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!
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
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”.
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?
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