Consulting with businesses on social media is something I’ve done less and less of simply because my time has become more limited and my spare time is something I cherish and desire more of. I’ve spent many years working in the marketing field and dealt with small mom and pop shops, medium-sized businesses, large corporations, all dealing with business-to-consumer and business-to-business.
I wanted to write a piece to help out businesses. Point out mistakes I commonly see, mainly in the restaurant industry. Many businesses may not be able to afford or want to pay someone to give them a consultation. I don’t mind giving out some free advice. Plus these are so easy to fix, literally anybody can do it. I hear all the time that owners feel they are “too old” or out of touch with technology. This is all about repetition. Anybody can pick this up and do it.
Take control of your business and give yourself a better chance for success!
13 common mistakes restaurants make on Facebook
1.) Where’s The Menu?
Let’s get one thing straight. 40% of social media users research brands on social media networks. Your goal is to provide them with the right information so they’ll choose your restaurant.
Why wouldn’t you want to post your menu on your website? Even if it changes pretty regularly? It takes minutes to do. Facebook has a section for businesses to post their menu that’s accessible. If that’s too hard, take a picture of your menu and simply post it to the page. This works, especially if your menu changes daily.
Here’s an easy online guide on how to add a menu.
2.) Post Your Hours!!!
Once a diner selects your restaurant, what do they want next? Your hours. They want to know when you’ll be open. If you’re a food truck, post your schedules a week in advance. People like to plan out where they’re going to eat especially over lunch time when they have to plan around meetings and such.
It’s another simple thing to do and can be done by checking out this guide by Facebook.
3.) If you marked your restaurant as temporarily closed, UPDATE IT NOW!
During the pandemic, many restaurants were forced to close and updated their page to say, “Temporarily Closed“.
Once they reopened, they completely forgot about it. So, when diners searched for the restaurant, it showed as temporarily closed. How much lost business do you think happened because of it? People saw they were closed and moved on to the next place. I’ve seen this happen to a dozen restaurants over the last few months alone and gave them a heads up.
To learn how to update your open status, visit this guide.
4.) List Your Address
This one makes me want to bang my head on the wall. When I don’t see an address listed for a restaurant, it boggles my mind.
If it’s two things you get out of this blog, LOCATION AND HOURS!
5.) Content Is King
Diners choose where they want to eat with their eyes. If they see a delicious look picture online, what are they going to do? Look more into it and see what the dish is and who it’s from. They’ll tag a friend and say, “Let’s go!”. They’ll share it to their personal page.
Some businesses will post witty or funny captions. Don’t stress if that’s too big of an ask. Just make the post. Also, don’t be too concerned about needing some fancy picture taken. If you have the budget to do so, great. But in the long run, most phones that don’t have the game snake on it and made by Nokia will do.
How many plates are you pushing out at your restaurant in a day. Perhaps spend thirty minutes of the day snapping pictures of dishes that come out so you have a catalog of pictures in your phone. Don’t forget to encourage diners to take pictures of your dishes and tag you on their socials.
6.) Going Silent For So Long
If you haven’t posted in so many months (or dare I say years), people are going to assume your restaurant is closed. How do you fix this? Well, by posting.
There’s no true sweet spot on how often you should post, but I always tell businesses to set out to make it twice a week.
7.) Page Followers Are Important For Your Business
Many businesses may not be too concerned with page followers, especially if they’ve reached a certain number. Let me tell you why it’s important to keep growing your following.
Just because you have 1,000 followers means 1,000 people will see your post. In fact, under 5% of followers will typically see a post and under 1% will engage with that post. You want more eyes on your posts, you’ll want more followers, and not just that…
8.) Post Relevant Content
Since most social media feeds are filled with thousands of content, Facebook’s algorithm is in charge of showing people what to see. How can you work the algorithm to benefit your business? It all comes down to what you’re posting. There are two categories to think about: 1.) Informative and 2.) Meaningful.
For informative, this is content that a possible diner will find new, interesting or informative. This could be a picture of your new menu, updated hours, a new dish, and sometimes pictures of the actual food. If you’re attempting to come up with something meaningful, this could be something like thanking diners for a great dinner turnout, sharing a positive review you received, pictures of diners inside your restaurant, etc.
As you start your social media page, every post you make is important. You only get so many chances on Facebook to have your content on someone’s eyes. Anytime you make a post, ask yourself, “Will people find this content relevant and how can it help my business?”
Too many times I see pages posting memes, Go Chiefs or insert any other sports teams, things that are completely irrelevant to the restaurant that it won’t move the needle. Those are all fun, but overdoing it won’t win you any new customers.
9.) Posting Too Much Of the Same Thing
There’s a balance. Social media can be a crowd of cruel people. They will revolt and turn their back on you quickly. They can also get major fatigue.
One mistake I see is businesses posting the EXACT same thing every single week. Another common mistake is sharing their posts in every group possible multiple times a day. Here’s a secret, most of those people all belong to the same group already. I get it, people may need to be reminded about your business 20 times a day because we forget things, but does that mean you need to post about it 20 times a day? No.
If you’re going to ignore this advice and still post a lot, at least make everything relevant and different.
10.) Ignoring Your Customers Online
If someone takes the time out of their day to leave you a review, respond to it even if it’s positive or negative. They are doing something to help your business, that’s the least you can do. You’ll definitely want to respond to negative reviews and criticism. Sometimes they are justified and people will respect you more if you handle it properly.
Engage with your audience. When you make a post and people comment, try to respond back. I’m not saying you need to respond back to every single comment, as that could be a full-time job in itself, but respond back here and there.
And if someone sends you a private message, it’s likely they are interested in visiting your business and want some more information. Do not ignore those messages.
11.) Make Sure You Have A Facebook Page Before You Open Your Business
What does someone do when they hear of a new business? They go to Google or Facebook and search it. This is your chance to control the narrative before the reviews come in. You get to share everything you want about your business.
It takes all of 5-10 minutes to get a Facebook page up for your business.
12.) “I Have a Good Review or News Article, So I Can Ignore Social Media”
Some businesses think that just because they have a story in the paper or a great review from a local blogger or influencer, then they are set.
Those can be great for business and bring a surge of diners in, but that’s not sustainable. Over time, people will forget about what’s said and the next big thing will come along in the media or review space.
It’s up to you to keep that momentum going.
13.) Always Have Control of Your Facebook Page
I see businesses hiring someone to make their Facebook page or using a friend or family member to do it. That’s great, but make sure you have access because if you don’t and that person or business goes away, it’s going to be a pain to get control. Make sure that whoever creates your page, adds you on as an admin.