Businesses can no longer solely rely on TV commercials and print media to market their products – everything has moved to the online sector; and though that might mean fewer expenses for the marketing department, it certainly means more time spent engaging with current and potential customers.
Social media has completely altered the way restaurants interact with their customers, as many customers use social networks to express both positive and negative experiences, for things like customer service and their eating experiences. In order to deal with the positive and negative, your brand must try to continue to be receptive, cheerful, sincere, concise, and true to the brand and product.
While Facebook is a great platform, restaurants shouldn’t be afraid to join other popular platforms, such as Twitter, Instagram and FourSquare. The food service industry, in particular, is naturally visual – terms like “foodstagram” have been coined to describe the food photographs that people post to Instagram. Caribou Coffee, for instance, knew that its patrons are big fans of Instagram, effectively using Facebook as a springboard onto the photo-sharing platform. Last year, the company launched an Instagram page in conjunction with a contest. The contest urged fans to use Instagram filters on their Caribou Coffee photos. Caribou introduced a slew of themes as well, so there were multiple winners. By the end, the company’s Facebook page gained 16,000 new fans, and their Instagram page grew to 1,800 followers.
Fully connecting with your customer means your brand marketing has a well-rounded approach that is able to maintain conversations on multiple channels. You need a game plan – a social media strategy is the key to fruitful engagement.
Coca-Cola came up with its own strategy for effective marketing to the social consumer, called the “Social 4-Pack”:
- Storytelling: Stories, from both consumer and company perspectives, are vital to the current marketing climate. Stories allow us to witness how other people associate, remember, understand and share.
- “Shareworthyness”: An effective marketing strategy is created with sharing in mind. Last year, Arby’s launched a Facebook scavenger hunt – also using Twitter and Instagram to announce the hunt – asking fans to find the hidden coupon by scrolling back in time on their Facebook page timeline. Arby’s used the Facebook promotion as a means to celebrate the anniversary of the company’s founding. The campaign has been Arby’s most successful social media endeavor.
- Listen: Social media allows companies to be receptive to their customer, whether in regards to negative or positive feedback. Both are equally important, as negative feedback can allow a company to improve its brand, and positive feedback can create opportunity for a brand to increase its customer base.
- “Flawesome”: Turn any flaws a customer might point out, into something awesome. By responding to negative commentary in a proactive and transparent fashion, a critic might very well become a fan.
Social networks are a place where people go to share and talk. Twitter’s short 140-character messages promote conversations in real-time; commentary on Instagram center around the platform’s photo, and new video sharing capabilities; and Facebook’s essence boils down to conversations centered around shared statuses, photos, events and pages.
If you have a game plan to consistently and creatively share and connect with your customer, your social media campaigns can’t go wrong.
Developing your mobile business is a must have these days! For a Free Social Media Assessment contact
Dave Dronkers at [email protected] or call (949) 254-5084.