Marketing Tips

Creating Your Own Voice On Social Media

Developing a unique personality in a huge digital world can come across as a daunting task, we know – but once you create your own voice and decide what message you need to communicate to your followers, the ability to stay on a schedule rich with content tends to get easier the more you practice.

Here are some tips to start developing your distinct (and effective) digital voice:

1. Know the answer to the question: “Who are you?”

That should be simple enough to figure out right? After all, it’s your business — and all you have to do to begin your marketing efforts is let your social media followers know exactly who you are, what your business model is, what you have going on, and how you plan to (ultimately) get them through your door… Sure, piece of cake! (gulp)

OK, maybe it’s a little more complicated than it seems.

First things first – establish a personality for your business, and stay true to yourself. This may be the most important aspect of marketing your business.

Are you an upscale dining establishment that offers fine wine and a pricey cuisine? Then perhaps using a humor tactic may not fit the vibe you’re going for. Instead you may want to focus on sharing beautiful photos of your food accompanied with wine pairing suggestions, or run specials to attract visitors that may not typically gravitate towards a business like yours.

Are you a fast-paced deli or pizzeria catering to those on-the-go with little time to spare? Perhaps scheduling out daily tweets or Facebook posts before the busy rush will provide those ‘time-starved’ patrons a quick glimpse of what to order when they come in.

Start by writing a list containing the main components of your business. What type of food or service do you provide? Who are your customers? When are you the busiest? How do you fall on average compared to your competitors in regards to price point?

For Example:

  • Food/Drink Served: Italian, Wine, Brick Oven Pizza, Espresso drinks
  • Customer demographic: Men & Women ages 30-50
  • Busy Hours: 8am- 9am, 11am-2pm, M-F
  • Price point: Moderate

When you first start thinking about customizing your digital voice, follow this procedure and it will help you identify who you are and who your customer is. From here, you will tailor how you deliver the message and when you need to speak to your online audience.

2. What are your goals?

We all set goals – in all facets of life. But especially when it comes to your business, make them realistic. Start small then get more aggressive from there as to not get overwhelmed as you begin — but know definitively what your goals are, and keep working at them. Your overall long term goals may include a plan for your digital marketing efforts to save you money while bringing new customers in your door, ultimately allowing you to have more free time away from your business.

When it comes to setting goals for marketing your business digitally, one thing to always remember is that results seldom happen overnight, for many reasons, so patience is key. But how can you be patient and still set accurate and aggressive goals for yourself?

Start by creating a timeline. Perhaps in the first 3-6 or even 12 months, you work hard at building your social media audience. Begin defining your audience by finding out who is looking for you, acting as a consumer yourself. Begin following businesses like yours, take notes of what your competitors may be doing, and stay true to your business “motto” and the overall feel of how you want your business portrayed. You will slowly and steadily begin to gain followers to share your message with.

Next, decide how you plan to share information with your audience and begin to delegate that responsibility. Is managing your social media or digital marketing efforts too difficult or time consuming? Decide whether you need the help of someone else to post on social media for you, or to send out email campaigns to keep your followers in the loop and wanting more.

Marketing your business takes time, and you want to make sure to provide an accurate and consistent message, and to not overwhelm them. Which brings us to our third tip.

 3. Consistency is Key!

Above all, you never want to confuse your Social Media followers. Revisit the answer to “Who are you?” every time you post on social media or respond to a review – and continue that theme throughout all of your marketing efforts.

Use repeated and thoughtful hashtags to begin showing up in online searches pertaining to your business category. Make a schedule of when you would like to post on your social media sites, send out email campaigns, and stay on top of reviews left about your business and make sure to respond to each one.

Sporadic activity and engagement will not only cause you to get lost in the shuffle, but lose effectiveness of your content and disengage your followers awaiting to hear from you. Keep in mind however, that there is a such thing as TOO much activity. A little mystery, leaving your followers and customers wanting more, will typically result in more excitement when you share some news, a new promotion, or spread the word about an upcoming event.

