Our team at Social High Rise has managed social media pages and online review sites for hundreds of restaurants over the years and we often find ourselves grappling with a few common misconceptions in the initial stages of partnering with our restaurant clients. Here are three “myths” about social media and reviews sites that we believe should be debunked and maybe even thrown off a cliff, never to return again:
Myth #1: The main goal of social media is to bring in new business and increase sales.
It’s true that a carefully crafted social media strategy can increase your business’s exposure and drive in new customers. But, for the most part, your main goals with social media should be customer service and retention. Or, as Forbes writes, the main focus should be to listen to your customers through social media while showcasing your brand’s values and culture. Your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages are there to connect with your customers outside the walls of your restaurant, foster loyalty and deepen relationships. Remind your customers why they love you and it will inspire them to spread positive word-of-mouth with their friends and family.
Myth #2: The more “followers” on social media, the better!
There are ways to “game” the system by buying more likes and followers on your social media pages – but this ultimately does more harm than good. This strategy will give you a larger number of inauthentic likes and followers — most, of whom, will never visit your restaurant or care to engage with your posts. What’s the point of that? Follower growth doesn’t matter if your audience doesn’t care about the content you’re posting. When it comes to likes and followers on social media, aim for quality over quantity. Shift your focus from audience numbers to a focus on the engagement that happens on your pages. Especially if your business is a restaurant. Your audience should be real people who have dined at your establishment or have the potential to dine there because of their geographic location, interests, friends/network, or lifestyle. You want your audience to engage with your posts and become inspired to take action (think $). This is what will ultimately bring in new business, good business, and sustainable business.
Myth #3: There is nothing I can do about the online reviews my business receives — it’s out of my control.
I’m going to specifically address Yelp and TripAdvisor when it comes to this particular myth because they are the two most popular review platforms in the hospitality industry. As a restaurant owner or manager, you have the ability to send private responses or post public replies to every single person who writes a review on Yelp and TripAdvisor. So, while it’s true you might not have control over who chooses to write a review, you definitely have control over how to address each review. At Social High Rise, we have worked with restaurant owners and managers to send private responses to thousands of negative (1 or 2-star) reviews and, quite often, reviewers express appreciation for the connection. It’s as if they suddenly realize there are actual human beings pouring their souls into running a restaurant — a reality they forgot about when they were vigorously typing out their dramatic displeasure over their dining experience. Some reviewers become inspired to delete their negative review after receiving a message from the owner or manager. Other reviewers promise to give the restaurant a second chance and update their review after their visit. Of course, the outreach doesn’t inspire everyone, but the idea is that you treat your online reviewers the same way you would treat them in-house if they expressed concern to you in person (which is what they should do anyway, instead of hiding behind an online review, right? But, I digress…) And, look, we get it. Sometimes it’s hard to muster up kindly worded messages to send to those unicorn reviewers who are clearly living on another planet and don’t understand the fundamentals of dining out. Take a few days before responding to negative reviews so the emotions are not so raw. Or give us a call at Social High Rise. We’re good at wordsmithing what you really want to say into something a bit more diplomatic. The final note on responding to reviews: don’t forget to send sincere thank-you messages to the individuals who write positive reviews, too! These are your happy customers who are going out of their way to champion you publicly, online. Strengthen that relationship by personally connecting with them through the review platform.
Those are the myths. May they officially be dispelled. Go forth, now, and be the best you can be on your social media pages and online review platforms. And if it seems daunting — call us. We can help!
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.