Any restaurant owner knows that building an online presence is one of the most frustrating parts of owning a business. But, make no mistake about it: your restaurant’s online presence is one of its most important features.
Most consumers in the 21st century are discovering new places to eat online, according to a survey by Toast. Moreover, consumers are using online resources to order food, either from restaurants themselves or from third-party vendors. Consumers are increasingly likely to leave restaurant reviews online, which can influence your ability to attract new customers.
So how can a busy restaurant owner grow their online presence without sacrificing their other daily duties? Here are a few simple tips that will help you become an online staple.
Make Sure Your Website is Mobile Friendly
How many times have you landed on a website from your phone only to find that it is impossible to search? Chances are you closed that website almost immediately after and probably have not returned to it since.
Many restaurant owners overlook the need to update their website. If you are one of those owners, pull out your phone and search your website. Is it easy to navigate? Does it look the same as if you searched it on a desktop? If you answered no to either of those questions, it’s time to upgrade.
Leverage Social Media
A big part of improving your online presence is utilizing the right social media channels that help you achieve your goals. For example, if you want your business to sell more merchandise, you should use Etsy or Pinterest. If you want to brand your business as a thought leader in the industry, it may be best to use LinkedIn more than Facebook or Twitter.
In order to make your social media accounts useful when growing your online presence, you need to post fresh content regularly. It’s relatively easy to create hype around a restaurant page. People love to eat out and love exclusive deals. Encourage your customers to take selfies or pictures of their food and tag your page when they post it. This will help deliver content about your business to a wider audience.
Be Social and Engaging
Simply posting content and having customers tag you is not enough. You need to engage with your customers and respond to posts that mention your business. Don’t overdo it though. You don’t need to defend your honor every time someone mentions you in a negative light. But, you should respond to negative reviews so that potential customers can understand both sides of the disagreement. Remember: your goal is to be social, not to engage in online vitriol.
Every business owner knows that the most successful businesses are the ones who build solid relationships. So how does that work online?
Join social media groups that promote your business. For example, if you own a pizza restaurant, join a local group that talks about the best pizza places in town. But, don’t limit yourself to customer acquisition. Be sure to join groups of other business owners as well. Look to them for ideas to solve problems in your business, or leverage those relationships for networking purposes. Doing so will take your business to greater heights than you can on your own, guaranteed.