During my role as host of the Restaurant Unstoppable podcast (a podcast dedicated to gathering the advice from successful indie restaurant professionals on topics related to leadership, management and marketing) I’ve interviewed over 60 successful indie restaurant professionals.
During these interviews, we often ultimately discuss marketing. And as you can imagine, the conversation often heads in the direction of social media marketing. Brandon asked me to step in here at NextRestaurants to share some of the lessons learned from my interviews with restaurant operators.
I can tell you this: the most common piece of advice is simply to be yourself. Interact with your guest on your restaurant’s social media accounts as if they were friends on your personal social media accounts.
An indie restaurant’s most lethal weapon is individuality. You might think your success is solely due to your food being the shiz-nat and that may be true. However, a more significant contributing factor to your success is likely that you are so gosh darn likable.
The reason why your guests keep coming back is because they are emotionally and socially tied to your restaurant and YOU.
It’s due to this that whenever I hear a restaurant professional say, “I’m going to outsource my restaurant’s social media so I can forget about it,” I scream like a little girl who’s discovered a spider creeping up her neck.
Here are three things you MUST know before outsourcing your social media
1. You are the Only You
You cannot replace yourself. What makes you effective on social media is the personal connection with your guest. No matter whom you select to handle your social media; no one is better at knowing your guest and being you, than you.
In a Forbes article titled, “Should you Outsource Social Media Or Do It Yourself?” author Tim Devaney says, “Running social media in-house will personalize your message. Companies that outsource all their accounts often end up with a bland voice and distant customer relationships.“
Healthy relationships are the backbone of any successful business. In an industry that weighs so heavy on authentic social interactions, can you really afford to lose your authenticity by completely replacing yourself?
2. Outsourcing is NOT a quick fix.
Your responsibility for social media never 100% disappears after outsourcing. In order to stay relevant you need to work WITH the outsourced agency to implement and carry out the best strategy for your restaurant.
If you are thinking you can “forget” about social media after you’ve outsourced, you are in for a rude awakening. If you are outsourcing social media to “forget” about it, then your guests are going to “forget” about you.
“The companies that have the most effective social media communications are those that have a combination of internal and external people doing social media,” says Eve Mayer, CEO of consulting company Social Media Delivered.
The only good reason to outsource social media is to draw on an agency’s expertise and to delegate responsibilities such as:
- Timely responses to customer complaints
- Creating visual content
- Scheduling future posts (only after strategizing with you)
3. Don’t hire just anyone who claims to be an expert.
If there is ever a time for due diligence, it is when selecting who will be representing your online presence. Online presence is no light matter. Often the first impression your guest has of your restaurant is online. How you are perceived during that first impression means everything. Perception is reality.
Do not hire some shmuck that claims to know everything there is to know about social media. Truth is, social and digital media marketing are evolving faster than ever and even the most seasoned experts will hesitate to make such a claim.
Be sure to do your homework and select a company with a good reputation. Approach clients of the company you plan to work with and get testimonials. Look at the social media platforms of the company you plan to work with to see exactly how well they’re practicing what they preach.
So the purpose of this post isn’t to suggest outsourcing social media is always a bad investment. Bringing in an expert to ASSIST you with social media is an excellent idea. Simply, I would like to create awareness that if your motive for outsourcing social media is to forget about it, then you should revaluate your decision.