Thanks to the advent of new technology and social media platforms, it can be so easy for hospitality businesses to connect with new and regular customers without forking out a tonne of money.
Increased exposure, open communication channels, easy access to important business info … The following platforms we’ve listed can provide exceptional marketing benefits to your business.
Why you need to use new technology
Don’t get me wrong, having an online presence is great and comes with a range of benefits for a business. But it’s worth considering the pros and cons. A website may be more hassle than it’s worth. It can be costly to set up and maintain. And after all your hard work, it may not even show up in Google search results.
Using social media, hospitality businesses still get that online presence and access to a large audience. But they can get it at a markedly discounted price – or, if they’re really clever, at no cost at all!
What social network tools to use
Facebook is the biggest social media tool around. With more than one billion active users, Facebook can give your restaurant or café excellent exposure.
A Facebook page will let you advertise your business, showcase images, display your story and contact info, as well as connect with customers. Here, you can share your venue’s personality, provide customer support, and raise brand awareness.
Facebook sponsored ads are also a great and inexpensive way to get your name out there. Sponsored posts allow business owners to target specific demographics, so you’re drawing the right people into your restaurant, bar or cafe. This can give you a lot of exposure and can be well worth the price tag.
Instagram is a fantastic place to showcase what your restaurant or café does best, whether that’s meal presentation or décor. The highly visual social media platform has surpassed 400 million monthly visitors, who use the platform to share their own stories as well as find inspiration for their lives.
You may have even noticed some of your patrons already doing some of the leg work for you by posting images of your daily fare along with glowing reviews.
Hospitality businesses can jump on the Instagram bandwagon by creating a business account. You can link to your business website in the company profile and post images with relevant hashtags to expand your reach.
New cafés and restaurants can also do a fantastic job garnering support and awareness for an upcoming opening by releasing teaser images on Instagram. This helps to build anticipation – and might even result in loyal customers before you’ve even opened shop!
Twitter is great for sharing daily specials and deals. Promoting your twitter handle on the menu and encouraging diners to follow the restaurant to stay in the loop is a top notch way to keep your customers informed.
But that doesn’t mean you should be only posting specials and deals. Twitter is a fabulous platform to engage with your customers, new and old. The best way to do this is to find a voice that suits your restaurant or bar.
Participate in popular culture, tweet jokes, and have a laugh. Just remember, whatever you do tweet reflects the business, so keep it business casual … Unless controversial is what you’re going for!
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Two more platforms worth considering
Dimmi is a cool platform that can have you swimming in reservations in no time. Customers rarely want to rock up to a restaurant without doing research first. They just don’t want to fork out money for something that could be subpar. That’s why so many customers check out social media, reviews and menus before heading out.
In this day and age, there’s no excuse for not uploading your restaurant’s menu where customers can find it. Dimmi is an online restaurant reservations platform that allows customers to check out reviews, menus and specials as well as letting them make a booking online.
Menulog is the number one application for online ordering in Australia. The trend of online ordering has gotten so big, that many businesses are dipping their toes into delivery and take away like never before.
From the trusty local pizza shop to hip cafes, online ordering is an easy way for restaurants to get more business, since your joint earns more visibility through the platform and makes eating out easy.
Dealing with negative reviews and comments
Using social media is all about opening a dialogue between customers and restaurant owners. And you may not always like what they have to say. A bad review or two should always be taken with a grain of salt. The worst thing you can do is go on the offensive.
Instead, thank them for their feedback. Tell them you value them as a customer, that you will work to fix what they found disappointing and invite them back at a later date. If the criticism is a little less constructive, or at all profane, ignore it.
For more marketing tips, industry news, and start-up ideas for your business, check out our handy guide to marketing your business today.