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Wall Posts, Comments, & Likes, Oh My! Fan interaction WILL boost sales.

By: Mary Pennington, Communications Manager, MenuMax

We all know and have read about the monumental benefits of social media; and how using these free resources will help our businesses grow larger, faster. Now the real test is how much time you are really willing to spend learning and establishing a social media presence. Though many of these resources are free to the public, the time we spend to maintain the unlimited profiles we put on the web can cost us even more if we don’t use our resources wisely.

Tip #1: Research social networks in your industry. The more you can connect with people in your line of work, the better. In the restaurant business, though everyone is our audience (because everyone has to eat) it is smart to join forces with networks that reach the most people in your area. Which sites are the most popular? Which Apple & Android hospitality applications are used the most?

Tip #2: Take the time to learn & USE every possible feature of the application. So many of us stop after creating a profile and uploading some photos. There are various applications out there for a reason and that is because they all offer unique tools that sets them apart from the others. Take the time to learn the ins & outs of each application and use these to your benefit. Though it may be a daunting task at first just like anything else, once you learn it, it is simple maintenance from there!

Tip #3: Remember it’s a two-way convo. Take advantage of it for business sake! So many people think that social media is just a way to put your business out there and hope that someone wants to hear it, without any effort to do the same for others. The idea behind “social” networking is to link to another via two-way communication. An “I scratch your back, you scratch mine” kind of deal… where your presence in someone else’s life is to listen and receive information as much as it is to present it. Actually, I truly believe that the key to social media success is to first empower the opinions and thoughts of others; creating loyalty, trust, and relationship.

A great NRN article I found demonstrates how restaurants using their Facebook “Like” buttons are driving online ordering. This is genius! Not only do they get to interact with their fans, drive traffic to their site, and make online ordering easier; but they are simultaneously collecting data to continuously evolve their menu to cater to the preferences of their customers… keeping sales and demand high for the most popular items! On the flip side, guests feel like their opinion matters. There is a sense of loyalty to the establishments that take the time to interact with their fans, listen to their concerns, and target their marketing & promotions to the guests that keep their business going.

Remember friends, it always seems to come down to who you know… and who you know well. Get to know your customers and what they want. Listen to their thoughts and schedule time for personal responses. Customer loyalty can be the secret to keeping your business steady in any economy:)

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