The customers that seek out and like your restaurant’s page on Facebook are often your greatest fans. With one like, they are acknowledging your business by agreeing to see all of your updates in their personal news feed. For this reason alone, it’s important to incorporate creative opportunities to interact with your Facebook fans while building your online community.
Move beyond the menu: Many restaurants continually feature menu items with pricing along with pictures of their food. This is a great idea because it reminds your Facebook fans of why they love your establishment so much in the first place. Keep in mind that there are many other facets you can emphasize besides just the food. Does you restaurant have a karaoke night? Trivia night? How can you feature your employees? For instance, if your patrons love a particular bartender at your establishment, you could post a picture of them working and remind your customers that their favorite bartender is on duty that night.
While showcasing menu options is effective, keep in mind that that Facebook fans want more. They want to feel as if they are getting to see behind the scenes of your establishment by liking and supporting your restaurant online. Showcase the busy bar on a Saturday night, your servers dressed up for a big game, the patron who always sits at the corner of the bar (with his or her permission, of course.) Always think of creative ways to show your fans who you are and not just what you serve.
Emphasize your restaurant culture: You also want to start incorporating the culture and story of your restaurant into your posts. What inspired your restaurant to be built in the first place? What continues to inspire your restaurant owners every day? What makes people want to go to your establishment? Is it the sense of friends and family? Emphasize those qualities. Since customers have chosen to like your restaurant’s page on Facebook, take this opportunity to educate them about your place of business. Think about asking trivia questions having to do with your restaurant, such as “What year was our restaurant established?”
Reward your fans: Since the customers who like your Facebook page are often your greatest fans, it simply makes sense to periodically reward them for being a part of your online community. Not only will this make your current fans feel appreciated, but it will give other customers an incentive to like your Facebook page if they haven’t already. While Facebook does not allow you to run any contests that utilize Facebook’s functions (such as like to enter or comment to enter), there are Facebook applications that assist you in running contests for your business page. Just make sure every contest allows states that it is not affiliated with Facebook in any way.
Offering promotions only seen by Facebook fans is another great way to build an incentive to join your Facebook community as well as track how many customers are coming in because of an offer on Facebook. Sometimes fans will also share a great offer on their own page, further increasing your post exposure. To run your own Facebook contest, try these apps or ask your social media manager to take a look at the following contest apps for Facebook: Hooplasoft, Social Prize, Offerpop, Easypromos and Woobox.
Ola Ayeni is the founder of Dining Dialog and eateria, a loyalty e-mail marketing company for restaurants and foodservice businesses. Dining Dialog is a cutting-edge, full-service new-media marketing company servicing the restaurant, bar and foodservice industry. eateria™ is a loyalty e-mail marketing tool that empowers clients and help them build a customer base by generating repeat business and attracting new business.