Error 404 : Restaurant not Found – How to put your restaurant on the virtual map

Imagine this, you are craving some delicious food and you wish to try something new but you don’t know what. What do you do? You take the plunge and google “Best Ottawa restaurants”. Your results are a couple of lists by Tripadvisor, a couple of results on Google and maybe one or two restaurants from an article in Narcity from two years ago. You start to desperately go through the different posts trying to find the restaurant that’s going to change your life. On the top 3 you find a restaurant that looks delicious, you click to go to their website…. Oops broken link.  You try instagram next, a couple of posts but no location, no menu… are you even in the right correct profile? Last try… Facebook … a post here and there, you find a menu in an old photo. You decide it is not worth it, you are not even sure if the restaurant is open. You continue your search, you try the next restaurant on the list. It has a link to their website and surprise! you have a menu, a link to order and a location! Perfect! You have found your restaurant!

Photo by Roman Odintsov from Pexels

Your potential customers go through this more often than you think and yet the importance of online presence and social media is still sub estimated by the restaurant industry. However, right now, not having a social media presence is the equivalent of your restaurant sign being a piece of paper, glued to the window that says “Restaurant Here”. Worry not, having a social media presence and being active in it is not as difficult as it seems. Additionally, you will discover, these few actions open the doors to new amazing marketing opportunities that will bring even more attention to your restaurant.

Step 1: Getting the restaurant on the literal map

Your restaurant needs to be findable, especially right now, when most of the orders are taking place online. There is nothing more discouraging for a hungry client than to go through google, facebook, instagram, yelp, tripadvisor just to get an idea or a partial view at your menu. You need to be findable in every single platform where your customer may look for you. All these profiles need to be complete and have the most up to date information. Additionally,  your menu, your location and your opening hours need to be accessible from every platform. All these details are essential to ensure that when your potential customer Googles you, they don’t fall into a virtual cul-de-sac, trying to find your menu.

Step 2: Putting up your virtual sign

Photo by Kaique Rocha from Pexels

Your potential hungry customer can now find your restaurant but how do we get their attention? The best way is to post consistently on your different platforms and have content that is engaging for your followers. However, as there is a  limited number of ways you can photograph your menu so you will need to get creative! There are two trends that will not only give you content for days but will also take away some of the pressure of posting: First, your customers will often share creative, authentic and imaginative content of your food and your restaurant. After asking for their permission,  you will also be able to use this content for your platforms either to repost or as story posts. Secondly, another trend gaining traction in the world of restaurants is sharing behind the scenes, how-to content that puts the spotlight on you and your customers. These steps give authenticity to your social media pages and give you a steady amount of content to keep you up to date.

Step 3: What’s next?

How do you take your restaurant to the next level? How do you collaborate with other providers and restaurants  in a moment in time where customers are not able to visit you and food fests are on indeterminate hold? This can be done through the use of special events and collaborations promoted within social media. A great example of this is  Little Jo Berry’s  whom throughout the summer has made special pop-up events and collaborations with other popular restaurants and vendors. This has given additional marketable opportunities for both the restaurant and the vendor. They are also able to keep their followers interest as they are always looking towards the “Next Event”.

Instagram post of Oat and Mill that collaborates with Little Jo Berry’s for a pop-up event

Another great example of collaboration within Ottawa comes from Suzy Qs and Sula Wok, who joined forces earlier this summer to provide access to their delicious baked goods in a larger geographical area. This has continued through the summer with both restaurants consistently sharing social media posts about this special collaboration. 

What’s your favourite local restaurant? What dish would you recommend from there?

Having a struggle on how to put your restaurant out there? Check my blog for some tips

Put your restaurant on the #virtualmap ! Check my latest blog


Ready to fail? the guidelines for posting on social media

You are ready to start your business, maybe as a second source of income or maybe you want to follow your entrepreneurial dream. You are almost ready, the only thing missing is to set up your social media accounts. You start researching:

  • What Social Media platforms should I set up for my business?
  • What content should I post?
  • How often should I post content?…

When you get to this question, your hands get sweaty, you feel tightness in your chest. Everything you have read up to this point about social media stresses the importance of your consistent presence in your different platforms. However, now you are supposed to get the time and resources to post 1 time per day on Instagram and Facebook and up to 15 times per day on Twitter ? On top of this you are supposed to generate unique and high quality content? This seems impossible! How are you possibly going to have the time to do all this AND actually develop your product?

Photo by Ola Dapo on Pexels

Don’t get discouraged, these guidelines are almost impossible to follow and the information and algorithms change so often the last thing you should worry about is how often you are posting. Concentrate in the quality and consistency of the content.

