17 Golden Rules – Online Etiquette for Restaurants

Businesses are increasingly turning to social media, online review sites and other digital mediums to try and further their exposure online and get to know their market. If you’re new to all of this, you might want to check out our other blog posts in addition to reading this, but if you’ve already started marketing yourself online then the following guide to online etiquette for restaurants is vital for pleasing your customers!

Tone and consistency

  • Keep it professional and don’t stray into dangerous topics – stay away from current events to do with politics and religion!
  • BUT make sure to be friendly and have some personality, no one likes to read a Facebook post which sounds like a dry press release.
  • Designate someone to be ‘in charge’ of your social accounts, it really helps you stick to a certain approach and content schedule. If this isn’t possible, make sure all of you are on the same page when it comes to your ‘voice’ and posting timetable.
  • Respond to everyone, even if it’s a negative comment! (See below section for how to reply). When responding, make sure you personalise your reply to the context – don’t have a template you just repeat! Also, make sure you check your pages regularly and respond quickly, even if that means checking on your smartphone at the weekend!

What to Say and When to Say It

  • Stay on-topic. Don’t small talk, it’s obvious that tweeting ‘how is your day’ isn’t actually genuine and won’t get much response.
  • Don’t send out mass repeated messages, make sure you vary what information you’re putting out to your fans. For example, if you run the same offer every Thursday night, don’t post the same status every week!
  • Experiment with posts or tweets, mixing up your content with other things your fans might find useful; an Italian restaurant could post something about their wine suppliers, for example, or a Greek place could write a guide to great hummus with their chef’s input!
  • Tailor content to the platform, making sure that if someone follows you on multiple platforms they don’t get bombarded with the same images and information. Check out the differences between our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to give you some ideas.
  • Don’t buy likes or followers! It may seem tempting if you only have a dozen likes on your page or two Twitter followers. If your fans are fake, then you won’t get any interaction and it goes without saying that fake fans won’t dine at your restaurant!
  • Post often and consistently, but don’t spam your followers every five minutes! A rough estimate of about 5 tweets a day, spaced out over time, is great. For Facebook, a post every day will keep your page up to date but won’t clog up your fan’s timelines.
  • Don’t over hashtag your posts, #it #can #get #really #annoying! Make sure you check out local promotional hashtags though, like #NottinghamRocks or #SheffieldIsSuper, as they’ll get your tweets out to a wider audience.
  • Try not to ask people to like or subscribe to your social networks, make it so that they actually want to engage by creating great content instead of worrying about statistics. It’ll grow organically in no time!

Dealing with Negativity Online

Whether it’s on review sites like TripAdvisor, on your social media platforms, or via email, you may face some displeased customers online. Here’s a few ways to deal with it:

  • Acknowledge the review, and reply with something personal that lets you know how much you value any feedback, and how sorry you were that on this occasion the diner didn’t get their expectations met. Above all, be compassionate, professional, and calm the situation. DO NOT reply in anger or after a few drinks, as these responses would really put people off!
  • It’ll be tempting, but don’t delete negative comments, as customers may have already seen it and it’ll create an impression of a business that just doesn’t care!
  • If possible, deal with it privately, telling the diner to email or call you to resolve the situation.
  • Online reviews are the new word-of-mouth. Enourage happy diners to report on their meal – as Go dine does! We have a free meals system to encourage diners to leave reviews, this blog post outlines just how important seeing positive reviews is for new business.
  • However, if comments are obviously fake or spam (maybe from a disgruntled employee or competitor!) consider reporting and then removing these comments.

Overall, we’d encourage you to just stay positive and put you company’s best face forwards! Have you had to deal with negativity online? We’d love to know what your approach to online etiquette is, leave a comment below!

If you’re a Go dine member restaurant, our social team can help you evaluate your current social media presence and help you improve, or even help you get started and figure out a content plan.

To find out more about our digital marketing service, just email amy@godine.co.uk and I’ll get straight back to you with more details.

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