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Are you making the most of social media?

3 min read


Does Starbucks get the most social media mentions because it’s more social-savvy or because it’s Starbucks? How much do Facebook likes, tweets, Pinterest pins and Foursquare check-ins translate into new sales? How much time and money should your restaurant invest in social media efforts and where should those resources come from?

These questions and more are likely to be on tap when FohBoh and Networld Media Group present the Foodservice Social Media Universe conference in Chicago this month, and they’re questions that have been getting more and more media coverage lately.

Big chains may be getting all the attention for their social media efforts, but there’s evidence that smaller players are finding ways to use the medium to level the playing field with their larger rivals, according to Nation’s Restaurant News, which reported on Toppers Pizza and Lenny’s Subs and the way they’re using social to boost brand awareness and customer service.

Social events like Toppers’ pizza box art contest and Lenny’s Social Wednesday promotions and contests on Facebook not only give the little guys a way to compete and grab consumers’ attention — they also give the restaurants some tools for gauging the financial results of their social investments.

“It helps with driving sales and building loyal relationships. … Those types of things drive tangible dollars that help our franchisees make money,” Lenny’s President Brent Alvord told NRN.

So, social media done right does mean more traffic and higher sales for at least some restaurant chains; so, how can you make sure it’s done right?

Restaurant Hospitality contributor and founder of John Moore put together a list recently of must-have qualities for the person entrusted with carrying out your restaurant’s social media mission, starting with the fact that the person needs to be articulate in more than 140-character bites, knowledgeable about your menu and brand, and a consummate professional who lives up to commitments to follow through.

He also shares some tips on which of your staffers are probably not the best fit, including your personable host or hostess, your assistant manager with the keen talent for prioritizing or your chef. In fact, most of the time, the person who does your special event planning is the one with the qualities necessary to craft your social media plan and see it through.

“Social media marketing admin is an increasingly vital position in any marketing campaign, and the position is one that needs to be consistently executed at the same level of competency expected from any other position on your staff. Any other approach is a sure recipe for failure,” he writes.

How did you choose the right person to run your social media efforts? How’s it working out? Tell us in the comments.