Remember when a friendly welcome and goodbye were all the social contact you needed with your restaurant guests? Those days are over. With Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and CAKE Guest Manager, social media marketing is altering the dining experience. In fact, today, the involvement never ends. Diners are sharing their food adventures, both good and bad, with families, friends, and colleagues online before they are even out the door.

Smart restaurants would acknowledge and thank the diner for the favorable comments and encourage them to return. By not acknowledging the posts, guests may leave with a sour taste in their mouths rather than any thoughts of the delicious food that evening. To avoid this, check out five tips for creating the best social media experience for your guests and future customers.

 

#1 – Inside Scoop

Take advantage of Facebook and use it to post daily happenings in the restaurant. Viewers love to feel like they’re getting exclusive news which will encourage them to “Like” your page. An inside scoop can range from posting the special of the day to informing customers of an upcoming event. Momofuku’s Facebook page, with over 50,000 likes, is a prime example of how to give their fans the “inside scoop” by announcing events there first.

 

#2 – Social Media Contests

Instagram is growing by the day and allows guests to be brand ambassadors for your restaurant. Reward them with weekly or monthly prizes with “Fan Pic of the Week/Month.” Every month Serafina Restaurant holds a monthly “Love Serafina” Instagram contest with hashtag #LOVESERAFINA and rewards the best photo a $100 gift certificate. This same concept can also be held in conjunction with Pinterest.

 

#3 – Discounts Discounts Discounts

Set up a Foursquare account and reward clients for checking in. For example, you set up a 15% off bill special for your guests on their second check in at the restaurant. Some restaurants do a free appetizer on a Monday to encourage business on slower days of the week.

 

#4 – Feedback

Bad dining experiences can happen at every restaurant. To curtail your guests from running to Yelp, CAKE Guest Manager allows the dining patrons to provide feedback privately. During the meal, a guest can write a complaint through the Guest Manager app, which provides the manager with an excellent opportunity to address the issue before the guest even leaves the venue. This way, a potential negative Yelp review is turned into a positive experience.

 

#5 – Communication via Twitter

Twitter is arguably the most important marketing tool, and it’s free. Through Twitter you are able to see when guests are mentioning your restaurant. Don’t be complacent – Instead be proactive in the conversation. Constantly reply to posts, retweet great customer experiences and make use of the “Favorite” button, which acknowledges and shows appreciation.

In this service oriented industry there is no stronger forum than social media for engaging your guests in what we hope to be a long-term relationship. Take advantage of it today!