My Contribution to Social Media Marketing of a Chain with 20 Restaurants
For any company or business to do well, the marketing department must be in the forefront in ensuring that the corporation is well known to the target group. In the past years marketing was only done through newspapers, posters, banners and radios. This kind of media did not reach a lot of clients, and so this was a main hindrance to the marketing department. My main aim is to try to contribute to the social media commercialization of a chain restaurant with more than twenty different types of restaurants. They vary from those that offer Indian food to English food. For this department to be efficient in its work, social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp and TripAdvisor need to be used. Today's social media platforms are a fertile ground for marketing for many businesses. With the current widespread and preference of picture sharing in social platforms primarily championed by such platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr and others, marketing of business has become easier. A picture is worth a thousand words and therefore, today's information age and media technology are the best time for image oriented businesses like restaurants.
As a real and active social media user I know that for any social media marketing to do well, one must know to communicate with the clientele. Language is the first thing that should be considered in social media marketing. The choice of words that I would use will be those that attract and welcome our customers. Creation of a good tone that is to be used in all the social media platforms at all times is also crucial to cater for all the customers using the twenty restaurants. The first role as an active social media user is to do a lot of research on the company that I am working for to ensure the future landscape of the business. For instance, the kind of customers that the restaurant is planning to serve, the kind of food to be offered and also the locations of each of the 20 restaurants. Of all the social media channels, there are those that are the best suit for each kind of advertisement even though some may differ by saying that they offer the same services.
So much emphasis is placed on images in social media. Pictures are the most exchanged messages today on social media than any other type of communication. Therefore, to exploit this tremendous potential as a marketing tool a chain of restaurants that range from English to Indian specialized restaurants, the first thing is to identify our customers and where we can find them on social platforms. While it is important to have a presence on all social media platforms, it is even more important to focus on platforms where most of our customers are. First I will identify which social media platforms the majority of our customers hang out and direct our attention in those platforms. I can use the Google alert feature to discover which social platforms and who are discussing the restaurant. Perhaps a customer happened to visit one of the chain's restaurants, and they enjoyed the services and foods, and they happen to be discussing the restaurant say, on Facebook, then the Google alerts will notify me of this discussion and build on it. We can set up Google alerts for our restaurants by name and location and the most social platforms they are mentioned in then we focus on marketing on those platforms. Another way to identify which platforms our customers use is just by asking them.
Restaurant Chain Marketing
After identifying the social media platforms most used by our customers from every restaurant in the restaurant chain, the next step is to build a strong online presence on those platforms. The objective is to build a loyal following on the platform, one which will not only keep our current customers but will also attract more. This can be achieved through an exceptional display of pictures intended for holding the attention of not only our clients but also prospective ones, introducing them to our restaurants, our services, our foods and everything about our business. I could post special selected pictures to these social media sites. The images should be designed to be appealing and bring out the exceptional quality of our restaurants' etiquette in services, cleanliness, quality and variety of our foods. All our social platforms, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and blogs should be dominated by mouthwatering pictures of our cuisine and the high-class facilities and exquisitely decorated gardens and rooms. The pictures should be designed to leave a lasting impression on our customers and prospective customers and make them want to visit our restaurants.
To achieve this effect, the pictures posted on these social platforms should have attention grabbing texts on them that get the intended message across. May it be an invitation to try the delicious looking dishes on the pictures or a comparison of recipes aimed at raising interest in the restaurants they are prepared. Using cover pictures for our Facebook account is also a great way to grab attention on Facebook and demonstrates what the restaurants have to offer using images. The Facebook cover photos are an excellent way to introduce new foods, drinks or offers which should be changed periodically to illustrate the changing themes of the restaurants. The Facebook covers would act as online specials menus for each restaurant in the chain.
Pictures can create awareness and market the restaurants. By sponsoring contests on Facebook and Instagram for example, can encourage sharing of photos to other people thus creating a following. A sponsored contest like posting a picture of a gourmet dish on our Instagram or Facebook accounts and then announce that the first ten people who correctly identify the name of the dish will win a free weekend dining voucher in any restaurant of their choice in the restaurant chain, would create a buzz of activity and awareness for the restaurant chain on social media. Another way I am going to use pictures to attract more prospective customers is by posting a large number of great pictures with excellent scenes and tantalizing dishes all over our social media platforms. The more pictures we post, the more they are shared and the bigger the number of people who learn about our restaurants. This is especially true because studies have shown that in Facebook, images get likes seven times more and get shared ten times more than links. Therefore, for a business like restaurants where visuals have a great impact on the number of customers they can attract, marketing through images is a capital asset in social media.
My blogs then should have numerous high-quality images in conjunction with the literature. The blog's images should all be pinnable. This feature of Pinterest where the pin it option allows a person to see all the images in the article and share them, gives a fantastic way of sharing our blog posts on Pinterest since the shared images from this feature helps tap into people who had not originally come from our blog post but were led to it through the images from the blog posts shared to them. I should also try to induce more patrons to come into the restaurants by coming up with exclusive offers and deals that cover groups. Posting of these exclusive offers on the Facebook page and give deals to patrons who only like the Facebook page will ensure that the number of clients increases. Since many people love gifts, giving of coupon promotions will also work in enticing fans to share the deal to other people that they may know. This will make those people be our Facebook Page Fans too.
Apart from pictures in social media, I can create a loyal community by hosting social media events that focus on the customers and fans. I shall also create a Facebook Fan page where all the customers can share their experiences and pictures of the good times they had during their visit to the restaurants depending on which restaurant they visited and what they liked most about them and what they did not. Such a Fan page would not only enable the restaurant chain to get feedback and suggestions on the services they offer but also win more customers through sharing of the fan page links and pictures to and by other fan page owners. The use of hashtags like #SushiFriday would stir a following expected of sushi fans.
