Friday, November 4, 2011

Restaurants Slow To Integrate Social Media

It surprises me that restaurants, known for their ability to build real-world social networks ("Let's all meet at Joe's for dinner!"), are having a hard time leveraging the power of social media.

Effective social media management is all about relationship building. We interact via social media as a way of building relationships, strong, lasting relationships, with people we might not ordinarily see in our day-to-day business. We want to use social media as a big neon sign that reads: "Try us out--you'll like us!'

In the past restaurants have relied upon word-of-mouth advertising. I was a restaurant manager for nearly a dozen years. If there was one hard and fast rule it was that a diner who had a good experience might tell a close friend, but a diner who had a bad experience would tell everyone they knew.

With the advent of social media this process is even easier. Just one click and they have told their entire network about the experience they had at your restaurant. If you are online and monitoring your social media network you can address these problems instantly rather than letting it fester by looking unconcerned.

You can also use your social media network to promote unique menu items, lunch or dinner specials or even a change in the decor. You can also use the Fan interaction to show you care about your diners, offering them special deals on their birthday or during special events.

In my opinion the worst thing you can do, whether you own a fine dining restaurant or a hot dog stand, is to avoid using social media. Unfortunately, not many restaurants CEO's are getting it...

Why should restaurant executives jump into the Twitter stream?

Jessica Miller-Merrell, chief executive at Xceptional HR and widely known tweeter @blogging4jobs, said executives can and should use Twitter to communicate with both customers and employees.

At her workshop on Nov. 1, “Blogging & Tweeting From the Corner Office: Social Media for Executives,” at the People Report/Black Box Intelligence Best Practices Conference in Dallas, Miller-Merrell said executives can use Twitter as a tool to communicate with employees and provide from-the-top information, instead of “smoke-break rumors.”

Click here to read more about restaurant executives and social media.

Does your favorite restaurant use social media? Tell me how:

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