2 experts, 7 points about emerging social media for your restaurant

Aug. 6, 2015 | by Nicole Troxell

When should you incorporate emerging social media channels into your restaurant marketing strategy? Where do you start and what if it goes wrong? We spoke to two social media experts, Jordan Steinert, digital and social media manager at Cousins Subs and Social Media Coordinator, Hannah Tooker, forPeter Piper Pizza and Paradise Bakery & Cafe about their thoughts on these issues and the advice they have to offer.

1. Ask why instead of when 

As social media channels mature, choosing when is the "right time" to enter is more about the "why" than it is about when. If you feel that the channel fits your long-term social strategy and can add to your guests' online experience, you should consider moving forward. You'll still need to determine what your customers' needs are in this space, identify the untapped opportunity, evaluate what resources you have available and realistically set goals for what benefits this channel can provide. If you have a budget, available manpower to manage the channel and a strategy that will add value to your guests, it's time to activate the channel.

- Jordan Steinert, digital and social media manager at Cousins Subs

2. Research, then strategize

A restaurant should always research before branching out into an emerging social media channel. By conducting research on the potential audience they would be reaching, they can save themselves the headache of creating a channel that will be ineffective for their audience. For example, if you know that your audience is mostly women 18-24, research would tell you that Instagram would be the best platform to jump into. Once you know the proper channel, you can work on creating the perfect strategy to target your audience. 

- Social Media Coordinator, Hannah Tooker, forPeter Piper Pizza and Paradise Bakery & Cafe. 

3. Evaluate your approach

 If you've taken a risk and the reward wasn't what you expected, evaluate why your approach wasn't successful and use that as a lesson to refine your strategy or approach for developing new channels in the future. Tactically speaking, if you do leave a channel, you'll want to attempt to get those fans to follow you elsewhere and not leave them in the dark about the transition.

- Jordan Steinert, digital and social media manager at Cousins Subs

4. Be 100 percent guest focused

Listen: What are you guests saying about you, your competitors and the industry? Take the time to listen before you engage.

Learn: Identify the influencers and trends. Who is driving the conversation and how can you take those insights and turn them into action?

Adapt: Just as social channels are changing rapidly, so are the guests using them. Always keep your key brand loyalists in mind when you explore new strategies and tactics.

- Jordan Steinert, digital and social media manager at Cousins Subs

5. Repurpose your content

When a social media channel becomes ineffective, it is important to still keep it alive. Although you may not be seeing as much traffic as you are accustomed to, your audience might still consider this channel a hub for information about your business. You can keep these less effective channels going by repurposing content from your successful channels instead of creating original content, and making sure that the information your audience might look for on this channel is still available to them, while focusing more energy on the successful channels. 

- Social Media Coordinator, Hannah Tooker, forPeter Piper Pizza and Paradise Bakery & Cafe. 

6. Focus on developing meaningful relationships

Social media is no longer about who has the greatest marketing spend. It's about who has the better understanding of their guests and what they want from the brand. Create meaningful, locally relevant content and engagement campaigns that make your guests want to be friends with you – not just a follower. Focus on developing the relationship, then you'll have opportunities to turn engagement into transactions and loyalty.

- Jordan Steinert, digital and social media manager at Cousins Subs

7. Make the content relevant

Once you know the audience you are trying to reach, find the platform you think will speak most directly to them. Once you have identified this channel, it is important to make sure that the content you are posting in this channel is relevant to the audience. If your audience is made up of Gen-Z teens, you want to target them with content such as GIF's, Memes and Videos that will tap into what is popular in this demographic, rather than a boring coupon photos that will not be of interest to them. Make the content speak for itself when your audience see's it.  It is also important to monitor progress and adjust accordingly. Large social media followings don't happen over night, it takes testing and tweaking of social media strategies to effectively grow a healthy social audience. Patience is key. 

- Social Media Coordinator, Hannah Tooker, forPeter Piper Pizza and Paradise Bakery & Cafe. 


Topics: Marketing / Branding / Promotion, Online / Mobile / Social



Nicole Troxell
Nicole’s work has appeared in business, education, technical, and travel publications. She is currently the editor of QSRweb.com and PizzaMarketplace.com. wwwView Nicole Troxell's profile on LinkedIn

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