No matter the size of your restaurant or the number of units, Social Media is a marketing practice that you need to be using to promote your restaurant brand. It is well documented that Social Media is trending upward. A good sign of that is the adoption of Social Media by big brands and national media outlets. It has come to the point where if you don’t see social icons displayed on traditional mediums such as TV, Outdoor and Print that you question who’s doing their marketing.

As I promised in 13 Things Restaurant Brands Need To Do in 2013 I want to dive deeper and highlight further some of my recommendations. Number 6 on my list was Get Active in Social Media, Seriously What Are You Waiting for? So if you are like lots of people out there who need to see major brands jumping on a trend this post is for you.

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All restaurants want to drive more traffic to their restaurant. Picture sharing is where the social media action is this year. So sharing your food and encouraging your customers to share food should be part of your marketing plan to drive traffic. Create the craving with images.

Sure this is not a professionally taken photo that was art directed, stylized or retouched but it sure looks inviting. Doesn’t it?

Why do you think TV works better than radio for restaurants? Because we like to see the food we are going to eat. Until someone comes up with a way for you to smell food across media outlets, restaurants have to create food cravings visually. If you can’t afford TV or you want to mix up your media, consider using social media to share your images. Let’s be honest, your customers are doing it already.

While I certainly value the importance of professional looking food pictures for your website and for advertising purposes, today the timing is more important then the quality. For a restaurant the easiest content to share is pictures of food.

With the increase of mobile and geo-target influenced impulse purchases, social networks with effective mobile apps such as Foursquare, Instagram and Twitter you now have an easier way to fill the empty seats in your restaurant. Those additional tables can be the difference of having an ok week and having a great week. Low cost and high ceiling is a no brainer.

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Happy New Year! I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your support and readership, I hope that you have found my previous post helpful. Now that we have entered 2013, I wanted to highlight some goals and initiatives for your marketing efforts. Before you get bogged down with the reality of running a restaurant or marketing a restaurant be sure to look back at the success from 2012. Well, what did you learn?

As you look ahead to 2013, consider the following 13 suggestions. Think about tracking your success and note what went wrong with your failures.

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Yes, while I am a fan and advocate of social media you might be surprised to hear me advise clients to walk and not run into social media. All you have to do is read any of my posts here or on Steamfeed to see that I KNOW Social Media is a game changer. From restaurants to retailers, small businesses & large corporations to individuals alike can all reach new heights and build long-term relationships by utilizing Social Media… properly. However, I also need to warn people against false expectations, Social Media is not a silver bullet to solve all of your operational short comings or business issues.

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Are you a restaurant, retailer, hotel or a consumer wondering who exactly Yelp is helping? When you run a business, there are plenty of things you should be concerned about. It starts with your product and service, from there the list just grows. Obviously one of those concerns is what people are saying about your restaurant brand. I am a huge advocate for social media and digital as a whole for restaurants since this offers a great vehicle to keep tabs on what customers are saying. I am amazed at how many restaurants are still hesitant to get into the game, it is such an amazing medium to create relationships and to interact with your customers. I certainly think the positives outweigh the negatives, however I would not be doing my job if I did not point out some concerns that have been on-going with Yelp in particular.

As you can see if you are a restaurant, you need to be aware of reviews on Yelp.

I am sure most if not all of you have heard of Yelp. Yelp is simply a site that segments reviews by location for everything from restaurants to dentists, to mechanics and so on. 10 things you should know about Yelp (straight from their site). Yelp has been under fire recently due to the questionable practices surrounding the validity of reviews.

Jason Falls, founder of Social Media Explorer recently wrote THE FUNDAMENTAL FLAW OF YELP’S SOLICITED REVIEW STANCE. Questioning: Is Yelp encouraging more negative reviews with their stance on solicited ones?

Another debate has to do with who should be protected. Are you the restaurant who wants honest and fair reviews? Or are you the Yelper who values the right to share individual opinions? I use the term debate because the conversation that are taking place can get very heated. For example you can read this exchange that took place on Yelp, regarding a review.

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If you have ever met me, talked to me or read anything that I have shared you will know that I like to offer my honest opinion. I am asked many questions on a daily basis, I love being able to answer any and all of them. But please don’t be offended when you don’t like what you hear. IMO you ask questions to get feedback, sorry if sometimes the truth hurts. However, the truth just might be exactly what you need to hear. If you want sugarcoating, go ask your mom what she thinks. If you want results, ask someone that will tell you what you don’t want to hear.

You go to a doctor to see if you are sick but you buy medicine from a Pharmacy.

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Did you know that a loyal customer accounts for about 20% of your total customer count? You should be rewarding customer loyalty because that same 20% may account for as much as 80% of your total revenue. Are your loyal customers part of your current marketing focus?

Competition is tough, whether you are a restaurant, retailer or selling a consumer good or service. You have to work hard to get new customers, it takes both time and money. Today, we are going to focus on the low hanging fruit. Loyal customers are gold and should be treated as such. Far too often I see businesses, especially restaurants struggle to attract new customers all the while ignoring or under appreciating their loyal, supportive customers. You know, Brand Loyalists. 

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Commitment seems to be something that we struggle with these days. With divorce rates continuing to climb is it really a surprise that dating and courtship has literally turned into a game? Between the popularity of The Bachelor and the Kardashian girls can you blame anyone for not taking commitment seriously? Read More…

We all know the old adage about first impressions; however, today the stakes are higher than ever before. Due to the popularity of the web and social media, coupled with people sharing more liberally their opinions, a first impression of a brand can quickly become the only impression of a brand. And, the difference today is that a shared impression can potentially stick with a brand forever. Read More…

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