Social media marketing hardly needs justification anymore. It isn’t the way of the future—it’s the way of the present, and many restaurant guests are making their way to establishments based on social media presence, branding, searches, etc.
That said, social media, when done right, can be incredibly time-consuming. This may prevent some managers from engaging or from engaging well. When the list of a manager’s responsibilities and obligations already seems to be a mile long, you don’t want to distract from those important restaurant management 101 leadership tasks by expecting them to fully-engage with a social media audience.
Thankfully, Nation’s Restaurant News recent published an article interviewing Ashley Breneman, lead chef at the Certified Angus Beef LLC culinary center, who has found simple ways to tap into social media platforms, that still allow her to handle her most important role as lead chef. Breneman believes that social media presence is essential and benefits the restaurant. “There should be some sort of platform that the consumers can connect with you,” Breneman told restaurant attendees. “Social media these days is the new food critic.”
Her best advice for managing social media while handling everything else is to create a basic, easy-to-follow plan for social media marketing. Hers looks something like this:
- Capture — images by encouraging teams to take their own photos and reshare photos posted by guests.
- Consistency — post regularly, whether daily or weekly, and alternate between materials that entertain, educate, and provide general information.
- Community — engage with followers by responding to comments and liking their mentions. Also, she suggested following peers and supporting their platforms and using #hashtags and location tags to see what is trending in the immediate area.
Operating by these basic instructions, restaurants can more easily integrate social media into their daily rhythms. For example, managers might ask different departments to “capture” photos when they can—a chef takes a picture of plated food before it is served, a server snaps an image of a beautifully curated place setting, a front-of-house representative photographs the day’s menu specials. With a cache of photos on the ready, a manager can choose a time to “consistently” post, say, as the first task when returning from a lunch break or an hour before the doors open for dinner. This straightforward schedule leaves space for the most important component of social media marketing, the “community.” A manager can schedule twenty dedicated minutes either before close or when opening in the morning to review comments, repost photos from guests, and share exciting neighborhood updates. It doesn’t have to be all-consuming to become effective.
Richard Weil, principal, and owner of National Restaurant Consultants follows a few basic principles relating to managing social media. “Make sure your posts are timely, relevant, and, above, all representative of your brand. All too often restaurants stray away from the key messaging of what the brand is all about. Don’t steer off course.”
Whether your restaurant has an existing social media account that needs refreshing or is starting at the very beginning, our restaurant consultants have the resources to help build your online brand and make your social media marketing effortless and successful.