restaurant-social-mediaRestaurants and social media really work well together. People have a need to eat and for many people the like to share it. Who doesn’t like to talk about their favorite food and share that experience with others both at the restaurant and online. We care a lot about what we eat. That is why restaurateurs should care about social.

1) Claim your listing in Google+ for business. The bulk of your business might be The process to open a Google+ page for business is easy but the process will take up to a week since Google sends a verification pin by mail. The benefit is that this shows up in search engines. A well optimized listing should allow you to show up in the top of search results. Having this listing is important as you can share food images, promotions, and important information about your company. Don’t forget that Google is also a review site now which enables people to rate your company.

2) Yelp and Trip Advisor for social media reviews. Although review sites like Yelp and Trip Advisor may not necessarily be thought of as social media the fact is that they kind of are. Social media is a medium that allows people to be social. What these companies provide are photos and reviews of user experiences of hotels, tourist destinations, and restaurants. Just spend a little time on the site and you will see that people are busy uploading their thoughts and photos of restaurants and perhaps yours. Other honorable mentions for review social sites are:

3) Twitter for social sharing. Engaging your (potential) customers through social media can help you get exposure and interest in your company. You can even search for users mentioning your area food and give them a discount. Even fast food companies like McDonald’s use it to promote products, ask questions about their food, and give freebies. Now with the new Vine app customers can share their experience in video format.

4) Photo sharing sites like Foodspotting. Photos are important because it helps people eat with their eyes first. How often have you gone out and saw a photo or saw someones dish and inquired about it? My point is providing good quality photos makes sense to help drive interest in your dishes. Places like Foodspotting, recently aqcuired by OpenTable, allows customers to share their favorites and really only caters to positive experiences showing up in their feed. Enabling customers to share their experience will help your customers to find experience some of your brand before trying it out. So let them eat a little.

5) Videos through social sites like Youtube. Videos give you a great outlet to tell your story. Using a video can help people experience your brand a little more like what is happening in the lobby, at the table, and in the kitchen. By telling the story your customers may be most interested in your location because of the experience. Perhaps your restaurant is fun or romantic and by showing a video you can tell the story that way. Some other video sites.

6) Promotions through social site like Foursquare. Although Google+, Yelp and many review sites have Promotions I mention Foursquare as just another place to share your promotions. Foursquare is becoming more of a local business site with reviews and photo sharing. Just spend a little time and you’ll find that people like to engage their with recently upload photos and reviews of a company. You can provide coupons and promotions to your company.

7) Facebook & Instagram is nearly the given these days. People are addicted to the platform which gives diners the opportunity to share their dinner experience. Create a fan page to help push promotions, menu updates, and exciting events at your location to those most interested. This also allows you to add photos and videos that your customers may be interested in. Instagram also allows brand pages which you can share your restaurant photos with users. Followers are often pushed the information to your business.

8) Social media monitoring of your restaurant for reputation management. Using social media can be powerful but left alone can be disastrous. A show on the Food Network called “Restaurant Impossible” highlights companies that are failing. The common recipe is that their food is poor, environment is bad, and the customer service stinks. Most of the time this could have been stopped earlier by the owner of the restaurant watching for reviews. By watching what people are saying about your company is good tool to gauge how your restaurant is performing. This is part of reputation management which gives you feedback on your company. You often can rectify any negative situations and turn it positive if the customer is reasonable.

Promotion can be ease the time is often what gets most of us. With these tips you should be able to improve your restaurants brand and gain faithful customers. Are there social media things you have done that is a success? What is working for you and what isn’t?