As a restaurateur, you will always have to seek out new clients, but customer loyalty will always be your most reliable fuel to keep you going. It’s the relationship you’ve built with them in time that will keep them coming back for more.
Understandably, you always aim to expand your customer base. They can increase your sales for a moment, but it’s your loyal customers who keep your numbers at a satisfactory level.
Creating brand awareness goes hand in hand with retention. You want your customers to be aware of your brand, but at the same time, you want to retain awareness with them. This means that there’s no need for you to introduce your brand every time you market to them.
Thus, a loyalty strategy is crucial to driving your business forward. The best option for you at this time is to work with your marketing team. You will discover that social media marketing and digital marketing are now dominating the customer relationship department.
This article should be very useful if you’re trying to boost your engagement and loyalty from clients with social media marketing. Our goal here is to give you several ideas on how to incorporate loyalty into your social media strategy.
Social Media and Customer Engagement and Loyalty
Globally, there were already 3.96 billion active social media users last year. It’s a significant figure compared to the 2.07 billion users last 2015. Its growth rate has reached 92.76 % in only five years.
And this economic change made it easy for this platform to dominate the digital industry in a snap. Businesses started seeing and taking advantage of its cost-effective methods of driving attention, interest, and curiosity over a brand.
Considering how convenient and straightforward this platform is, it’s not surprising at all. More than just a way to socialize, social media has become a way of life. With other emerging types of marketing, such as influencer marketing, it has taken over digital marketing.
But, are you utilizing your profiles according to their potential? This tool may be easy to use, but oftentimes, business owners miss a ton of features to make the most out of it. As a restaurant owner, you should have a solid marketing plan that can sustain and survive the competitive environment of social media.
It is because everyone saw the authority it holds over online marketing that’s why it easily becomes too crowded for everyone. Businesses of all types started jumping and posting their ads and promotional posts, making it harder for you to stand out.
There are many strategies at play to strengthen your marketing in social media. Knowing what to post, who to target, when to post, and how to post are important factors you should consider. Having a profile doesn’t count as presence, you have to generate engagement from your audience to establish your brand.
Consumers are more inclined to purchase a product that they saw on social media. This is especially if there’s an influencer or even just someone they know that’s using the said product. It’s just how it always goes, people trust people.
This is where your loyal customers can help you. They are the ones that could drive potential customers into your brand. And this is what appeals most to consumers since they know it’s genuine and authentic.
While restaurant social media marketing could be a bit trickier, if you have the right strategy, you will have no problem. Make sure you know your customers before you attempt to call their attention. So it’s wise to conduct market research before anything else.
Best Practices In Social Media For Your Restaurant
This pandemic should have taught you the importance of communication with your customers. They are more than just someone who buys food at your restaurant. They serve as your brand ambassadors for others as well.
With the restrictions implemented before, the challenge of driving a new set of customers has doubled. And now, while almost all restrictions were lifted, there’s the question of “will your past customers still try your restaurant out”?
Then there are social media. A technology that has become part of the daily lives of consumers, thus making it easier for you to communicate with them. Though it is still a good idea to have a variety of marketing tactics, once you know how to penetrate the market using this tool, there is no turning back.
Before we move the discussion further, here are some tips to follow to ensure a great improvement in your online marketing through social media.
Establish your campaign goal.
Mindlessly posting on your business profile is a mistake that you should stop doing. While it looks like a great idea to post as much content as you can, if it’s not meeting the right audience, then it’s just going to waste.
The algorithms of social media are also much smarter now. Your posts could be flagged as spam or even placed at the bottom of the customer’s timeline if you post without considering what your posts will do.
It is also a must that you know your goal when you’re trying to create content. Is it to generate awareness? Encourage loyalty? Or boost your sales? Although it’s not bad to aim to hit two birds with one stone, having a clear goal prevents you from making confusing content in the future.
It also helps you to stay aligned with your branding as well. Just make sure that you’ll be targeting the right audience and will post relevant content to secure better engagement from your target customer base.
Identify your target demographic.
As we’ve mentioned above, if you show the right content to the right audience, then it’s most likely to work for them. Just think of it, if you show your ads to a demographic that’s not located in your area (or covered delivery area), do you think that it will deliver the results you want?
The process of targeted marketing is not as complicated as it seems. It’s just a matter of identifying the right customers for your brand. If you’re in the restaurant business, then targeting couples would be best. Yes, social media targeting capabilities can be used to specifically target that.
Also, this type of marketing plus the use of social media increases the effectiveness of any campaign you publish. Consumers, especially if it’s coming from a platform that they already trust, will buy a product displayed on their timeline.
Select the platform that best suits your needs.
One social media myth that you should let go of is that you need to be present on all platforms available. If you think that through this method, you’ll gather more customers, then there’s a great chance that you still haven’t met your target engagement yet.
Yes, we figured it out because you’re using the wrong tactic in using those platforms. The only thing that will be increasing is the invoice coming from your social media manager. As a business owner, you should know that quality is always better than quantity.
Find the best platform for you by knowing where your target audience is present. If you see that they are using more of Twitter than Facebook, then consider creating more Twitter-friendly campaigns rather than bombarding your other platforms with content that will most likely get ignored.
Also, the more profiles you have means you have to monitor every single one of them. You’re also obliged to respond to all the inquiries coming. It’s not the most productive task to just monitor ten profiles at a time.
Utilize the right tools.
Right, some tools can enhance your brand’s performance on social media. These tools were developed to improve your productivity and the effectiveness of every campaign you launch on a specific platform.