It will be a bit of trial and error while analyzing what your audience likes, but that is all part of growing your social media following, reaching your goals, and creating that unique and profitable voice to fit with your business in the digital world we live in.

Marketing Tips

How To Handle A Negative Restaurant Review

Online reviews can make or break your business—which is why it is very important to respond appropriately whenever you receive one! With 92% of consumers reporting that they read online reviews, making sure that you know how to handle the situation when things turn sour is extremely important. Here are three tips to help guide you through dealing with a bad review.

1. Leave emotion out of your response

Let’s face it, your business means everything to you. It’s hard to keep cool when something you work so hard for is under attack. When you’re notified that someone has left you a 1-star review, your gut reaction is to retaliate and respond to put the negativity to rest – but be careful! A negative review may be completely out of left field, or at times justified (we can’t be perfect ALL the time) but the most crucial thing to remember, is that it’s important to be the bigger person in these situations. Just because someone else lost their cool does not mean that you should.

Additionally, you have more at stake here than they do. While a reviewer may be “untouchable” or anonymous online, you have to think about the public image of your business. How you handle a bad review can be a reflection to online readers of how you value customer service. So take a deep breath and try to not let this get under your skin.

Once you have your emotions settled, now it’s time to get down to responding to your review.

2. Admit if a mistake was made and defend your reputation

Nobody is perfect, nor does every night run smoothly at your restaurant. Unfortunately, after a stressful shift, someone pointing out that it was a rough night by leaving a bad review can be aggravating. But once you have your emotions in-check, it’s time to seriously consider what they have to say. Is there some truth to their critique?

When responding to negative reviews, we often find that being transparent and admitting fault when there was one, isn’t a bad thing. Customers really appreciate the honesty—and by apologizing and promising a better experience the next time, you reinforce that you do care about your customers and you’re willing to work on things to make amends.

That is not to say that you should ever let your customers dictate how you run your business. If what was left in the review is unsubstantiated or untrue (it happens sometimes), it’s very important to stand up for yourself—while also being polite. Address their concern, reinforce the high quality and standards that you set for your business, and offer advice for the future— such as the option to speak to a manager if one feels that their needs are not being serviced properly at the time of their visit.

3. Do not wait to respond to a negative review

Although we do suggest to let your emotions cool off before responding to a negative review, it is very important that you do not wait too long before responding. Addressing a customer’s concern sooner rather than later is not only appreciated by the person who left the review, but since everything is public on the internet, it is noticed by potential customers looking to try your business. Responding promptly, politely, and reasonably when faced with a negative review, shows that you care about your customers and are willing to do whatever you can to solve the issue and set the record straight.

In our experience it is best to reply to reviews within 48-72 hours of them being published. Timeliness is important not just for addressing concerns, but to better protect your business from the potential backlash that a bad review might generate. It’s about being proactive and showing that you care. This is something that all great businesses do, but with the rise in traffic to review sites, maintaining your online reputation is more important now than ever.

Remember – Responding to online reviews means that you care! 

Responding quickly and appropriately to your online reviews is one of the most important things that you can do to protect your business’ online reputation. While it is time consuming, the effort is never wasted as reviews can continue working for (or against) your business for months and years to come.

If you don’t have time to respond to all your reviews, or it just seems too confusing to manage keeping up with them, no need to worry —  We have a variety of options to work with any budget, and fulfill any of your business’ needs!

Marketing Tips, Restaurant Stories

6 Marketing Tips To Attract New Customers

Marketing your business in 2016 is a mix between products, technology and customer engagement.  Having a restaurant before the era of review sites and social media wasn’t as complicated; you went off of word of mouth and cost.  However, times are changing and the demand for a heightened quality of food, efficiency, and dining experience is what really counts.  Not only does it count but now people can write reviews and spread word about your establishment via the internet.

