Life in the restaurant industry can be very competitive, there are thousands of restaurants up and down the UK fighting to fill their tables every evening. With so much choice for customers, as a business you can’t afford to get left behind. You’ve got the best food, a great atmosphere and a good local reputation – but what about your online presence? Lots of customers will now search online for information before they choose where to eat, so what message are you giving your diners? Whatever your message, it is key to keep a consistent brand across all your digital platforms, and even more important to ensure that same message can be followed through when your customers sit down to eat.
Know Your Brand
• What’s your purpose? Do you serve great authentic tapas? Host live music? Family-orientated? Maybe you’re perfect for groups because you’ve got something for everyone? Play to your strengths when you’re crafting your brand, choose what to focus on based on what makes you different or a better choice for diners. Your brand shouldn’t be much different from any offline branding you have. Keep marketing and digital marketing staff in the loop with each other – the brand should be uniform across both, even if the delivery is different.
• Don’t dismiss the little things. Perhaps some of your menu has dishes that your great-great-great-grandmother conjured up, or maybe your building has a quirky little story behind it. Using things like this gives some extra depth to your brand, making your restaurant seem more like an experience than a business.
• Choose your platforms. Don’t just sign up to every website you find. Have a look round, think about what you’ll really make use of and what your customers would engage with. Use Go dine to increase your online presence and drive bookings without any extra work.
• Logos, layouts and profile pictures. Choose a colour scheme, style and design based on the message you want your brand to convey. It’s good to keep these sorts of things uniform across any websites, blogs or social networks you might be using. It keeps your audience familiar and makes sure your message is clear.
• But be intuitive! You should do your research into the strengths and weaknesses of each online medium you’ll be using, and as such don’t be afraid to alter your visuals slightly based on what works on each platform. If you’re using Instagram for example, amateur and action shots tend to work better than professional shoots. Pinteresters love all things pretty and cute but useful. For Facebook, your blog and website, those professional shots will be more useful. Make sure you create separate icons, cover photos etc. for each network – stretched and pixelated pictures seem unprofessional.
• Use pictures. Picture posts and graphics are generally far more successful online than plain text and links – use this to your advantage.
• Be useful. Include all the information a customer could want to know on your website – opening times, menus, contact numbers, options for people with special dietary requirements etc. Link to this information from social networks, include it in bios where appropriate. Make use of services that benefit you and your customer, such as Go dine, where all the information about your restaurant is available and bookings can be made in seconds.
• Create original content. Post statuses, blog posts, Tweets and photos that are not only useful to your audience, but also engaging. Reposting content from elsewhere will only get you so far, so try and be interesting in your approach, relevant to your brand and regular in your delivery. Neglected sites look unloved and unappealing, if you find you’ve completely abandoned a network, maybe it’s best to delete it. Stagger links to blog posts on social media and word each post in a different way, using a variety of visuals. You don’t want to appear to be spamming, and you don’t want all your information to be exactly the same across the web – otherwise, why would anyone follow you?
• Know your voice and engage. To stay consistent, make sure that each person on your content and digital marketing team knows what tone and approach to have when engaging with people online or posting on behalf of the restaurant. Voice can change depending on the platform – you’ll probably find that blogging can be quite colloquial, Twitter lends itself to being chatty and witty, whilst website content is a lot more informative and therefore quite formal. Despite these alterations, the voice should still clearly be representing the same brand in the same sort of way. Create a ‘best practices’ document for your team so they can reference how to interact with people online.
• Reviews. Enabling reviews on platforms such as Facebook, or becoming a member of Go dine, adds an extra element of trust and authenticity between your restaurant and potential customers. Of course you are going to say you’re great, but all those happy customers shouting about it too can make a big difference. It’s also a great way to keep an eye on customer loyalty and a fantastic way to engage with customers, say thank you and encourage their return.
If you have any questions or extra comments just use the comment box below. We’d love to hear what you think.