The minute you hear the words "social media," you probably think of yet another thing that is going to take more time out of your day. However, social media can not only save you time, it can even put a little money back into your wallet.
You've most likely read the thousands of articles offering a hundred different tips and tricks on how to get started with Facebook, or how to make your current page even more successful. That's too many, too time-consuming and too much to wade through. I'm going to narrow it down to four things you can do right now to get better results on your restaurant's Facebook page.
1. Throw away the idea that 30,000 non-active fans is better than 300 engaged fans.
You know how to measure your social media success? By how many people are talking to you on a daily basis on the networks. The bottom line is social media is about being, you guessed it, social. People who are looking at your content and are actively engaged are much more likely to remember your brand or product down the line when it comes time to buy. Those who are just sitting on your Facebook page as a fan and not participating in your conversations aren't engaged, and therefore, aren't bringing you much success in social media marketing.
It's your job to make them engaged.
Judge your success by the amount of people you can draw into a conversation, how active the conversation is and how many new people can create shoot-offs from that original conversation. Being popular on social media is just like being popular in high school. It's all about having as many people engage with you as you can.
2. Ask for participation versus just telling the facts.
I just told you to start conversations on your network in order to get the most out of your daily interactions. But how?
Many Facebook brand pages fall victim to the "press release windfall." This means, they only push out their own content, similar to the way someone distributes a press release. When you do this on a site as interactive and engaging as Facebook, you're basically setting up your brand's social network demise.
People are looking to interact. How about the next time you release a new product, instead of just making an announcement about it, ask your fans to take pictures of themselves enjoying it? Perhaps you can even give away one to the fan with the best picture.
There are so many different, creative ways you can use Facebook to not only showcase your new products and services, but to also invite fans to be part of the conversation. With no conversation, there is no success on Facebook.
3. Always respond.
Not responding to a question, comment or concern written on your Facebook page is like shooting yourself in the foot about 100 times. Consider your Facebook page an extension of your customer service. What if you asked a question to a customer service representative and they blatantly ignored you?
That's exactly how your fans feel when they are ignored on your social networks. Except, they aren't dealing with you one-on-one as they would in a call center situation. If you ignore them on a public forum like Facebook, chances are it can get really ugly, really fast.
Many fans are looking for acknowledgment. If there was a problem at your restaurant and a fan brought that up to you, then be sure to respond saying you will look into it and thank them for bringing it to your attention.
Similarly, if a fan compliments something, be sure to say thank you, just as you would in-person.
While you can't get to every single comment, especially on larger brand pages, you can acknowledge what you see when you have time to log in. It doesn't have to be a response to every single person who posts, but instead an understanding comment of the situation at hand. Quick, small interactions will go a long way for your reputation online.
4. Never attack a competitor on Facebook (or any social network for that matter)
Word to the wise: Never use an article to bash a competitor. Negativity on social media almost always turns into a bad situation for the person who started it, even if your biggest competitor just had a nasty article written about them in the New York Times.
It is best to continue on with your success on Facebook and look away when others stumble. Trust me – you'll have many more loyal fans if you do.
DiVirgilio is the marketing manager for WyckWyre, the restaurant recruiting system that helps focus on quality employees quicker. She is also a social media consultant with proven experience in growing brands' followings on different social networks.