The busy holiday season is once again upon us, and restaurant owners and operators must take advantage of the additional spending that consumers will be doing during this time. The continued growth of smart phone and social media users means that you must focus some of your holiday marketing efforts using social media.
The good news is that the possibilities are endless and will cost you very little. You just need to put your imagination and creativity to work! Appoint one person in your operation – preferably someone with an eye for photography – to take on this task, as it is much less confusing when there is only one person managing the social media content.
Diane Chiasson, FCSI, President of Chiasson Consultants Inc., a restaurant and foodservice consultancy firm in Toronto, has some ideas that you can incorporate into your holiday marketing strategy this season:
Have a seasonal branded image
Add a holiday theme to your existing logo to get your followers in the holiday spirit, and to let them know that you are in the holiday spirit. Add a mistletoe or a wreath, or red and green to your colours. Post your new logo on all your social networks, as well as your website.
Use photos to sell
Instagram and Pinterest are a social media tools built around photography. They are ideal applications for restaurants and foodservice operations as they are great ways to promote your brand in a visual way. People love to see photos of food, design and décor. Decorate your restaurant for the holidays and post photos of your winter wonderland. Take tempting photos of your new holiday dishes. Use photos to convince people that your restaurant is the best place for them to celebrate the holidays with their friends, families and colleagues. Make sure you share your Instagram or Pinterest photos on all your other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare.
Run a contest
Engage your followers by running a recipe or cooking contest on your Facebook page. Have your fans post photos and recipes of their own signature dish, and reward the winner by selling their dish on your menu. Or post a recipe of one of your signature dishes and have your followers post photos of their interpretation of your dish.
Set up a holiday photo area
Set up a decorated area in your operation for guests to take photos. Offer them a free drink or a small discount if they tweet or post their photos to Facebook. This will help advertise to all their “friends” that they are dining at your restaurant and having a great time, and spread the word.
Give helpful information
Don’t just use social media to promote your own agenda. Give your followers some helpful and useful information during this stressful time as well. Post videos of your chef giving demos on how to roast the perfect turkey, or how to make delicious side dishes ahead of time. Share your expertise on hosting a party and how to cook for a crowd. Or post photos or videos of your bartender making holiday cocktails.
Run a campaign for charity
The holiday season is also the time of year for charities to raise the most money. Run a food drive or a campaign for your favourite charity, and post your campaign to all your social media platforms. Ask your fans and followers to share your campaign on their platforms, and grow your donations. Not only will your restaurant get additional exposure, but you will also be doing it for a good cause.
Build your Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Use proper keywords and alt tags for all your image filenames, photos, captions, posts, etc. to increase your search engine optimization rankings. This will not only help your business for the holiday season, but help you build up your SEO in general.