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Cheat sheet for your restaurant’s digital marketing

Let’s talk bluntly. Your digital marketing sucks. You’re trying, I know. But putting that burden on your general manager, bar manager, or floor manager is not fair to them. They’re trying and they’re damn good at running  your restaurant, but understanding people and the strategies necessary to appeal to them in the digital world are not their specialties.

So, let’s talk about the primary efforts that should be a part of your digital marketing plan. Wait, you don’t have a marketing plan? You’re just winging it? Shame on you. Okay, that’s another conversation that we’ll cover separately. Let’s get back to setting you up as a leader in the social world, and not a follower. Here’s how to hook those choice customers and get them into your restaurant.

Let’s get emotional. Any restaurant can put out amazing photos of their food. Any restaurant can put out beautiful photos of their dining room. But what we really need to do is play on our customers’ heart strings. Appeal to them. Punch them where it counts. Give them no other choice but to love you. Sell your atmosphere that is the most fun in the neighborhood. Sell your elite stature in the community. Sell your culture where the coolest kids hang out. Think more than just food–think emotion.

Own your space. If you’re a pizza joint, you need to be seen in the social world more than that other pizza shop in the village. If you’re an English Pub, you need to make more waves in the social communities than that burger joint around the corner. If you’re a fine dining restaurant, you need to brag on your atmosphere more than that piano restaurant down the boulevard. Don’t be shy and don’t be timid. I’m quite sure you’re not posting enough, so don’t be afraid that you’re over-saturating the market. People can’t get enough of great content. Be bold, and own your space.

Be active in your digital communities. Get out there on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. Be a good citizen by friending your customers, and liking and sharing their posts. Nothing makes a person feel closer to you emotionally (remember that emotional strategy?) than having you recognize their posts. Be a friend. Be authentic. Be a part of the community.

Be unique and special. Don’t follow the crowd. Be a leader. Experiment with new ideas. Express yourself. Push the envelope. You will get a tremendous amount of attention by being clever and edgy. Be smart and stick to your marketing plan, but put yourself out there and be known for it. Things that customers don’t normally see like ‘a behind the scenes look at food preparations with your line cooks’, ‘videos while shopping for fresh vegetables at the market’, ‘you raving about one of your customers’, and ‘a shot of the staff out in the community on a team-building event’ will all get that done for you.

There it is–your quick and dirty cheat sheet for your restaurant’s digital marketing. I have tons more ideas from years of successful experience in working with restaurants. Let me know if you want to hear more.

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