Developing your online persona
When restaurant owners have so many plates spinning, it’s often hard to make time to manage or maintain an online presence. Increasingly essential today, a thriving online presence can have a huge impact on attracting potential business and on your restaurant’s sustainability.
More than existing on the Internet, businesses today should nurture a living and breathing online persona, ripe with current information, built for the user, linked to all aspects of social media and developed with tantalizing imagery and menus that generate cravings.
Here’s how to manage your time and remain relevant to the consumers who are looking for you online.
Keep the Control: Work with a website developer who lets you manage your own content. Today, many smart templates exist that allow you to create a slick website and update the content as menus, hours and chefs change.
Content: Drive profitability with content that is valuable to your reader. Similar to communicating without hard sell tactics, the content on your website or your listings on online guides should be accurate, descriptive and attention getting enough to stir up interest. If you don’t have the writer’s skill, hire an expert. (See Online Real Estate section for more on guides)
Social Media: If you’re not playing here, you are missing out. Facebook and Twitter are quick-hit ways to get your message and promotions out to your fans. We know managing your posts can be tedious. While in the moment posts are the best, we understand that managing your posts can be a tedious effort. Schedule batches of updates across a variety of social media profiles using free management tools like Hootsuite.com or TweetDeck.com
Blogging: Maintain a chef blog as a page on your website to deliver news from the kitchen. Blogging builds interest in your brand, your restaurant’s persona and your menu. The key is consistency and that means dedicating a little time to crafting a few paragraphs a week. Spotlight seasonal ingredients or drinks on your blog; you may even blog about some of your great customers or your chef’s background. Above all, you are trying to evoke a sense of what the customer experience will be like in your restaurant…so be authentic.
Online Real Estate
It’s all about location when you develop your online persona. Here’s a list of smart online guides where you can list your restaurant. Include content-rich description of your restaurant, accurate hours and contact information, and with links to your menu or lists of your specials.