Anyone running a restaurant, hotel, or indeed any food business today cannot afford to underestimate the power of social media. Not only can this have a profound effect on your reputation but it can also be used to help you to measure success and move forward in the marketplace.
According to recent reports, 90% of hotels use Facebook to promote their business, while 78% use Twitter. Other important social media channels include Instagram, Pinterest, and TripAdvisor, and you really need to manage your online reputation in addition to your physical business. Social media can also translate into traditional media such as local newspapers, as this report in the Yorkshire Evening Post demonstrates. Social media can be seen as a two-edged sword ‒ it can enhance your reputation, as with the Leeds burger bar in the report, or it can quickly downgrade it.
The true value of social media is to provide you with a window into how your guests feel and what they say about you, and you need to be poised to respond quickly to posts across all the channels so that you can manage your reputation in ‘real-time’. To ignore social media is to risk a complaint going viral among your customers. According to The Entrepreneur, not replying to comments is one of the top five ways to ruin your reputation.
It is not always easy for a busy restaurateur or hotelier to monitor all the social media platforms, respond to comments, and keep a blog interesting and up to date. Much of your time may well be spent on practical tasks, such as searching a selection of commercial bottle coolers by FridgeFreezerDirect to source the ideal commercial bottle coolers for your business.
An increasing number of hospitality providers find it worthwhile to employ dedicated social media professionals to maintain their online reputation and market their businesses by using all the social media tools available. Social loyalty reward programmers and prize competitions are just two ways of harnessing social media in a positive way.
Those who feel they cannot afford to do this may prefer to use a professional social media management program to monitor comments from customers across all the platforms, enabling you to engage with your customers and respond to their comments regularly.