It also helps you make a difference in your content development, content sharing, social media analytics, and management. These are the factors that you should keep an eye on to secure a stable growth rate for your campaigns.
Here’s a list of the most common tools that you should try out. No worries, some of them are free, and some of them offer free trials for you to see how it will perform on your operations. There’s no need to commit right away. Also, most of these tools are budget-friendly.
- Social media calendar. First, you should organize your content before you post it. A calendar can help you outline your content and determine which will be posted on a specific platform. You can also see how you need to accomplish something at any stage of your campaign.
- Scheduling apps. Remember when we told you that “when you post it” is important for your campaigns? Yes, timing is everything on social media. It is known that the best time to post on social media, generally, is 10:00 AM on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
Leading social media platforms have studied their analytics and they see the most activity during this hour. For Facebook, their users are at their peak between 8:00 AM till 10:00 AM on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Contrary to the belief that weekdays will always be the busiest time.
And it’s not like you can keep this time on your mind at all times. You’re an owner of one of the most demanding businesses there is. If you can’t still hire a manager for your profiles, then scheduling apps will be the best option for you.
It allows you to schedule the posting of your content to the time that has the best engagement for your brand. If you notice that your audience is more active past midnight, then schedule it that time.
This way, your customers will be seeing your campaigns or ads at the right time.
- Research tools. These are the tools that can help you monitor the progress of each content you’ve posted, and how well your campaigns are running. You can also see who is the one sharing your content for you.
- Social media management tool. This tool can be categorized into two, whether it’s a platform where you can do almost everything about your social media, or it’s a tool that allows you to manage all your profiles in a single channel. Either way, we think it’s still beneficial for you.
Evaluate the competition.
Having a bit of competition never fails to bring out the best in any business. If you have an idea of what’s going on with your competitors, then you can use that as your basis on what and what not to do.
They are your competitors for a reason. Either you’re serving the same customer base or you have the same concept, it means you have a common denominator that you can take into your advantage.
Be sure to learn from their mistakes and improve the things that worked for them. Staying one step ahead of them is always possible with this method.
Monitor and track your progress.
Never let go of your data and analytics. These are the figures that will help you see if you should continue going in the same direction or if there’s a need for changes in your strategy.
This means that you do not have to stop a campaign just to check its results. You can simply pull out an analysis report that can be used to optimize your existing and future campaigns.
Social Media Post Ideas To Increase Loyalty From Customers
You can build customer relationships in many ways – online forums, your website, email marketing, blogging, and so much more – but let’s focus on social media platforms as a way to do so.
You put a lot of effort into growing your following. Rather than wasting that audience on short-term sales, why not convert them and cultivate long-term relationships? Here are some social media ideas for restaurants to try out.
Reward and incentive-focused posts
No post could drive attention, engagement, and loyalty at the same time other than the one that offers them something that gives something of value. Giveaway posts plus contests can motivate your customers to keep coming back for more.
You can launch flash sales on your channel then ask your customers to leave a comment using your special hashtag, or tag a friend that should be following your channel too. It may be a little thing for them, but it will positively impact your campaign overall.
User-generated content posts
Showing potential customers posts from your customers improve the integrity of your brand. It cultivates loyalty among your community and attracts new customers as well. If a fellow consumer sees that someone enjoyed their experience with you, they’ll be enticed to try it out as well.
These kinds of posts are appealing to consumers because they show authenticity. It’s not a promotional ad from you, it is content from a customer who had such a great time that they decided to share it with others. Just make sure to ask them first before posting it on your channel to avoid conflict.
Your customers might be clueless on what are the present restrictions about indoor and social dining. Or maybe they would like to know what are the measures you’ve taken to ensure a safer and healthier dining experience for them.
There are many topics that you can discuss with your customers. Just look at the relevant topics in your industry that will capture their interest. Is there a new food trend? Are you trying to adopt it into your menu? Keeping your customers updated about your business is a smart way to make sure you have their attention and interest.
Allow them to know your business more. Make them understand the vision and mission you have as a restaurant. Show them that you’re not just doing it for the sake of income and that you genuinely want to build a connection with them.
Presenting them these behind-the-scenes posts enables them to search for more common ground about you and your brand. Once they have found one, it’ll be hard for them to stray away from your brand.
Let them see your heart as a business. Create a partnership or collaboration with a local charity or post about a movement that you sincerely support personally and as a business. Seeing how much you care for the community helps them connect with your brand stronger.
And it’s even better if the movement or charity you support is something that they do as well. The more common denominators they list with your business, the closer the relationship you can build.
Learning more about the people who serve them their food or provide them an excellent dining experience should drive your customers to engage more with your brand. Adding the human element in your posts makes them more relatable to your customers.
Of course, posts about your menu items are still a good idea to keep your customers coming back. Excite their taste buds by posting high-quality photos of your menu items. Strategically post it in a way that they’ll be missing out if they don’t try it now.
If you constantly post photos of the same quality, your customers will sort of be expecting a lot from you. Thus driving more engagement and the greater chance of your brand sticking to them.
Contents are constantly evolving and improving. To secure the loyalty you’re aiming for, make sure that your customer loyalty programs are presented creatively and interactively. Present it in such a way that you’re not just trying to drive online traffic on your social media page.
Think outside of the box. What fires up the curiosity of your target audience? Are they into witty-type of posts? Are they patronizing meme-able posts? Reach out to your audience through a poll or just post a simple question.
Aside from engagement, your customers will feel their value once you show them that you’re willing to talk and listen to their suggestions. Once you’ve delivered such service through your post, then you can be sure that they’ll favor your brand more than others.