Reposted from Nation's Restaurant News
by Ron Ruggless
Social media has become the focal point in many restaurant marketing efforts, but the battlefield for consumer awareness has become clouded with a growing number of platforms and a limited amount of resources.
Foodservice companies remain intent on getting their message heard, however. In the NRN Restaurant Operators Survey released in January executives said they planned to increase marketing spending this year and that social media would get the lion’s share of marketing efforts. About 47 percent of survey respondents said social media was the most important part of their 2012 marketing campaigns.
And consumers are poised to accept marketing messages delivered via social media, according to the National Restaurant Association’s 2012 Restaurant Industry Forecast. Released in February, the study revealed that nearly one third of consumers said they would be likely to sign up as a follower on Facebook or Twitter if a restaurant made its specials available on those platforms.
The NRA [National Restaurant Association] forecast also found that more than nine out of 10 operators said their restaurant will likely be using Facebook in the next year or two, with use of Twitter and smartphone applications expected to rise as well.
To make it easier to sort through the growing number of social media offerings, Nation's Restaurant News identifies some of the most useful social media sites for marketing and gives tips on how restaurants can use them.
Facebook continues to be the platinum standard for social media, providing a platform for its 900 million users to share information about themselves and people and places they like. A few more women (58 percent) engage on Facebook than men (42 percent). Restaurateurs, big and small, can create a page to connect with fans of the brand and potential customers and even conduct polls and contests.
- Include photographs to draw attention to the posts (250 million photos are uploaded daily to Facebook).
- Engage the brand community by asking questions or seeking input on new menu items.
- Offer promotions, and even ordering, through special tools.
- Learn more about your brand’s fans with Facebook Insights data.