Dry July – challenging your restaurant’s social media presence.

July 4, 2011Uncategorized

What do you do when half the country decides not to drink and you’re a restaurant owner in charge of getting people through the door? All of a sudden you can’t rely on passing traffic or word of mouth as no one is wandering the streets in need of a stiff drink and a good meal.

What you can rely on though, is that your potential diners can be found online (maybe even more so during Dry July) and with careful planning and clever use of social media you can use online platforms to tempt them into leaving the house.

Dry July is the time for restaurants to start getting creative – we’ve covered the ‘basics’ of social media in past posts, so let’s now concentrate on the tricks you can use to rev up your business during ‘dry’ seasons.

Know your market and know what you do well:

If people usually come to you because you do $10 pizzas, then ramp this up! Spread the offer across more days or add an element of surprise to what people love you for! If your pizzas are the most popular then create a new flavour – or generate a competition to create a new flavour, which you’ll then sell! If your customers don’t go for this kind of marketing but do appreciate their loyalty being honoured, then create a loyalty program online.

Jump on the iPhone bandwagon!

18% of users are using social media on their phones to access information about local venues – don’t miss out on a fifth of your custom! Create a social media presence for yourself and integrate GPS check in capabilities.

Think about giving something back:

It’s no surprise that people like getting something for nothing. What you offer will completely depend on your custom and who you want to get through your doors. You may not want to be the type of venue that gives away something for nothing (some believe this makes them look cheap) but there are ways of giving away something and retaining value too – host an event for your loyal customers or create a charity campaign and bring people together.

Use in-house and social promotion together:

In-house and online can work well together. Use what you have in your venue to prompt your customers to ‘check in’ and leave comments online about their experience while they are in your restaurant. This could be ‘places’ table promotion or adverts in the bathrooms.

Do something a little different!

Think outside of the box! It’s a good idea to folow your competition online and study what they are doing. Then use this as a way of going one step further. The wackiest and weirdest ideas are sometimes the best…

The greatest example of doing something a little different to gain attention though social media, in King Content’s opinion, came a couple of years ago from fast food giant Burger King (known in Australia as Hungry Jacks) – it was called the WHOPPER SACRIFICE campaign.

Their marketing team had an ingenious idea, that went something like this:

• most people have facebook.

• most people have ‘legitamate’ friends on facebook who trust their friends’ opinions…

• However, most people are also friends with a few individuals on facebook who they would rather not be.

• Everyone would like to ‘purge’, ‘cull’, ‘delete’ these non-friends and therefore clean up their account.

• By doing this, Burger King actually has a more relevant database of consumers (those who actually heed their friends advice not ignore it).

• They also realised that not many people have an incentive to cull friends…

So… here came the WHOPPER SACRIFICE campaign! Not only would Burger King hone-down on their target market by deleting irrelevant customers’ friends but they would also cause such a stir by prompting users to sacrifice a friend for a whopper burger that the campaign spread across the globe like wildfire! Using a simple widget, customers would delete a friend’s account and receive a voucher for a free Whopper…. almost sounds too simple.

In fact, it was so simple that it was groundbreaking – Burger King were not asking anyone to do anything they didn’t already want to do, they didn’t have to agree to anything or sign up – all of the people who sacrificed a friend actually already wanted to do so! Burger King in effect, paid them to do something they wanted to do already.

However… And here’s the BIG problem – as fantastic and profitable campaign it was for Burger King, it was soon shut down by facebook. Obviously, a global campaign to delete friends (and therefore facebook links and pages which generate ad revenue) is going to annoy the big guys.

The rule is, to find ways to integrate with your customers everyday lives:

Offer meaningful tools that prompt action – in this case, getting customers into the restaurant. Is you blogging part of a system of prompts that helps move your readers up the sales ladder? If not, think about changing your angle.

Think about exchange value – both mutually beneficial to both you and your customer. What do you customers need help with? How can you help your customers while gaining from them?

Remember… in a lot of cases, it’s still a new area, so getting involved with social now and creating a bit of a stir will do you great favours in the long run.

Also, just because the ‘big players’ aren’t doing it, doesn’t mean you don’t or shouldn’t have to… but there’s more on this coming next week!