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Social Media - Strategy, Tactics & Tips
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Good social media can help the profitability of your business. "Social media has the ability to put butts in seats," says Melany Mullens, founder of Polished Pig Media in a Foodservice Radio interview. "Always keep in mind that is has the ability to generate revenue, draw business and have an impact. The nice part is that social media is free."

While social media is easy to get started, it does take a committed effort to impact sales. "I don't think that you can dabble in it," Mullens continues. "People who have created social media platforms, let's say for example a Facebook page, and think because they have created that page and they are posting once a month that it is going to have an economic impact on their business are mistaken. I feel very strongly that you can't just dip your toe into social media. It's critical that you stay active, current and fresh with your content, that you are really monitoring it and contributing to it consistently. It's really not something you do halfway."

"The key to creating fresh social content is to have someone, either internally or externally dedicated to social media," says Mullens. "For our clients, many of them will ask us to monitor their social media as part of what we do. I'm not suggesting it requires an outside party to do social media well. If your budget does not allow for working with a social media PR partner, then identify someone internally on your team such as a really solid hostess or really passionate, excited general manager. You want someone that is responsible, professional, positive and is also going to be able to bring things to your attention that are concerning and discuss it with you before they have a knee-jerk reaction or comment."

With a multitude of social options, operators are often unsure where to even start. Mullens suggests experimenting with different options. "The key to social media is trying it all and seeing what works. But don't do it if you can't do it well. There are some platforms that are more effective in some markets than in others. I would say in smaller markets, Facebook is a much more dynamic platform and their clientele is utilizing that much more than say our clients in San Francisco, where they are very Twitter heavy. The key is knowing your geography and your customer base and figuring out what they are connecting with in regards to social media. Once you do that, really focus on those primary platforms."

It is also important to remember that social media is a way to talk with your customers, not just talk to your customers. "I think consumers are very savvy regarding the use of social media just as a tool for advertising. Restaurateurs need to be really careful to have social media platforms that not only talk about their special events, but also engage their customers in conversation," concludes Mullens. "If its posting a picture of a new dish or posting a picture of the team getting ready for their special Taco Tuesday or if its talking about a concert that they are excited to be vending this weekend, It is not only important to promote offers, but to engage customers in the heart and spirit of your restaurant."