Business and Operations
Restaurant Marketing: Leveraging online outlets to drive profits
By Carmen Vogel-McCombie
How to use social media to build your customer base
By Carmen Vogel-McCombie
May 29, 2013 –
A hot topic at the International Pizza Expo in March was restaurant marketing. Restaurant operators wanted to know how they could use social media effectively to increase their average check, guest frequency, and overall profitability.
Other popular topics included starting a loyalty program, best practices for online ordering, and strategies for sharing guest information from the point of sale (POS) with an e-mail club, loyalty program, or online ordering database.
Every time a guest calls your restaurant, visits your website, or walks through your front door, you have a new opportunity to strengthen a customer relationship and build your brand. The only way to control your guests’ impressions of your business is to design the experience yourself. From there, you can spread your message via social media.
Many restaurant owners have come to rely on social networking sites for cost-effective marketing. Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and other social networking sites help brands connect with customers, start conversations, drive response to promotions, and cultivate word of mouth.
With a delivery POS system, you also have access to a rich database of customer contacts and purchase history for targeted marketing, a must-have when building your social media following. But you can give your print and e-mail marketing new legs by integrating social media, too.
New legs for traditional marketing
Add social media links to your mail and e-mail pieces: Extend the reach of your marketing promotions with cross-platform messaging and links. By adding social media links to your emails, you can drive potential customers to your social outlets and give them new ways to connect with you and take advantage of your promotions.
Share on Facebook: Spread the word faster by posting exclusive offers on your Facebook page that can be redeemed by liking or sharing your page or offer. Contests also extend the reach of your marketing: the entertaining and engaging format encourages participation and positive associations for your restaurant brand.
Build relationships with Twitter: With more than 140 million users, Twitter has become a popular social media platform for restaurant companies. No matter how you decide to use Twitter, from offering deals to responding to feedback, remember it's a conversation tool. So definitely share your mail and e-mail pieces on Twitter. But also ask questions and respond to tweets to foster two-way conversations online with customers.
Make sharing easy: Share links in social media to make it easy for your audience to spread your messages through their own social channels.
Connect the message to the order: Take your marketing full-circle with a marketing solution that integrates with your online ordering site. Share “click-to-order” offers and deals through text, email, and social media marketing for an immediate spike in sales.
Smart integration of social media can significantly extend the reach and sales impact of your paid marketing campaigns.
Carmen Vogel-McCombie is a marketing and trade show coordinator at SpeedLine Solutions, Inc., and a contributing editor to On Point: The Restaurant Technology Blog.