Don’t get stuck between a rock and a hard place by not managing your online reputation and not advancing with the times.  Get ahead of the curve and use Gen Z’s increased sense of engagement via technology to your advantage.  Offer more promotions, coupons and even incentives for people who tag themselves at your business or post a positive review about you on social media.  Make sure all of your listing information is cohesive throughout the internet to avoid wrong phone numbers, hours of operation, or address.  Any wrong information provided about you can deter customers from trying you and going to a new place.  Here are 6 Marketing Trends to Help Attract New and Old Business in 2015.

1 . Dining ‘Farm-to-Fork’

A very popular trend that is emerging is the Farm-to-Fork (or Farm-to-Table) movement.  This is a community food system in which food is produced, processed, distributed, and consumed all within a local community.  Many people are turning to a more natural diet with less processed and more organic meats, fruits and vegetables.  This allows people to eat fresher food while helping out to enhance environmental, economic, social and nutritional health within the area.

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2.  Moving to Gen Z

Millennials are also known as the ‘Demand Generation’ which is based on instantaneous gratification.  While this demand will continue, restaurateurs are going to have another issue on their hands.  The next generation known as ‘Gen Z’ are the early adopters, the brand influencers, the social media drivers, the pop-culture leaders, and are the most connected, educated and sophisticated generation ever.  With this generation up-and-coming, restaurateurs are going to need to please this crowd with high-tech service, electronic menus, a heightened level of dining experience and more unique/creative menu offerings.

3.  Expanding Technology

As technology spreads its wings we encourage restaurants to keep up with the changing times.  Instances like below are definitely a step in the right direction:
·         Accepting mobile payments.
·         Providing a tablet to join your mailing list.
·         Presenting menus on tablets.
·         Allowing customer to electronically place their orders on the table.

While Gen Z still requires a high level of demand, they are all about efficiency.  Think about it, allowing people to view and place their order on a tablet provides less room for human error.  Customers can no longer say that the waitress ‘messed up their order’ or claim that they were charged for more than what they had ordered.  Offering mobile payments allows less running around for a waitress so they can attend to more tables which allows you to use less staff.
As with anything new, this trend will be continuously changing and evolving.  Making sure you do your homework and brush up on newer ways to attract customers will help you out in the future.

4.  Designing Shareable Plates

Customers were very intrigued with ‘family-style’ dining in the year of 2014.  This trend does show it is still high rising and will last throughout 2015 and into 2016.  Providing the option to purchase the family-style portion for only a couple dollars more will seem like the right way to go when you have a party of 2 or more.  Customers like to see more ‘bang for their buck’.

Not comfortable with changing around your whole entire menu on a theory?  We suggest creating a ‘Shareable Plates’ section on your menu to see if this is something more and more customers order off of.  Testing its success is a great way to tell if it is something you should implement on your whole menu.

RBK Porky.jpg

5.  Creativity with Your Beverage List

Gen Z and Millennials all love to try new things and if you serve alcohol you want to capitalize on this trend in 2015.  These generations have a more extensive palette when it comes to food and drinks.  Providing shareable punches and a more extensive collection of flavored whiskey, vodka and rum will help you out with creating new and exciting drinks for them to try.

Don’t have alcohol?  That is fine!  Try bringing in some herbal teas, coconut water or any other mixed non-alcoholic beverages you might find interesting.  These people are on a quest for something new and being that they are brand managers it will most certainly be helpful to appease them.

6.  Menu Items for People with Allergies

Did you know that between 1997 and 2011 there was a 50% increase of children with food allergies?  Now you ask yourself; Why do I need to do this?  Answer is very simple, when customers are deciding to go out usually the person who picks the place they are going to will be the one with a food allergy.  This is to ensure that person will have a good time dining out as well.

We know providing a safe-haven for people with food allergies is a big burden and requires strict preparation techniques. However, once you become fluent on all processes you will attract new and old customers who stopped or wouldn’t come to your establishment due to their restrictions.  Make sure you advertise the menu to ensure people know that they should come and try you as well.

Have other trends that you foresee becoming big it 2016-2017?  Share them below!