With almost everything being online these days, online presence isn’t just about being on a particular platform anymore. Consumers love brands which interact with them, so merely existing on online platforms just won’t cut it. The Internet is a big, big universe and the key to propelling your business forward, both online and offline, is to make full use of what it offers!
So, why is there such a need for online marketing?
Ever heard of the saying ‘a little goes a long way’? Don’t ever underestimate the power the Internet can have on your business in the long run. It’s easy, convenient and timely, not only for you but also your diners! Since virtually everyone uses the Internet, it’s a great platform for you to get your restaurant’s name out there and to let people know about your brand. What’s more, its free, and you have total control of the content you share with your fellow diners.
In a forest of brands towering over mine, how can I dominate the world of online marketing?
Good question! Presenting to you the holy trinity of online marketing: Social Media, Content Creation, and Search Engine Optimization.
1. Be on social media
Social media platforms are great when it comes to engagement. Created social media accounts for your restaurant yet? If you have, then that’s great! There’ll be no need for you to create new ones. But… we’ve also got some bad news. Chances are you probably haven’t used them to your advantage.
But fret not, because it’s never too late to start! Just follow these simple tips we have for you.
First things first, make sure you already have an account on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+. Once that’s done, it’s makeover time! Consumers want an identity to associate your brand with. So use your restaurant’s colours, images, and logo for your account’s theme, background wallpaper, display icon and banners to build up on its identity.
Get social on Facebook
The most popular social media site with 1.37 billion active users on a daily basis, Facebook is an excellent platform for businesses to grow their customer base and increase brand awareness. You can also use Facebook as a platform to share your restaurant’s promotions, discounts and special events with diners and even interact with your consumers! Answer to customer inquiries, reply to feedback and perhaps even try to leave friendly comments on their posts! Show your customers that you care about their experience with your brand and create a positive impression while you’re at it. Always remember that engagement is the first step to being thick as thieves with your customers!
Facebook can also serve as an additional sales channel for your restaurant! Check this out: Fluff Bakery and JinJja Chicken have set up “Shop Now” Call-To-Action buttons on their Facebook pages, which allows customers to be taken directly to their shopping cart to make orders.
Take to twitter
Twitter has relatively high engagement, so it’s a great platform to engage with your customers. Post pictures of your daily specials, a photo with your regular customers, or even something funny you’ve seen that morning.
Wendy’s has done a great job entertaining and interacting with their customers (and roasting McDonald’s).
Start capturing moments on Instagram
We all love scrolling through images of delicious food on Instagram, and the next moment, we start having the worst cravings. You never know when your target audience might stumble upon these images and then crave for your food - which means that you should post creative photos of your menu items on Instagram as regularly as possible. Don’t forget to add 3-5 interestingly relevant hashtags! It might very well move people to check out your restaurant. (And hey, don’t forget to show your identity through your feed.)
One example of excellent online marketing is McDonald's Singapore. Using a consistent cartoon-like theme for their Instagram feed, not only is it aesthetically pleasing but also gives them a unique identity in the eyes of consumers. You can create an identity for your restaurant too, simply on Instagram!
Want some tips and tricks for using Instagram? Here's How To Use Instagram Like A Top Chef!
Get started on Google+
Believe it or not, Google+ is gaining more popularity as a social media platform. It’s useful because it links your restaurant to Google Maps which can be great for directing traffic to your restaurant’s website.
Holy mackerel! How am I going to manage 4 social media accounts? Try HootSuite. It’s almost like having your own social media manager. You can curate scheduled messages and HootSuite takes care of the rest for you. Moreover, if a customer engages you on any of your accounts, rest assured that you will be notified.
Need some ideas for your social media marketing? Check out this article for 7 Shockingly Successful Social Media Campaigns!
2. Don't wing content creation
Did you know? Companies who adopt content marketing efforts have nearly 6 times as high a website conversion rate as those who don’t.
Restaurants have started using content marketing to build their business; Which is why you should too! It is an excellent way to gain extra traffic to your website and increase brand awareness. Consumers have many questions when it comes to restaurants, like where should I eat? What’s on this restaurant’s menu? How are the customer reviews of this restaurant like? This is an opportunity for you to be their hero and answer any burning frequently-asked questions that they may have. You can even share recipes, a simple post about your journey to success or even some tips you’ve picked up about running your restaurant.
With that being said, create content which can lend a helping hand to your consumers on the things that they care about. Perhaps garner support from local food bloggers and social media influencers too! Organise food tasting events, exclusive promotions and sponsored videos. They get content for their blogs and you get to tap on their significant following. It’s a win-win!
At the end of the day, keep in mind that among other factors, your online presence is like a house built on the foundation that is content marketing. If your foundation is weak, it is going to flop.
3. Make use of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
When consumers search for something on Google, Yahoo, or any other search engines, they want answers. And they want them quick. It’s natural for users to click on one of the first few links that pop up on their search page. As a restaurant, you’ll want your website to be clicked first. In fact, Google statistics also show that 88% of customers make their way to a restaurant within 24 hours of looking it up online.
Okay, so how do you get started with SEO?
Here are two words which you need to get acquainted with: keyword research. Google has some complex algorithm to determine the relevance of your website to online searchers. But for now, you don’t have to go deeper into that. Google’s job is to ensure users get the most relevant information first. Yours is to get Google to select your restaurant’s website as that most relevant, go-to source.
Start by going on a hunt for keywords commonly used by your audience, and pepper your website, URLs, social media accounts and content across all platforms with them. Do bear in mind not to add too much as Google might detect it as spam. That wouldn’t do anything good for you except hurt your ranks in the system.
It might be tough to grasp it at first but give it a shot! Don’t be afraid to experiment with different keywords. With practice and experience comes improvement and exceptional results.
With all that’s said and done, is online marketing really worth it?
Trust us, use this terrific trio of online marketing to build up your online presence. Don’t worry if you don’t see changes in the beginning, it will take some time. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Consumers may not give the most attention to sites just coming out of their shell, but they will eventually warm up to you. In all, take it as a process of making yourself known on a platform so large it can be demotivating. But hang in there, because once your online presence is substantial, it’ll all be worth it.
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