Social media is here to stay whether you like it or not. For businesses, social media sites provide the opportunity to engage, listen to customers and without using it as a medium to just advertise themselves.
Social media is about embracing your market – the good and the bad. It not only acts as a key to the growth for your restaurant business, but can also damage your restaurant’s brand. There have been many blunders as far as public relations and social media is concerned for promoting restaurants, as this has brought about enormous waste of restaurant’s time.
Here are some tips on how one can avoid a social media disaster.
1. One needs to plan for the worst while expecting the best. A professional and responsible manager should be in charge of all communication on various sites and this person should be very well versed on the many risks of social media.
2. All employees should go through social media training and be taught how to respond to negative comments posted on the social media.
3. Employees should be guided to engage in debates positively and have a conversation, rather than preach or try to control the controversies.
4. One has only 140 characters to express on Twitter and it gets hard to combine humour and sensitivity into the marketing message. Be careful, as sometimes the tone of your message doesn’t get through on Twitter.
5. Never try ill conceived ideas to make a video go viral on the web. Spoof generally never works in good wonders. And try not to have multiple accounts as it shifts focus.
6. Social media is about developing relationships and not spamming them. Apologise when you do something wrong. Use it as an opportunity to engage in conversations with those who are offended.
7. Identify and nurture social media influencers within your target audience. Try test campaigns before they are launched.
8. Invest in real-time social media monitoring tools that track conversations and posts about your brand.
9. Failing to deal badly with negative online reputation can blow up in your face. Find ways to convert negative publicity into a positive one. Respond to potentially negative posts in a positive way and let the poster also know what the company is doing to fix the problem.
10. Failing to deal with customer complaints can lead to frustrated customers taking their cause to the social media, where they often find sympathetic readers/viewers. Social media posts can go viral real quick! Brand reputation can be damaged in just few hours. So work on it...
A hit on a restaurant, for something like an anti-social media campaign, can become costly. There are a few reasons why such disasters happen – lack of corporate social media policies, lack of real-time monitoring, not responding to customer concerns, employees not trained in company policies, lack of professional social media managers, too much focus on self-promotion (lack of relationship building) and lack of due diligence before launching social campaigns. Give a thought to the reasons as that can help you build a strong PR for your restaurant.