I would create a good relationship with my followers whereby they would be comfortable and happy to communicate and add on more ideas on how to improve or what to add to make the restaurants better than they already are. Creating a safe and healthy relationship with people would increase the chances of marketing them. I would take videos of exciting events happening at the restaurants such as performances by various artists. This would most likely attract more customers judging by the way music is prominent in today's society. I would collaborate with other well-established restaurants and share knowledge with them while creating a good relationship with them. This would help in spreading more positive messages about the restaurant to the social masses. I would make good use of ads, especially Facebook ads as they are free and a lot of people get to see them. This would help to create a buzz about the restaurant and people would want to know more about the restaurant and maybe pay a visit to confirm the rumors from the buzz created.
Help In the Social Media Marketing Strategies
I would also employ dedicated blogs especially for the foods prepared in all the different restaurants may it be the Chinese restaurants, Thai restaurants or Indian restaurants; a food blog should be created for each. The blogs will take the customers through the process of preparing the food; get introduced to the chefs who cook their meals and with accompanying pictures of course. We would blog about the menus of the restaurant, what makes them unique, the preparations and display of the food, the condiments and special ingredients that the restaurant uses which sets them apart from other restaurants all in a bid to attract more customers with the excellent articles. I would also blog about what makes the unique selling proposition, food preparation and display and also the specialized machinery used in that particular restaurant that is not found in other restaurants. Monitoring of the social media accounts would also be necessary to know what is happening and what clients are requesting for. I would is preferable to get more knowledge on different types of food in the various countries.
Apart from the free exploits of social media platforms, there are some paid adverts in social media platforms that have an extensive coverage and guaranteed viewing by prospective customers. Paid Facebook advert feeds, for example, would provide real-time advertising for the restaurant and can be geo-tagged for a particular geographical area that the restaurant operates in. Also paid ads in Google where the restaurants would be suggested as the first search results for all specified searches run through Google and Facebook as well.
In regards to Instagram marketing, I would use trending hashtags. To easily be identified by our niche, I would further use niche hashtags. This allows us to get more easily found by our niche markets. Campaign specific hashtags would also be necessary in order to facilitate business and clientele. Getting customers to engage with the menu items is another core facilitating point of Instagram. It takes the photos of your menu one step further. The type of generated content used here gets your customers to be involved with the staff socially which results in the creation of a stronger bond. Outsourcing social media influencers, offering free samples to clients would also be a sure way to promote the business. I would also do a lot of research about customers preferences whereby I would collect data using various statistical methods and analyze it. I would then find out solutions to these problems and find a way to rectify them. I would use captivating and very attractive mail titles that would consequently lead to the masses wanting to know more about the restaurants. This would help in the social media marketing strategies of the restaurant in a big way.
I would target influential people on social media. These people tend to have a lot of fans who believe in them. They have trust in these people such that anything this person says is taken to be true. This would greatly help in the marketing of the restaurants all over the world. These influential people can increase the awareness. One way of doing this is by offering them curative experiences or exclusive meals which is a sure way of promoting knowledge of the various restaurants. One way to increase the chances of better knowledge on these restaurants would be by inviting a social media influencer who would give a report about the restaurant’s services to his fans. This way, they can post about the restaurant's location and the things they enjoyed. I would make sure to find a balance between adequate posting and over posting as over posting would result in the loss of interest by the masses.
Taking Advantage Of the Staff's Social Media Presence
I would also take advantage of the staff's social media presence where I could offer them a deal where they can be rewarded for the number of followers on Twitter they acquire for the restaurant and the number of likes they garner in Facebook and Instagram. By including the staff in the social media marketing, I will increase the spread for establishing and enhancing the social media awareness for the restaurant chain. This could also be extended to the regular customers as an offer where every time a customer reaches a certain number of new followers for the restaurant they get free meals.
The more the restaurant gains followers on social media, the more it gains new customers, therefore, exploiting social media platforms that enable following such as Twitter and LinkedIn is an important strategy of marketing. The "Your Day" feature in LinkedIn can be used to gain further new customers where the milestones of all the people in the restaurant's contacts are tracked, and the restaurant notified. Through this new feature, the restaurant can be able to congratulate its followers in their contacts for their say, birthdays, wedding anniversaries, job promotions and so on and in doing so earn a loyal following. In the process of congratulating them for their milestones, they may send tailored messages suggesting and making them offers to celebrate their achievements by dining in the restaurants.
Sharing of positive information about the restaurant would also be useful in creating brand awareness of the restaurant. While doing this, I would also consider starting a blog post for the restaurant where I would share the history, successes, failures, challenges and a few funny stories about the restaurants which would keep the fans interested and eager to learn more about it. I would get knowledge on the appropriate times to post on social media as I target a broad audience. This would mean considering the time the restaurants are opened to the time they are closed. It would also include learning more about my customer's time preferences. I would also take the time to learn more about my audience and understand them and what they expect to be delivered to them which would enable me to plan effectively. It is important that a schedule is set whereby it is used to make things easier rather than working with only fixed time.
Finally, in regards to making Facebook more useful socially, I would try posting several links in various pages to increase multiple chances of finding these restaurants. This would ultimately improve the search engine optimization. Social media is very useful in promoting the awareness as seen above. With a few networking skills, promoting a new restaurant is easy to manage. I believe it is easier to carry out my marketing using the social media as a platform due to the social websites that are available. In this regard, I shall be able to take marketing to the next level. With these strategies in place, I have faith that the customer base will increase progressively and that the chains of restaurants will get more positive customer reviews and enhance healthy competitions.