Lately, it seems much of my attention has been turned toward restaurants and their use of social media for marketing.
Just the other day, my friend Mary McKnight and I were discussing the matter and both agreed restaurants, bars and such other consumer-centric local businesses are obvious choices for use of the medium. (From our joint perspective as marketing consultants, we also agreed they were “low hanging fruit” too — obvious prospects for our services.)
Take, for example, what’s happened with Naked Pizza down in New Orleans. Their entire approach to marketing has been revamped to include social media, especially Twitter. So novel was it, the restaurant garnered coverage in the New York Times as well as investment from Mark Cuban.
The same can be said for Ramon DeLeon, owner of several Domino’s Pizza restaurants in Chicago. He has mastered the art of using social media to sell his products and created a very loyal following in the process. In fact, his popularity has taken on almost Gary Vaynerchukesque proportions.
Recently, I noticed a number of articles and blog posts on the topic of restaurants using social media. Here are a few:
- Where fine dining and social media meet – SmartBrief on Social Media
- Take a Tip from Restaurants on Email Marketing & Social Media – Vertical Response blog
- Atlanta Restaurants Band Together on Niche Social Media Site – 11Alive.com
A year ago I asked the question on Twitter, “If I were a restaurant, I’d use Twitter to…” and received a number of responses ranging from, “I would tweet my lunch specials at lunch time; tweet whether there’s a wait; tweet my best desert of the day” to “ask customers to submit their best homemade recipes and hold a contest, the winner gets dish on the menu 4 a yr & named after them.”
Truly, Facebook Pages and Twitter accounts were made in the shade for restaurants. I can’t think of one good reason why every such establishment shouldn’t have both.
In fact, even though I work as Internet marketing director for a Web design and development company, I once told a client who came to us for consulting on social media marketing that they didn’t need a Web site, and that a Facebook Page would suffice. (And, no, that advise didn’t get me fired.)
In this particular case, the restaurant in question was a lunch counter in an office building, not a full-service restaurant. In their case, a Web site would have been overkill. (For the record, I do believe every full-service restaurant should have a Web site.)
I’d really like to hear from restaurant owners and patrons alike. If you’re a restaurateur, how are you currently using social media? If a patron (and aren’t we all), how do you see social media being a good fit, and in what ways would you encourage its use? Also, please feel free to share links to any restaurant, bar, etc., that’s using social media for marketing purposes and tell me what you think of their use of it.
(NOTE: This is the latest in a series I started last year entitled Social Media Works for Small Business. I Have Proof. See previous entries here, here and here.)