Leveraging Facebook to Drive Sales and Increase Customer Loyalty

By now it’s old news that every business should have a Facebook presence. That said, many businesses continue to flounder in terms of garnering any real results from their pages. To simply have a presence is not enough – nor is attempting to use your page as a mere placeholder for advertisements. You’ve got to have an effective strategy to engage your audience and get them to take action. When it’s done properly, Facebook pages can be a particularly powerful tool for restaurants to both build their customer base AND drive sales. Here are the highlights of how to do just that.

Post Messages that are Fun, Engaging, and Speak to What Your Customers Value about Your Restaurant

Having an effective presence on Facebook means that you have to walk a fine line between providing content that is entertaining versus content that is brand-relevant. You go too far in either direction and you end up, quite frankly, wasting your time. It’s important to consider what your customers really value about your restaurant – not just menu items they might like, but what makes your establishment stand out from the crowd for them. Figure this out and you’ve got your starting point for posting content that is both engaging and relevant to them.

Take a Note from the Big Guys’ Facebook Campaigns

The fastest way to get an effective Facebook campaign up and running for your restaurant starts by checking out what is really working well for other businesses. Chain restaurants have been particularly good at creating effective social media campaigns. In fact, it was just 14 brands that produced the top 100 Facebook posts by restaurants with the most likes, comments, and shares in the first quarter of 2013.

Spend some time investigating brand pages such as Applebee’s, Starbucks, Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Papa John’s, The Cheesecake Factory, Subway, and Red Lobster to get some great ideas about strategies you can implement on your own restaurant’s page.

Facebook Graph Search Changes the Game

Facebook Graph Search was announced at the beginning of the year and promises to be quite a game changer in terms of how people find your business through online search. The idea is that a person can look for say, a nearby place to eat, based on the likes and recommendations of their Facebook friends. The kicker is that the search results for Graph are based on a variety of factors including the number of likes, virtual check-ins, location in relation to the searcher, number of friends’ photos tagged to your restaurant, reviews, etc., and what shows up for one person will be totally different with the next.

Fortunately Facebook Graph Search is still in beta, so you’ve got a little time to get all your ducks in a row and optimize your pages appropriately so that they show up in Graph search results. Facebook Graph Search is going to become a major pillar in how Facebook presents information about businesses, so it would be a savvy move on your part to get started now and get an edge on your competition.

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