|Best Ways To Connect With Your Customers On Facebook|
|Monday, 03 September 2012 00:00|
Leveraging social media can be overwhelming to any foodservice operator. As Josh Graff, director of Marketing Solutions for LinkedIn, puts it: “Social media is like teenage sex, everyone wants to do it. When they do they’re a bit disappointed, but they practise and it gets much better.”
In the first phase of social media marketing, the focus was on creating a presence in social channels and building a base of fans and followers, but that’s no longer enough. These days, you need to engage customers and nurture relationships, while quantifying success.
Facebook pages should be a corporate social media network with a mix of programs at different times of the day and week. The content must be relevant and engage a target group. Below is a list of suggestions to help drive engagement. The data is based on a 10-month 2011/2012 analysis of the corporate Facebook pages of various Canadian restaurants.
Ask about your menu
Prompt followers and friends to choose and debate their favourite menu offerings.
Explore brand relevance
Ask guests what makes your brand special.
Keep it local
According to our research, at Expion in North Carolina, engagement can be increased eightfold by creating local Facebook pages, rather than one corporate page. While it sounds daunting, a social software platform will help manage your network. Having local pages for each restaurant in a chain can leverage the local appeal. You might receive more personal comments like the following: “My local restaurant has the friendliest staff. They know what I’m going to order before I get to the counter.”
Ask people about a personal relationship with staff or an experience eating out with a friend.
Introduce new menu items
These posts can be simple item introductions or questions about potential new items.
Acknowledge special events and days
Keep the conversation fresh and relevant by making posts about key events or special days.
Mix it up
The topic shouldn’t always be about food. Questions about music, movies or sports are good conversation starters.
Contests and Coupons
Less than 20 per cent of the most engaging posts involve a contest or coupon, but they still have their place.
Keep it balanced
Brands that consistently have high engagement are balancing the urge to post as often as they want with the desire to make true fan connections. The focus is on fewer more engaging posts.
Social media presents marketing opportunities that can’t be ignored, but winning over a “social consumer” means blending creative vision with competitive intelligence data that determines the best time to post, what to post, on which platform and which posts drive engagement.
So, while money can’t buy social media love, competitive social media intelligence may help to boost your company’s social appeal.