Social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are perfect opportunities for your restaurant to have direct contact with your past and potential patrons and cultivate a virtual presence that fosters brand loyalty. Here are a few ideas you can incorporate into your social media marketing strategy to boost your brand loyalty.
# 1 – Randomly Give Things Away
Contests are big on social media. Why? Because they work really, really well at increasing your social footprint and awareness. Giveaways don’t have to be on a grand scale, like a car for instance, though those are extra fun and generate a lot of attention. A simple branded T-shirt, gift card, VIP seating, bottle of wine, or dinner for two will suffice. It’s the perfect excuse to ask for likes and shares too. One St. Louis restaurant gave away Cardinal tickets on Facebook and got over a thousand followers in two hours.
#2 – Make it an Information Hub
Constantly updating your website is cumbersome. Using social media to post restaurant news and advertise events is often the quickest way to communicate directly with the masses. If you are regularly posting to your accounts and providing information about upcoming specials or events, then users will start using it as a resource for information. Facebook events in particular are a popular way for bars and restaurants from quick service to table service to get on the social circuit.
#3 – Ask Questions
This is a daring but potentially rewarding tactic. Periodically inviting your guests for feedback is like opening up Pandora’s suggestion box, but you might get some good feedback and ideas and more importantly, tap into the pulse of your customers and see where their heads are in regards to your restaurant. You might uncover some opportunities for improvement or for increased customer engagement and ultimately greater brand loyalty.
Ask your followers direct questions like:
- What’s your absolutely favorite appetizer?
- We’re looking for a local charity to sponsor. Any ideas?
- What drink specials would you like to see?
- Any suggestions for live music performers?
- Tell us your favorite thing about eating out.
# 4 Show Your Brand Personality
To stand out and foster an atmosphere that promotes brand loyalty, don’t just type generic messages that look like they were auto-generated by a computer. Write like you would on your personal social media — well maybe not exactly like that, perhaps make it a little bit more professional — but the point is, insert some humanness into your posts. A little clean humor is appreciated, too. Always keep your demographic in mind when posting. If your clientele is mostly twenty-something, post-college singles, your tone and messaging will be much different than if you cater to the married-with-kids Generation Xers.
Get Socially Creative
Likely you’ve witnessed restaurants around St. Louis getting creative with social media to draw customers in and making it a primary communication platform to advertise events or promote specials to the public. It’s low cost and, if done right, it’s effective at creating customers who return again and again and giving you a brand loyalty leg up.
Read Up on Customer Service Strategies
Managing your social media from a customer service standpoint takes practice and some skill. The book Hug Your Haters by Jay Baer is a great, modern resource for anyone who deals with customer complaints. Learn to embrace negative comments and handle them like a pro.