Get a website, start a Facebook page, create a Twitter account, get followers…check, check, check – ok, we get it already! It’s no secret social networks are great…

Get a website, start a Facebook page, create a Twitter account, get followers…check, check, check – ok, we get it already!

It’s no secret social networks are great for dispersing information in a fast, convenient way to a mass number of people, but aren’t you tired of the same old marketing techniques? Well if you aren’t, we are and it’s time to get more creative with your online promotion strategy, time to implement ideas that will take your restaurant business to the next level.

We know the basic marketing techniques that are successful; online and local advertising, steady use of social networks, and excellent public relations – but how do you get a potential consumer to pay attention to your restaurant in this age of saturated multi-media marketing?

We all get stuck in a creative rut from time to time but that’s why you’re here and that’s what we’re here for! This is part one of a 2 part post. Let’s cover the basics first:

  1. In this day and age of the smart phone your website must be accessible via cell phone. It is estimated that around 70% of cell phone users access the internet from their mobile device. Nobody is going to sit around waiting for your site to load when your competitor’s site loads in two shakes and a click – you know what we mean. This is not an option – this is a must.
  1. When people go to your restaurant’s website they are statistically looking for one of two things – #1 the menu and #2 the contact information. This information must be center stage and easy to access on a smart phone. Sounds simple doesn’t it? You’d be surprised how many people over look this.
  1. We know the importance of social media so have links to all social media on your site making it totally brainless to click, follow and like in a hurry.

Okay, now that we’ve covered the basics let’s get into some new ideas and marketing techniques to take your online promotion strategy to the next level!

Understand… You Are Not that special

It is no longer enough to be mentioned on an app anymore – oh you’re on Yelp! Guess what? So are thousands of others and all of your competitors. You have to have great reviews and make sure all the 411 your potential customer is looking for is easily accessible to be a contender in the app game.

When you have great reviews your business comes up highly rated on apps like Yelpand Foodspotting and when your location, phone number and menu are easily accessible, they know what they are getting and how to get to you.

No, we do not recommend you outsource to someone far away in their basement sitting around clicking their way to 5 stars but we do recommend an incentive.

Give it away, give it away, give it away…now

Many successful businesses are offering a free drink or a reduced price appetizer if you “check in” to their business and write a review. Get your staff involved – whoever gets the most customers to write a review gets a bottle of wine (oh don’t be cheap, you can part with one bottle for the sake of more business).

We also recommend hosting a happy hour. When you do this you come up on other apps such as Happy Hour Finder and Zomato, local papers and websites that highlight restaurants with a happy hour, when you otherwise would not show up on anybody’s happy radar.

Everybody loves a specialty cocktail or half off appetizer so this is a great way to get more mentions and be featured on more apps and events online and in the paper.

If you engage, they will eat

Interactive marketing techniques are what it’s all about. The people are tired of the same old techniques being pushed everyday while perusing and scrolling. The people want excitement and they want to be a participant, so make them one!

Post a featured recipe from your restaurant on your website; send it to the local paper, radio and tv stations. Film a demonstration of the recipe in your restaurant’s kitchen showcasing your chef and employees and post it on your website and social networks. This can even be done on a cell phone using Instagram or Vine and then shared to all of your other social networks.

Get Staff Involved

Again, get your staff involved in the process so that people feel a personal connection to your business and know that you are real people not just a corporate machine of robots. Offer to do a live demonstration of this recipe on a local television station, they are always looking to showcase the local community and fill air space in a new way.

This promotion strategy will give a face to your restaurant so the community will associate your restaurant with the best food for when their tummies rumble with hunger.

Ramp up your social efforts

Along these lines it’s time to shake up your social media marketing techniques – make it interactive and ask your consumers questions so they feel like they are invested and part of things. Stop just posting, telling and suggesting. Instead ask your followers what kind of dish or beverage they’d like to see on your menu & then make it the feature of the week.

For example, “Alexis Heart told us she wanted us to spice up her cocktail so we’ve created the Jalapeño margarita with cayenne salt accenting the rim”. Post a pic of this savory cocktail and tag Alexis Heart “Here it is Alexis, get over here for happy hour & try it. Tell us what you think!” Encourage your followers to post their ideas and theirs could be the next featured dish or beverage! Because guess what? Alexis is going to tell all of her friends that she is so special that your restaurant made a drink just for her, now all of her friends want to try it and next want their own featured item! This makes your business more personal and people love to feel connected and part of something fun.

Don’t be afraid to be unconventional

It may be time to make some changes – going green and becoming eco-friendly are growing trends as well as just good human / business strategies. Companies that recycle, use recycled goods and recyclable products are sky rocketing to success because they are adapting to the new demand.

Farm to table is another great new trend – partner up to get a few of your produce locally grown from farms – you may pay a buck or two more for the produce but not only will you be supporting a local farm but you are setting your business apart when you feature this on your website and social networks. By adding these green, eco and locally friendly elements to your online promotion strategy you are expanding your existing audience and those that are looking for an eco-friendly establishment will now consider your restaurant when they may not have before – plus nutritionist exclaim it is good for you! This gets you on sites like Farm to Table, VegOut app and other sites dedicated to identifying and rewarding restaurants for going green by spreading word of their giving back to the environment.

Implementing these Marketing techniques and revamping your promotion strategy can go a very long way. Just remember the basic premise of all of these ideas is to think outside of your everyday social media mind, get your customer invested and energize your business through people which will translate online – you will be out of your social media rut in no time!

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