long it will be before Facebook makes changes to their Facebook Pages.
Facebook Pages are different from personal pages. Personal pages you get to add friends, and you can restrict who sees your profile. Facebook Pages are designed more for businesses, brands, personalities, and are easily differentiated from personal pages because you have the option to “Like” them.
With the several different changes that have happened with Facebook changes over the years, there are still some great practices that have remained throughout Facebook’s algorithm that will help you get noticed by your “Likers” and those that happen to drop by your page.
Here are 6 Best Practices for Facebook Restaurant Marketing:
1) Respond to your Customers
I can’t stress this enough. Facebook wasn’t designed as a static website where you just post updates. It was designed to create opportunities for fans to engage with their brands and vice versa.
What does engagement on Facebook really mean?
For the restaurant business it means when people compliment your photos that you’re thanking them for their compliment. It means that when someone tells you that they had an amazing experience at your restaurant that you don’t just respond with a click of a “Like,” you respond with a warm response such as, “We’re really glad to read that you had a fantastic time at Timbo’s Restaurant. And most of all appreciate you taking the time to let us know, we hope you have a fantastic upcoming week.”
Clicking the like button is poor customer service, and just plain lazy. After all, you wouldn’t just hold your thumbs up if someone said they loved your duck confit in real life right?
2) Start Conversations on Facebook
Start conversations that get people wanting to talk to you. Ask them questions about what makes great customer service. Ask people for the opinion on what type of free goodie they would like for liking the Facebook page. Do they prefer a dessert, do they prefer an appetizer or a percentage off of a main menu?
One of the worst parts about starting conversations is that nobody responds. And I want to assure you that it’s not the end of the world. There are a few factors involved such as the time of day, how many other messages you may be competing with in the users Facebook newsfeed and so on.
That’s okay, not everything you’re asking is going to be a big hit. But the great thing is that you’ll start to notice what has a great response.
Most restaurants rush, rush, rush. And they forget that they are starting conversations with real customers and real people. All you have to do is remember that, and think of conversations that would be of interest to your Facebook “likers.”
3) Hold a Contest that Rocks
First off, be very careful about your country or state laws regarding contest, and the term and conditions that Facebook restricts.
In Canada, you technically must ask people a skill testing question, and ensure that no purchase of is required.
Contests are such a wonderful way of having fun with your fans and a great contest can drive more likes and more engagement during the contest period than anything else.
Vancouver is a big hockey town. The restaurant we represented wanted to drive the number of “Likes” to our restaurant client’s page, so we held a draw for two Vancouver Canucks tickets.
We not only promoted it on Facebook, we cross promoted it with Twitter, and encouraged people to “Share” the contest with others (at the bottom of every Facebook Page post you make, people have the option of sharing that particular post with others.)
The power in getting people to like the page was actually in encouraging people to “Share.” Because once people share, others who wouldn’t normally see your posting have no seen it. This was part of our strategy in getting 3000 more Facebook likes for the Vancouver Christmas Market within 2 months.
4) Create Posts that even Superman Would Want to Read
Along with Novo Pizzeria, our marketing agency, took a great opportunity to deliver pizza to Vancouver International Airport because our customer had jokingly tweeted that she would love to have our pizza at 8:30 am during a layover to another Canadian city.
Well we didn’t hesitate for a second, and delivered a wonderful Neapolitan pizza to her and her friend at 8:30 am. We took a photo and posted it on Facebook the next day. It definitely got people talking, and many customers had positively commented on the story.
These stories of unusual and extraordinary customer service drove discussion and also drove likes. On top of that such stories are sticky and make such a wonderful story that customers will remember for a long time.
5) If Picture is a Thousand Words, One of Those Words is Hungry.
People love visuals, and they love it when you’re able to show off new menu items that you’re about to launch for a new menu, it’s a great way to tease them to come in.
It’s also a great place to be able to show off some of your signature dishes that your loyal customers may not have had a chance to ever see.
Include some great writing along with your photos and describe the menu items the way you would want your top notch servers to describe it. Your description should be mouth watering so that it drives people to come in.
If you’re Facebook page is starting to look like it’s being filled with too much text, that’s the time to add some photos.
6) Facebook Should Never be a Loner
Now that Facebook doesn’t allow “Fan Gating” (There are 3rd party apps that do allow that now) that doesn’t mean that you aren’t able to drive people to “Like” your page. For example I’ve listed a great way of increasing, “likes” by holding a contest. It’s also important to not look at Facebook as a single entity. You have to look at it as part of your integrated marketing strategy.
Do you promote your Facebook account on the bottom of the restaurant menu? Or if you own a cafe, do you have a little stand that encourages people to “Like” your Facebook to hear about exclusive offers? Are you using your Twitter account to promote your Facebook account as well? If you mention that you have a Facebook account on Twitter, you’ll be surprised that a few of them will click on it and click “Like.”
Have you found a way to increase engagement with your Facebook fans? We’d love to hear some of your ideas.