Ever wonder if the time you spend managing your restaurant’s social media pages is making a difference? If you aren’t actively engaging your customers on social media, you’re missing the mark, but it’s not too late to adjust your strategy.
If you’re reading this post, I’ll assume you already know how important it is for your restaurant to have an active social media presence. But the simple action of posting to Facebook and Twitter isn’t enough if your customers don’t care about what you have to say.
Social media is all about relationships, and those relationships are evidenced by engagement.
Engagement is the proof that your customers actually care about what you are saying online, and it’s represented by likes and shares on Facebook, favorites and retweets on Twitter, and check-ins and tips on Foursquare. It is how you measure the strength, uniqueness, and authenticity of your connection to the very people who keep you in business.
Online engagement is just as valuable as real-world interactions between you and your customers, because your social media followers are, in fact, your customers. That’s why it’s so important to nurture relationships with them online.
Think about how you extend customer service in the real world: You take time to check in with customers while they’re at their table, or shake their hands, or let them know you’re looking forward to seeing them again. You do this because you know they appreciate it, and it builds a better relationship with them. It makes them feel connected to you and as a result they’ll visit more often, bring more of their friends, and even spend more money.
The same concept applies to social media.
Those likes, shares, favorites and retweets (aka engagement) are the online versions of smiles, compliments, tips and high-fives. They tell your customers how much you appreciate them. The most old-school business owners know that handshakes mean a lot to people in real life.
Well, social media engagement is the new handshake.
The danger of neglecting relationships online is that it hurts the overall perception your current and potential customers have of your business. The way you treat customers online shows how much you value customer service inside your restaurant. For example, ignoring a loyal fan’s positive comment on Facebook is the same as ignoring a customer who sends her compliments to the chef during her meal.
This happens all the time. Restaurateurs fail to make the connection between providing excellent customer service, and interacting on social media. As a result, there is a disconnect between who they are in real life, and how they appear on social media. They miss out on the true benefits of social media, because they aren’t doing the right things to encourage engagement.
You may be reading this and thinking, “I don’t need to be lectured on the value of customer service. I’m already doing a great job and my customers love me.” Whether or not that’s true, if you don’t extend your customer service efforts to social media — if you’re not engaging your community online — you’re failing at customer service, and giving the impression that you don’t care.
The bottom line is that your restaurant thrives on a community of customers, and communities are all about strong relationships. So, if you want to make a difference in your business, focus your social media efforts on engaging with your customers.
Did you know?
We've been managing social media accounts for restaurants since 2012. For almost a decade, we've partnered with restauranteurs who are serious about using social media to generate business. Whether you're a good fit for our service or not, let's schedule a call and we'll give you free personalized advice on how to improve your social media presence. Either way, you'll walk away from the call more confident about your ability to promote yourself online - completely for free.