By Whitney Sanchez
There are more resources than ever before for marketing your restaurant online. Here’s a list of the top seven sources of online restaurant marketing available right now, including popular social media and review platforms.
1. FacebookFacebook is one of the most popular social media platforms. Most of your customers and plenty of potential customers are already using this site. To use Facebook to market your restaurant, create a business page with your restaurant's address, menu and a link to its website. You can even connect your Facebook page to services like OpenTable, which lets customers make restaurant reservations through Facebook.
2. Google+Though Google+ is not as popular, it is still vital to create a Google+ page for your small business. Creating a Google+ page increases your page’s SEO and search traffic volume. It also populates your location on Google Maps, which is essential for attracting business when people use the “Search Nearby” function of Maps.
3. TwitterUsing this platform is a great way to spread the news about deals and upcoming events. Since you are limited to only 140 characters, it is a good idea to include images and shortened links to your website or menu. Make sure to use appropriate hashtags with your tweets and to time your tweets well. For example, around 10:30 a.m. is the perfect time to send a tweet about a lunch special to your followers.
4. YelpYelp is a popular third-party review platform. Users on the site can post independent reviews about restaurants they have visited. Yelp reviews can have a huge impact on who visits your establishment. When you claim or create your Yelp page, make sure to add your company’s vital information such as hours of operation, contact information and an updated picture of your menu.
Make sure to monitor customers’ reviews of your restaurant. Thank users who post positive reviews and address the concerns of users who post negative reviews.
5. InstagramHashtags and crystal-clear pictures are what is going to get your business noticed on Instagram. When you create your posts on Instagram, make sure that your photo is intriguing and relevant; a picture of your daily special is a good place to start. Other areas of interest to include are your employees and your location.
Once you have the perfect picture, you need to select the correct hashtags. Use a mix of trending hashtags (which will change on a daily basis) and niche hashtags, like #foodlovers, that are constantly in use on the social media platform.
6. GrouponThis platform’s broad reach helps new customers find your restaurant and purchase coupons. There are pros and cons to using this platform. One pro is that it brings in new customers to your restaurant. A con, however, is that you will be lucky to break even on their first visit. Since Groupon is known for offering discounts of 50% or higher, it might actually cost your business money to promote on the platform, but if you can convert new customers to returning customers, it is well worth the investment.
7. Personal Website and BlogThe most important part of your online marketing strategy is your restaurant’s website and blog. Frequently update your blog to generate SEO and traffic. When you design your website, make sure that it is easy to navigate.
Visitors to your website should be able to find your restaurant’s information and even be able to create a reservation directly from your website. Make sure to link your website to your other online marketing channels so customers can visit and like your pages.
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