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facebook marketing strategies for restaurants

Small business owners that are strapped for time often get into a habit of cross-promoting their Facebook and Twitter accounts. Although Twitter has shut down some of the cross-promotion lines, business owners can still auto-post their Facebook updates as tweets.

This strategy might seem like you’re hitting two birds with one stone, but in reality, you’re alienating your Twitter audience. The trouble with this strategy is that any savvy Twitter user can take one look at a feed full of fb.me links (short URLs that Facebook creates for Twitter) and quickly determine that nobody is behind the wheel.

Since Twitter is built to satisfy the one-to-one relationship that so many consumers seek, an one-to-all blast from Facebook sends the message that Facebook is where you prefer to be contacted. Which is fine, as long as you’re not trying to gain followers on Twitter.

In a time when Facebook wants you to pay to reach more than 10% of your fans, Twitter may be worth your second glance. It’s the only guaranteed-visibility partner of the two.

If you are trying to build communities on both networks, try catering to each audience in different ways. If you promote the same thing on both networks, you only give customers a reason to follow you on one. And if you lose them on that one, then they’re lost forever. Get them on both networks so that you always have a safety net.

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How Customers Prefer to Be Treated on Twitter

Twitter is better for community building, rather than Facebook which is great for community maintaining. Chefs say it pays to tweet, and those who follow our Twitter marketing strategies have bonus opportunities to reach out to individuals personally, so leverage that unique connection to its fullest advantage.

  • Customers will use Twitter for Customer Service. If they have a problem with their meal or experience, they will either yell at you directly, or they will be more passive aggressive and simply mention you. If they @ you, they expect a response because they know that you’ll see it. Never let one of these @ mentions go by. Put out fires whenever they’re lit, because negative word of mouth can be tragic on Twitter.
  • Customers will look for up-to-the-minute specials (and photos). On Twitter, you can post several photographic updates in a short timeline without irritating those that follow you. That means that on Twitter you could, for example, promote a nightly tasting menu by posting the photos of each dish as they come out. Unlike Facebook, Twitter’s feed is also chronological and guaranteed. You don’t need to fight for a position in the timeline.
  • Customers expect to see your updates. By now you know that Facebook has downgraded your visibility to fans. Unless a person has visited your page or hit the “like” button recently, your chances of showing up in their timeline are low. On Twitter, you’ll always appear in their feed. You may only update Facebook once or twice a day, but Twitter users are happy to get updates from behind the scenes several times a day. They also love to re-tweet when provoked.
  • Customers want to be your friend. On Twitter, local chefs are like celebrities and you’ll get word of mouth just by being yourself. On that note, you can get away with having a personal account, and not a business account. Customers have proven to enthusiastically tweet about their dinners and personally thank the chefs. Still, brush up on your Twitter netiquette once in a while.
  • Customers want you to reach out. You have the unique ability to reach out to customers or potential customers on Twitter. Use Twitter Search to reach out locally when people ask for pet-friendly dining, or the best burrito in the city. Ask customers for their @username when you ask for their email addresses. Thank them for visiting your store or restaurant. You’ll happily shock customers and build loyalty quickly using these techniques.

How Customers Prefer to Be Treated on Facebook

Facebook is better used to maintain an already-blossomed community and drive more foot traffic from those customers. If you already have a ton of fans, you should have no trouble getting them to comment and interject if you talk to them like Facebook users expect.

  • Customers will engage in conversation. Getting a dozen responses on Twitter can be like pulling teeth for some, but on Facebook, the community effect aids conversation. Once one person comments, you’re likely to see more tumble in. Ask a question that will garner strong opinions, and you’ll have a nice big thread. The bigger your comment threads get, the more visibility your post will get in everyone’s timelines.
  • Customers are happy to share things they like. Silly photos and quotes run rampant on Facebook, so use your creative brain to come up with a graphic or photo that could get shared. Heck, some businesses host contests and include the “share this photo to win” text right on the image. Or, since people like to take photos of their food these days, hold a photo contest!
  • Customers want to help you on Facebook. Ask more questions. Want to know which items should go on sale today? How about some ideas for revising that winter menu? Your customers should be the #1 go-to for questions about how to improve your business. Most have no problem telling you which items to stock, gluten-free menu items to add, or spa treatments they’re missing.
  • Customers expect you to be personal, but not that personal. While Twitter tends to be the more human-centric platform, Facebook can be too. Just don’t start airing your dirty business, employee complaints, vendor complaints, or political ambitions. You might get a lot of comments, but you’ll just be another negative post in a sea of updates. Instead, stick to mouth-watering food photos and things that make customers happy.
  • Customers like to play games. Gamification is a fun trend in marketing and social media and Facebook is a popular place to host. Some businesses play weekly trivia, while others have tagging contests! Anything that gets a customer to re-visit your page on their own, without the nudge of the news feed, will actually increase your chances of showing up in their news feed in the future.

Have you thought deeply about how different your customers really are? Spend some time with Upserve to find out what kind of customers spend the most at your business and how you can reward them for their loyalty.

Check out Upserve’s Restaurant Marketing Strategies Guide!

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As part of Upserve’s family of more than 10,000 restaurants, The Chef is Restaurant Insider’s secret weapon in the kitchen. As a restaurant expert in all things marketing, menu building, management, training and more, restaurateurs trust The Chef and the award-winning Restaurant Insider to dish out the ingredients needed to make your business a sweet success.
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