From social media to SEO, here are some ways to maintain and increase your customer base.
You want to occupy some sort of digital space to increase your brand’s recognition and entice new customers. From a marketing perspective, there are a lot of factors that you must consider to ensure a successful campaign, and this can be achieved by using a range of different platforms.
Unless you’re that community restaurant that can rely solely on word of mouth, it’s certain that you’ll need marketing to maintain and increase your customer base.
Your restaurant’s history is important to your customers—they want to feel a part of your story. Are you a family business that prides itself on serving the local community? Do you value farm-to-fork and promoting a sustainable business? Or do you simply serve the best burger in your region?
You need to strike a balance between delivering incredible dishes while promoting the family-feels of your restaurant. On your website, you should create an ‘Our Story’ page that explains who you are, what you do, and where you see yourself in the future. Consumers love this type of content, as it’s presenting them with a journey that they could be a part of.
The interior design of your restaurant can also enhance the experience for your customers; especially if it’s themed.
Marketing using social media
You’ve probably used social media to find out about a business yourself, and this is no different for people who search your business. While offline methods and traditional marketing are still a viable source, make using the Internet—especially social media—crucial.
Make sure you occupy space on all platforms, but there will be some that are specifically used by your target audience. Below, we’ve listed the most popular social media platforms and showed how you could use them for your restaurant:
Facebook is one of the most important platforms to use as a business—not only because it’s the biggest social network in the world. The beauty of Facebook pages is that brands can upload images and videos, list their menu items, and enable a customer review feature. Not only that, businesses can enable online messaging which could be extremely useful for when customers want to book a table.
Although people can leave reviews, you need to ensure that you’re responding to them appropriately, whether they are positive or negative. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring a negative review, because that’s simply ignoring a problem.
If you’re planning to post pictures of your food, Instagram is the one you should be on. You should even consider linking the two together to ensure greater reach and more synchronized posts.
Not only that, Instagram has recently introduced IGTV, which will allow you to make your own hour-long TV shows—could you be the next Gordon Ramsay? Make sure that you continue to remain active on the platform and this can be done by uploading Instagram Storie, which take little effort and time.
Twitter is another popular platform that you should be looking at using. Although Instagram is more for visual posts and Facebook can detail more information about your business, Twitter is the hub of all conversation. It’s important that you occupy some sort of space on the platform and interact with people who are already talking about your brand.
Your brand could potentially go viral with the use of hashtags, too, and can be used to describe a scenario. For example, if someone is at your pizza restaurant, they might use #pizza. Not only that, it will make your brand easy to find as well.
- Free marketing.
- Interact with customers.
- Humanize your brand.
- Get customer feedback.
Don’t let other restaurants get ahead of the curve and make sure you’re a part of the social media phenomenon. The online world is only evolving, so let your online audience know who you are and what you can offer them.
Could your restaurant use influencers?
Your brand could potentially use influencers to help market yourself to the wider public. Definitively, influencers are people who have a strong and engaging social following who could create hype around your business.
You could potentially invite them to a launch party and allow them to tweet and gram about the event. This will help improve your digital presence while offering the ability to grow your following significantly.
Have you been updating your website?
Make sure that your website is properly up to date as this is a secondary location where your customers will look after social media. With the right SEO knowledge, it’s easier to get websites to rank higher in search engines than it is social media pages.
Why not list yourself on Google Maps too?
With review websites becoming more popular, you need to continuously monitor them. You have one option: take ownership of the discussion.
As review pages can be made by anyone, online reputation management is essential. Make them a one-stop-shop for your brand: your location, your menu, a book-now feature, plus images of your food and front-of-house.
Not everyone will be happy with their experience, but handling a negative review is a different matter. Is it unreasonable? If it is, explain why. Does the customer have a point? Apologize, accept the criticism, and offer to make it right to the customer.
There are many benefits that come from this, too. Firstly, the person who complained will be happy and more likely to visit again. Secondly, you’ll show readers that:
- Your business is run by genuine people who are just trying to do a good job.
- You care about your customers and are receptive to feedback.
- You’re less likely to make the mistake again.
The more active you are with online reviews will be the difference between people returning and those that are gone for good. As well as this, negative reviewers feel they’re venting to a faceless entity—there are numerous examples where reviewers have retroactively improved their review and star rating after getting a reply.