Social media marketing is all the rage for good reason: if you use sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram right, you can connect with potential customers, and up the profit margins at your restaurant when those social media fans become real paying diners and walk through your door. But for too many small business owners, social media marketing stops with those big three social network platforms, and no other social media opportunities are pursued. The web is full of social media sites that all have some potential to market your restaurant, with new and growing sites and old standbys alike providing you more options than just Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can offer. Here are three social network based sites that you probably aren’t using for your restaurant, but should be.
For years now, Youtube has ranked as one of the most popular websites in the world, with a huge user base and a very devoted community. And the video platform is good for a lot more than viral cat clips and watching music videos from your favorite artists. “DIY” videos, instructional videos, and videos exploring different niches and interests can become very popular on Youtube if they are done well. And, if you use Youtube pro-actively to connect with other Youtubers and build a following, the world’s biggest video sharing platform can function well as one of the largest social networks, too.
To start using Youtube for your restaurant, you don’t necessarily need to have a video camera or be a professional video producer. Just make an account with Youtube’s parent company, Google, and start commenting on other people’s videos in your niche area. Use Youtube to learn new things, share your own knowledge through comments, and build community by interacting with others. When you do, more and more Youtubers will end up landing on your page, where you can include links to your site and other social media sites. Youtube has an incredibly tight knit community, so interacting with others and commenting frequently will not go unnoticed, and your restaurant will gain exposure in the process.
In a few years, Pinterest will probably be used just as often as Twitter and Instagram, as the social site is growing quickly and has a very devoted user base. Pinterest has a bit of a learning curve, but once you get used to using boards to “pin” topics and start exploring the potential in the site, you’ll discover a powerful tool that you can utilize to promote your restaurant in a very unique way that differs from Facebook and Twitter a whole lot.
On Pinterest, food is one of the most popular topics for people to “pin” about, so if you have some good pictures of your dishes and use hashtags and boards in a smart way to share your content, you can expect to gain followers for your restaurant quickly. And with Pinterest, the followers you gain will be devoted to learning more about your food and story, and will tune in to your “boards” to get as much info as they can. For a lot more info on using Pinterest, check out our dedicated guide. Just know that Pinterest is going to keep growing quickly, and the faster you get on board, the more your restaurant can benefit from the burgeoning social network.
3. Google Plus
Originally, Google hoped to position it’s “G+” social platform as a direct competitor with Facebook, but the role the media giant’s social media experiment plays in the current landscape is a lot different and offers some unique promotional opportunities for your restaurant. G+ really excels as a peer to peer network that allows you to connect with other restaurant owners and industry leaders, and learn from their successes and failures. By joining with other restaurateurs, you have the opportunity to partake in a powerful community that can help your business find success.
Plus, if you contribute to conversations and share your expertise, you will gain some valuable exposure for your restaurant as your image of expertise and authority grows. As you make connections and join circles, Google Plus becomes more and more flexible of a tool, and it can be used for sharing material like you might use your Facebook page. The mechanics, pros, and cons of Google Plus are different than Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, but use it right and the primary benefits are the same: you’ll gain exposure and fans for your business, which can turn into paying customers.
Overall, use the list of social networks above to start expanding your social media marketing efforts. But don’t stop there. Explore and look for other social media sites and platforms that cater to your business’s strengths, and keep finding new places where you can spread word about your work and story. Just don’t stick to strictly Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, or you’ll be missing out.
Rafi Cohen, a graduate of Baruch College & Brooklyn native is the Co-Founder @ Orders2me, an online ordering platform that gives restaurant owners all the features they need to grow their business in the digital age.
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