The fault in the guidelines

61% of people with a side business have a full time job. When you take into account that the side business usually represents around 10-15 hours of extra work for week. How many hours will you spend in your business simply following an unrealistic social media plan? Are you really supposed to post around 119 times per week (1 time per day for instagram and Facebook and 15 times per day for twitter). Will you have any time to actually develop your product? Are we looking at 95 hour work weeks? How you ensure your content remains of high quality? 

The actual problem with these guidelines is that you are supposed to uber customize your social media plan depending on your product. However, here, a generalized statistic is supposed to apply to all types of business and of all sizes? If my company had a full time social media coordinator, these benchmarks don’t seem so unobtainable. Nevertheless, in a small company, having the resources to invest on a full time employee just with the purpose of social media management seems unlikely. The job falls on the 2 or 3 founding members and creating an unrealistic plan with hundreds of posts per week just seems almost impossible. Even if the best of cases, how long will you be able to stick with this posting plan? Committing to this type of schedule represents an unnecessary risk, as in reality, consistency and quality of posting are valued higher than frequency.

Photo by Omkar Patyane on Pexels

The answer is… elementary

When creating a posting strategy, the key is consistency forget the optimal numbers and concentrate on the minimum amount of posts recommended by these blogs. If you concentrate on the low or bare minimum recommendations, the numbers already go down from 119 posts per week to less than 10 (when taking Instagram, Facebook and twitter as key platforms).  This is more realistic for a small business and it will be easier to post consistently. As your business grows you can reconsider a social media plan revision, to increase the number of consistent postings per week.

Another thing that you should consider is concentrating your efforts in your key platforms, if your business is highly visual, why should you concentrate your efforts on a platform like twitter?. If you own a financial consulting business, will you even find something to pin on Pinterest? If your product is targeted to teenagers and young adults, is sharing on Linked in essential for your business? Consider this, and concentrate your social media efforts in the most used platforms for your key audience.

Finally, always be on the lookout for changes in the algorithms of your key social media platforms. These can change from one second to another and completely turn around your social media strategy, like in 2016 when instagram stopped presenting your feed in chronological order. Look for posts with the most up to date information, social media platforms are in constant flux. For this reason, following the content advice of a 5 year old article that includes platforms such as Google+, that no longer exists, becomes pointless for your social media strategy.

Have you ever felt overwhelmed when trying to look for the best social media practices? What do you feel when you search for something on social media and you find conflicted information about it?

Overwhelmed by the social media guidelines? Check out my latest blog!

Stressed out by the social media #guidelines ? This is why you shouldn’t let them rule your life


Tick Tock! Time to create your TikTok business account

TikTok is the latest and trendiest platform among teenagers and young adults. It has been portrayed as a difficult to use, “only for youth” platform by the older generations. However, this also was the case, once upon a time, for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and these platforms are now considered an essential part of the marketing strategy of all businesses. It is now the time to be an early adopter of TikTok for your business and join companies like Chipotle and Nike in this platform, as it offers some unique opportunities for marketing for small businesses in great part thanks to its very specialized algorithms. Furthermore, the content that is many times seen as “impossible to create” has the tools available, all within the app to create great pieces of content and the precise set of “trends” that all businesses can take advantage of to increase their business reach.

The NOT only for youth tool

Imagine if there was a tool where your posts have the same chance of being seen as the ones from Starbucks, Nike and Apple. Imagine a social media company that offers an algorithm to choose what to show their users that is so advanced that it would be able to identify the public you want to reach and gives you insightful information about who you are reaching. This is what TikTok can be as a marketing tool.

TikTok also offers a great set of marketing tools especially designed with businesses in mind like in depth analytics and TikTok ads. Additionally, the algorithm does not prioritize videos from accounts with huge followings, this means that the video for your small business is in a similar playing field as other accounts with bigger followings

It is NOT difficult to create content and engagement

For the untrained eye, the editing on the trendy videos looks fancy, difficult and definitely not something that can be learned in a short time. Why spend hours upon hours generating one video when you can take a good instagram picture for content in only a couple of minutes? Or a short story? In reality, the available TikTok editing tools allow you to learn how to use the platform in no time and you will be using these tools to post your rapidly generated content just as fast.

But… How to find what type of content and how can I generate engagement with it? The answer once more is simpler than the user that is not familiar with the platform may think. Within TikTok it is very easy to find the different trending topics and videos by keeping an eye out for trending hashtags, which you can later use to create your own content. There are also different features that can be used as a marketing strategy to generate engagement including Duets (collaboration like videos) and Hashtag Challenges which you can use in combination with your TikTok ads to increase your reach even further!

