“Be my Friend on Facebook!”

“Be my Friend on Facebook!”
– Why Facebook alone is not a sufficient strategy.

Find Us On FacebookAs a kick off to our restaurant marketing tips, we`ve noticed an increase in restaurants setting up Facebook Fan Pages. Compared to the cost of designing a website it appears to be a no-brainer. Facebook pages are free.

Marketing with social media is a hot topic at the moment, but as a marketer I see some huge limitations in the “strategy” if Facebook is a restaurant`s only online presence.

Websites for restaurants should still play a central role in bringing in new customers.

When the statistics indicate millions of people are on Facebook, it sounds attractive. That`s because when placing a restaurant advertisement in newspapers or magazines, we often expect to pay more when readership is high. If Facebook is free and there are lots of people using it, then I guess old logic tells us that we get something for nothing.

When examining the benefits of social media for restaurants here are my thoughts on Why Facebook alone is not a sufficient strategy:

  1. The only people who will find your page will be Friends or existing customers (who I assume eat at your restaurant anyway), and their Friends. Good from the “Friends of Fans” perspective, but what about people who don`t know either of these 2 groups?
  2. Facebook pages are only Searchable on the internet by Business Name, not numerous keywords. For example – type in “seafood restaurant, Melbourne” – what chance do you think your Facebook page will come up if you specialize in this type of cuisine? Facebook is not SEO friendly.
  3. Facebook doesn`t display the things people want to know quickly. The user has to know to click on “Info” once they reach your Welcome page.
  4. Restaurant finder websites such as Dimmi, and de Groots best restaurants, and restaurant review websites such as Broadsheet don`t like linking to Facebook. They prefer proper websites.

In point 3, I highlight the word quickly because that`s what people want when they search online. What are your opening hours, menu & prices, images of décor? Sure you can put that information on wall posts, photo albums, info page etc, but who`s going to scroll through the entire history of your Fan page? Especially if they search from a mobile phone.

Most people only glance at the Wall, and then leave if there`s nothing interesting.

My Top 3 Tips for Effective use of Facebook:

  1. Use Facebook Fan Pages – as a complementary tool to your restaurant website. Not in place of.
  2. Use Facebook – to broadcast latest promotions or events
  3. Use Facebook – to “converse” with your Fans. This is one advantage Facebook DOES have over websites. But note – creating a community and conversation can be hard work!

Stay tuned for more restaurant marketing tips!

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