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Who Are Your Fans?

In the pre-internet days, it was pretty easy to figure out who your “fans” were.  All you had to do was spend a fair amount of time in your dining room, talk with your customers, and keep your eyes open, and you could get a good idea of who your most loyal diners were.  But, these days, when so many of your most important interactions as a restaurant owner happen online, it can be harder to keep active tabs on who your most loyal fans really are.  When you don’t have the luxury of seeing your fans in person every day, how can you have a good sense of how your “fans” really are, and how do you interact with them?  Why should you care?  Read on, and we will share our tips.

Why You Need To Know Your Online Fan Base

The reasons for learning as much about your loyal fans that show their support in person are self-evident.  The better that you know your regular diners, and the more you form relationships with them, the more likely they are to continue patronizing your business as loyal customers.  But, while the reasons aren’t quite as straightforward, it’s just as important to learn what you can about your most loyal fans on social media and the online sphere too.

When you know more about your loyal online fans, you can post more content relevant to their interests and speak to them in a tone that resonates with them.  The better you get at speaking to your loyal, online fans, and the more in tune you are with the kind of things they like to see posted, the better your social media pages and website will do.

Why? Every time someone interacts with your pages, the pages get a small visibility boost and are more likely to gain additional fans.  Every time one of your loyal Facebook fans sees a post and “likes” it, it’s possible for their friends to see their interaction, and potentially become fans as well.  Every time one of your loyal Twitter followers “retweets” one of your posts, your reach gets massively expanded.  The better you are at talking to your regular online fans, and the better you are at sharing content they actually care about, the more reach you will see online.

Using Social Media to Learn About Your Online Fan Base

Your loyal customers in person are those who eat at your restaurant often, but your loyal fans online are the people who most often “like,” share, and comment upon your posts.  And you can use the built-in networking functions of social media to learn more about these loyal fans, and gauge a bit about what they may like to see you share.

Every time someone “likes” one of your posts on Facebook, you can feel free to click on their profile and quickly learn more about them in their “about me” area of their profile.  Don’t feel intrusive: Facebook has privacy settings to make it easy for people to hide information they don’t want others to see, so anything that you can access easily is fair game.  Do the same thing on Twitter, by clicking on users who “favorite” or “retweet” your posts.

From there, make notes about the demographics and interests of your most loyal fans.  You can make mental notes, by taking a count of how many of your fans are young or how many seem to be in your area.  Or you can get more systematic, and set up a spreadsheet with as many variables as you want to tease out of your population of online fans.

Experiment, Document, Repeat.

One of the most important things you can do in general in the world of Social Media marketing is to experiment, and getting to know your fans is no exception.  Once you’ve made some notes about your most loyal online fans, take a crack at specifically targeting sections of them with the content you share.

If you have had a post that’s very popular, share something similar, and see how many of your “loyal fans” interact with your second post.  Keep notes on what is working and what isn’t, and keep experimenting with different types of content and posts to see what your loyal fans respond to the most.  Keep tinkering, and documenting your results, and you will quickly be able to see correlations and learn more about who your fans are.

Hard Work, Big Pay Off

Like all elements of Social Media Marketing, the more time you put into learning about your fans online, the better the payoff will be.  It can be hard work to keep track of who your loyal fans are, and what their interests are and what kind of material they like to see.  But the more you learn about your fan base and put that knowledge into practice, the more successful your social media profiles and online marketing will be.