Social Media for Restaurants – Food for Thought………
I was asked the other day whether it was worth restaurants getting involved with social media and it was then that it struck me that, whilst I’m a huge believer of the benefits that it can have for business, it’s still a relatively new concept for many.
The best way for me to illustrate my “of course they should, they’d be mad not to” response was to explain a scenario of the route a customer could take these days in the decision to dine out – consider this:
I’m out running a few errands and bump into an old friend, we have a brief chat, but don’t have the time to stop, so we agree that we should arrange an evening out and get a few of us together to catch up. Using our smartphones we set a date in our diaries, I contact the others via Facebook to invite them along to join us and tweet that it was great to see X again and I was looking forward to our meal out.
I get a mention on Twitter from a new restaurant saying that they would love us to have our meal at their new venue – so I Google them and find that they feature numerous times in my search due to being registered on Google places, having their own SEO optimised website, and activity on Twitter and Facebook. I can see straight away on Google places that they are situated an easy distance from us all.
Back on Facebook, I suggest the venue to the gang and send a link to their fanpage which is packed with reviews of their brilliant service and great food. They’ve also got pictures on there from their launch night which I’m actually a bit disappointed that I missed – it looks like they had a blast. There’s a link to You Tube where I find a video tour of the restaurant, some interviews with the chef and some footage of the launch night; all further endorsing their business.
So now my mind is made up, I ring and make the reservation all before I’ve had a chance to consider where I’ve put the local business directory, let alone get home and thumb through it to take pot luck on a place with a name beginning with “A”.
On our evening out we arrive for our meal and I’m replying to a last minute email from work while we have a drink and wait to be seated. Just before I put my phone away I check into the restaurant on FourSquare then relax with good company and anticipate a great evening. As we are seated the waiter brings us a complimentary bottle of wine – apparently they are running a promotion for all new customers who check in on Foursquare. Now that’s the kind of service that I like!!
With research by Morgan Stanley suggesting that the sale of smartphones will outstrip that of PCs in 2012 it is clear that the trend to stay connected while on the go is set to continue. And while my scenario relates specifically to restaurants, they are not alone at being able to tap into social media for business. If you are not already engaging with your clients, you are effectively invisible on the social media landscape, and no doubt losing out to those who have spotted the window of opportunity that exists for early adopters.
OK, so maybe now you can see why I think its such a no-brainer to get involved, but I do have one word of warning; do it properly and you will reap the benefits, do it badly and your business will suffer. Take the time to get it right; make social media matter.