It occupies the time of 71% of online adults. It influences the purchase of more than 47% of Americans. And it’s used by 70% of marketers to gain new customers. It is, of course, Facebook.
Like most marketing mediums, restaurants can use Facebook skillfully, or they can use it clumsily. To learn the craft of great Facebook marketing, here are 8 common Facebook mistakes.
1. You Delete Negative Reviews
Contrary to popular belief, poor reviews are not disastrous. They will not kill your restaurant, nor will they kill your Facebook presence. If handled correctly, poor reviews can be assets to your Facebook page.
How can this be? For one, poor reviews show your humanity. They show that you make mistakes, and you’re not afraid to admit it. Secondly, poor reviews give you the opportunity to respond professionally, to offer a resolution, and of course, to apologize.
Lastly, poor reviews reveal what you need to change. Maybe you didn’t know the sink water smelled like sulfur. Or that one of your plates was cracked. Maybe you haven’t heard your waiter curse, or know he’s been rude to customers. Maybe you didn’t see these, but your customers did. And they want you to know.
When you resolve a negative review, don’t delete it. Facebook shouldn’t function like a suggestion box: you shouldn’t read your suggestions in private, resolve them, and throw them in the bin. Rather, after you resolve them, leave them for all to see.
2. You Don’t Respond to Comments
Facebook is not a bulletin board. It’s not a place to only tell, to only share your content. It’s a place to engage with people, to start conversations, to make real, lasting customers.
So, even if it’s just a thank you, always respond to customers’ wall posts. If they ask a question, answer it. If they state a complaint, address it. If they acknowledge you, acknowledge them back. Don’t be silent. Be social.
3. You Only Sell and Promote
Too much promotion alienates you from the world of personalities. People want funny. They want to see something interesting. They like entertainment. People go to Facebook not to be bombarded by advertisements and promotions. They go to find something relevant.
When you post, then, don’t only post promotional, salesy content. Think of your brand and post relevant content that’s entertaining and engaging.
Remember to curate content. Let’s say you cook Mediterranean food. You find a Youtube video of a Mediterranean cook making a dish that your cook also makes. You can easily curate this content and put it on your Facebook page.
4. You Don’t Use Facebook to Research
In addition to posting relevant content, with Facebook you can ask questions of your customers. You can ask about new meals, prices, cleanliness. You can ask for customers’ stories – positive and negative – and their experiences.
5. You Don’t Have an Online Menu
Facebook allows you to put a PDF or a photo of your menu on your page. If you don’t have a PDF file of your menu, you can easily take a photo of it and add it to your Facebook page.
6. Your “About Me” Is Incomplete
Many restaurants overlook the value of a full, specialized about-me index. But, for the curious customer, nothing can be more frustrating than an incomplete (or inaccurate) about me.
To complete your about me, make sure to include the following:
First, double check that all your information is accurate and up-to-date. Double check your restaurant’s address, phone number, hours of operation. If you change hours on the weekend, make sure you put this on your Facebook page.
Second, be specific about your food style, your price range, and your specialities. If you only serve vegetarian breakfast, you’ll want to tell people this.
Don’t skip simple things, like attire, the name of your general manager, and a link to your website. Do you accept Visa only? Tell Facebook users this. The more complete your Facebook page, the more customers know before entering your restaurant.
7. Your Photos are Boring
Photos and videos receive the most attention on Facebook. But if you want to entice Facebook friends into eating at your restaurant, you must do better than overhead shots of dinner plates.
The standard is to showcase photos of your dishes. But you can do better than that. Use dramatic lighting to highlight the lush colors of your most original dishes. Don’t take a bird’s-eye-shot. Rather, kneel down and take a photo from the table’s level.
Remember, too, that the smaller your plate, the bigger your food appears. Also, use a clean white plate on a blue or red table cloth. Trust me. This looks appropriate.
Lastly, instead of taking static photos, take photos of the cooking process. Show, for instance, the chef sprinkling basil on a caprese salad. Or, the chef squeezing a lemon over grilled fish. The more movement in your photos, the less boring they appear.
8. You Don’t Update Daily
When a Facebook account is not used often, we call this a ghost town Facebook. To create, but not use your Facebook page, is unappealing.