Social Media for Chefs & Restaurants
Let’s face it, we all are on social media these days. Some are simply looking for distraction, others are doing serious research but we all follow other pages and people. Restaurants and chefs are the most followed after celebrities but as a recent survey revealed, followers do expect more from their ‘idols’ than simply the latest offers or new opening hours. Fans of restaurant pages have been asked what they expect and the result was quite surprising for anyone who doesn’t manage business pages. I run pages for several restaurants and have noticed early on that a personal approach is more successful than simply sharing the latest menu. Obviously, sharing photos of puppies will give you likes but let’s face it – this is a business page and the chef needs to make money. Followers want to feel part of the ‘community’ the page provides and not just being seen as a paying customer.
A second survey done among chefs in the US has shown that although chefs and restaurateurs understand the importance of social media, most of them are simply overwhelmed by the amount of different platforms and the need to reach many people at once without too much time effort. Yes, there are way too many platforms out there and it can be confusing. Gone are the days where we just had Facebook but then came LinkedIn and Twitter followed by Google+ and and and….. you can’t keep up with all of them. Below are some tips for chefs & restaurateurs on how to keep it simple but effective.
Research where you have the most followers (make sure they are local tho) and stick to the top two or three platforms. Currently, these are still Facebook & Twitter followed by Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn
Keep it simple – but make sure it is free of spelling errors, not too political (you want to sell food not start a political party) and leave rants out as much as you can. Your opinion might not suit the rest of the country (use your personal page for that).
Speak with one voice – this is in my eyes the most important. Larger businesses have a team or you might have given permission to your front of house etc. – this can lead to mixed ‘voices’. Having one person being responsible (if that is manageable) for your social media content ensures that your followers don’t get confused
A photo says more than a hundred words – yes, that is true but simply uploading a photo without any text is the same as waiting for a bus without a timetable. Avoid long text but make sure it is clear what the photo means – just because it is clear to you doesn’t mean everyone else understands it as well.
Always – ALWAYS reply to comments and direct messages. Some people use Facebook to book a table or ask questions on menu or opening times. Ignoring these can result in revenue loss – (I always reply to my client’s online messages – very often outside of business hours and followers are impressed by the service).
Reply to negative comments as well. It is impossible to make everyone happy – so don’t even try. But don’t ignore a bad comment. Apologise that this person had a bad experience and ask him/her to direct message you with more detail to take the discussion offline but make sure you follow up. I would not recommend to argue with the client but acknowledge that you are aware of the situation.
When all this is too overwhelming – you can always hire someone like me to do the hard work for you. It pays sometimes to have someone dedicated to look after your online presence and engage with your followers in your name – increasing the awareness for the business and attracting more paying diners to your restaurant.