TikTok discover section shows you what hashtag are trending and right beside how many people have used the hashtag

TikTok right now is seen by many as the platform for the youngsters with content that is difficult to create, when in reality it offers some amazing and unique opportunities for marketing that are not available in the most used business platforms. The very specialized and personalized algorithm, the presence of ad opportunities and the knowledge that a video from a small company has the same chances of being seen as one of the big names are just some of the few reasons why this platform should make part of your marketing strategy. It is time to take a chance on this platform! You will realize that thanks to their fantastic and intuitive editing tools, easy to find trending topics for content and features like the duets or the hashtag challenges can take your brand to a whole new level.

Have you considered tiktok as a marketing tool for your brand/bussiness?What do you think is the biggest challenge for tiktok to reach mainstream use as marketing tool?

The importance of TikTok for your business/brand! Don’t miss out this great marketing platform!

The clock is ticking!! Why Tiktok is so important for your social media #marketing ?


Bye Bye Copycats! Why engaging with your customers in social media is essential for your business

After 3 weeks of confinement, I started to look for new hobbies. Something that had always been interesting to me had been the “Paint by Numbers” that you can colour with oil and acrylic paint. Hence the search for a reputable company started. Sharing my frustrations online, one of my friends came to my aid! “Try this one”, he said. I immediately went through the different social media accounts from the company and what I found was so discouraging! Their presence was weak! Various reviews/comments even mentioned how they had been scammed by that company. However, their responses clarified a key point: They weren’t the scammers!! It was a copycat with a similar name!

I took the plunge, just out of the recommendation from my friend. A couple of days later, I sent them a message on social media about an update to the shipment and I was left on  “Seen”. Yet, when it arrived I was so surprised with their product! Great quality, presentation and it arrived fast. Just for a visual this is the comparison between the ones I received from them and another one I received from another company:

(Left) Company recommended by my friend with discouraging social media presence. (Right) Company with very active social media presence.

This got me thinking, why was I so hesitant in buying from them? How did the negative social media experience influence my decision to purchase from them and almost made them lose a potential customer? The answer came fairly easy! They were failing HARD with engagement in their social media posts! Just by using their social media as the first level of customer support and using their customers to promote their product they could increase their brand recognition and stop those sneaky copycats from ruining their reputation!

Using social media as your first level customer support!

According to Facebook Insights 76% of customers contact business through social media for customer support. Imagine how your potential customer is affected by being left on “seen” or when you take multiple business days to get back to them. They are going to think you are “ghosting” them! 

When I messaged the Paint by numbers company and they left me in “seen”, I felt that maybe those reviews and comments about being a scam were true. That maybe I had lost some money on them or that maybe my friend had given me the wrong name.

This is why it is so important to have a speedy, timely and accurate response to all the comments, reviews or direct messages that are sent by your customers . This increases the trust your customers have on your brand, the loyalty towards it and they may even return the engagement by sharing your products in their feeds! Generating even more customers for you!

Your customers, the perfect marketing tool

Did you know that sharing your users’ content about your products on social media helps you build credibility for your brand . This type of content is called “User generated content” and it’s a great marketing tool to use through all your social media platforms! This content can also become a key tool to diversify your social media posts and an easy tool to make sure you always have something to post. 

With the company for the Paint by Numbers, one of the most discouraging things I saw when I was researching them was the 8 total instagram posts they had made in over two years on the platform. On top of that, their last post was in October 2019! With the stay at home restriction in place and activities such as puzzles getting an increased interest by the public. This was an incredible opportunity for the paint by numbers company to awaken their social media platforms by using the content that their customers were already sharing online of their posts!

Over 160K post have been shared with the hashtag of #paintbynumbers

Using this type of content is, per consequence,  a great tool to increase credibility, your brand recognition, keep the engaging conversations with your customers going, generating content for your social media platforms and a great way to stretch your marketing budget!

I almost lost out on a great product due to a disappointing customer experience through social media. However,  by engaging with your customers, using creative self promotion tools and using your social media channels as a customer service resource. You can increase your brand recognition, audience and customer loyalty and prevent copycats from ruining your brand’s reputation!  

Have you ever had trouble verifying if a company was legit after going through their social media? How did this experience affect your interactions with the company?

Have you ever wondered if engaging with your customers in social media is worth it for your business? Let me share with you my personal experience

Don’t let copycats ruin the image of your business!! Why engaging with your customers on #socialmedia is essential for your business