Social Media Site Options
There’s no denying the power of social media when it comes to advertising and connecting with your customers, but with the digital landscape changing so quickly, it can be difficult to know which social media sites and apps would be most beneficial to your business. Below, we will break down the benefits and drawbacks of some of the major players in the social media world so you can decide which are best for your company’s social media marketing efforts.
An important aspect of Facebook is engaging your audience. The more comments, likes, and shares you gain, the more people will see your posts. Because of this, it is important to post content relevant to your customers and to be responsive; if your posts get no interaction, they will not show up in news feeds, even of those people who follow you. As the largest of the social media giants, Facebook’s demographic is wide-ranging, but the past few years have shown a slight shift toward older users. The users are 57 percent female and 43 percent male. One of Facebook’s biggest benefits is the ability to target specific demographics by age, gender, location, and interests, so you can use the site’s broad demographics to your advantage. Additionally, Facebook business pages have built-in analytics, so you can monitor customer engagement.
With 500 million active members, Instagram has fewer accounts than Facebook, but boasts much higher engagement rates than any other social media site. Users on Instagram are 2.5 times more likely to click on ads than those on other platforms, meaning it can be a lucrative advertising investment if used properly. This service has almost an exactly even number of males and females and is mostly used by young adults, with more than 90 percent of the user base under the age of 35.
Instagram should be of particular interest to restaurateurs, as the app’s food photography culture has become something of a phenomenon. This provides an opportunity for operators to not only add their own delicious photos, but to allow customers to do a lot of the work for them with appetizing images and location tags.
Twitter is another immensely popular social media site. This site, which is also available as a smartphone app, facilitates conversation between businesses and customers, which allows you to offer immediate and responsive customer service. Unfortunately, that can backfire if a customer’s complaint goes viral. Twitter’s age demographic is relatively young, with 37 percent of its users between 18 and 29 years old.
To market on Twitter, businesses must make use of hashtags to reach a wider audience than just their followers. The ideal marketing tweet is one that encourages customers to click through, generating traffic on your blog or website, but some companies also find success with running promotions on Twitter. The site also offers Website Cards, a pay-per-click ad format that allows you to target specific demographics or locations.
Google+ and YouTube
These two are grouped together because they are important for the same reason: both of these social media sites are owned by Google, and therefore receive priority in Google searches. While these sites are both technically social media, their biggest value is in search, not organic contact. Many businesses have Google+ pages generated automatically by virtue of having a Gmail account or one with another Google service, but unless you claim the business and work to improve the page, it can be very bare-bones. That’s unfortunate, considering it will likely be the first thing someone sees when they look up your restaurant on Google. That’s why you should use your Google+ page to communicate your restaurant’s basic information to the searching public: hours, location, and menu, and consider adding photos to draw in curious searchers.
If you decide to start a YouTube channel, have a clear purpose in mind. Whether you’re creating ads, funny videos to promote your restaurant, or using the site as a way to reach out to your community, having a clear vision is important before you ever start filming. Be aware that your viewers will judge you by the videos’ production values, which will be evident in the image quality, script, and how well-spoken your presenter is.
Pinterest, like Instagram, is an image-based social media service. Pinterest allows users to cultivate ‘boards’ on which they can ‘pin’ images that they like. However, these images link back to their source page, making it an invaluable marketing tool for restaurateurs who want to increase site traffic. Each pin has space for a caption, which you can use to describe the pin or an aspect of your business with keyword-rich language.
One of the biggest benefits to using Pinterest is that posts on the site tend to have a longer useful life than those on sites like Twitter or Facebook. Posts on Pinterest can be repinned continuously for months, while posts on other social media sites tend to die out quickly. Like other sites, Pinterest’s business analytics allow you to monitor which posts perform the best, so you can tailor them to generate the greatest number of click-throughs.
So Many Sites, So Little Time
If all this information seems overwhelming, don’t panic. While it is certainly beneficial to have your business represented on more than one social media site, you don’t need to spend hours each day making posts and updates. Services like Hootsuite streamline social media marketing by allowing business owners to post to multiple social media sites at once. This service also allows for collaboration with coworkers and offers analytics to see what your customers are responding to.