I speak to independent restaurant owners on a daily basis and I am surprised to find that many are not utilizing both email and social media marketing. Most restaurant owners understand the importance of each of these, but they often favor one over the other, thinking that their audience is found in only one place. But in 2015 you can’t master online marketing unless you touch both channels. To reach your largest possible audience, you have to go where the guests are. In fact, when speaking to restaurant operators who are trying to grow their sales, I always compare marketing to fishing (yes, fishing). It’s simple — the more lines you have in the water, the better chance you have of making the catch. That means both channels count.
As a millennial who is face down in his phone a majority of the day, I constantly check Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates. My father, however, can’t distinguish a tweet from an Instagram post, but he loves to get restaurant information and promotions via email. Your job as a restaurant marketer is to make sure you can reach both of us. While some guests might be found in both channels, that’s not always the case. The best way to maximize your target audience is to learn to use both channels effectively.
Different Floats? Or the Same Boat?
But effectively using email and social media when you are a busy restaurant marketer – and perhaps have never “tweeted” or “posted” before — is not easy. Just creating a good email from scratch can be perplexing and time consuming. But let’s go one step further. What about the intersection of email and social media marketing? What do restaurant marketers need to know about that? Well, for starters, you should think about a growth strategy for your email list. Do you have an email join form on your Facebook Page? Think of that as an opportunity to “integrate” your marketing strategy. So, now it’s not just learning how to be a good email marketer and a good social media marketer. You need to learn how to use them together to better market your restaurant overall.
Really mastering online marketing can be complicated because social media sites – especially Facebook – are notorious for changing their technology. Facebook, for example, makes frequent updates that impact the reach of your promotional content, as we’ve reported previously. This means you need to understand the difference between promotional posts and paid Facebook ads and when you need which ones. And is an email campaign a better investment than a paid Facebook campaign? Or should you think about an integration of the two campaigns?
Adapting to change is constant in the restaurant industry, and it is no different with online marketing. As a restaurant owner, it is important to realize the value of understanding and utilizing both email and social media properly. Whether you learn to do this yourself or engage specialists, like our SM3 team, to do it for you, the success of your business is at stake.