|Armed with an established brand identity, the next step is to build a social marketing strategy that will allow you to show off your authentic and original brand personality online. Your social marketing efforts will also allow you to make friends with your customers. By sparking engaging, memorable and brand-driven conversations, you open up the opportunity to market your business with consumers, not at them. Today’s market places much more trust in other customers than in businesses, so working with consumers to build your online reputation is key. Since one in three people come to a brand through a recommendation3, encouraging fans to talk about your restaurant can actually increase sales.|
There are three core groups to consider: fans, brands and influencers. Fans can be found in your followers – they eat in your restaurant and talk about you on social media. Engaging with fans can steer your word-of-mouth marketing in a positive direction. Brands are other businesses you collaborate with in a mutually beneficial relationship. Influencers are notable players in the world of social media with a strong voice and following.
3. Execute your plan
A well-executed social marketing strategy showcases a brand’s personality with every post. @TheMcEwanGroup uses a bright and clean aesthetic on Instagram that highlights the elegant presentation of the dishes. @SmoqueNBones tweets in its own brand language coined “y’all speak” to show off the restaurant’s southern charm. But successful online brands aren’t only sending out content, they are also constantly engaging and communicating with fans, brands and influencers. They surprise and delight fans that come into the restaurant, they host events with partner brands and influencers and work hard to address customer complaints in real time, solving issues while the guests are still in the restaurant.
Your online brand has the power to connect your restaurant with its customers, generate positive word of mouth and bring people through your doors. Constantly participating in the online conversation about your business gives you the added advantage of addressing complaints before they turn into bad reviews and makes it easier to reward happy customers for supporting your business.
Given that consumers are Googling both you and your competition as they decide where to eat dinner, making a great online first impression is a must. By establishing an identity, developing a social marketing strategy and always maintaining a strong execution, your online first impression can put your restaurant ahead of the competition
About the author:
Sean Beckingham is president of Branding & Buzzing, a social marketing agency established in 2011 that specializes in the food and beverage category. For more information, visit www.brandingandbuzzing.com.