social media

Making Social Media Work for your Bar or Restaurant

We have reached the point where everyone can agree that social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and Whatever Network Appears In The Next Ten Minutes Before I Post This) is a critical component in any restaurant’s marketing strategy. What no one has seemed to have done is clearly define whose responsibility it should be. That is until now.

Social Media is as much a process as anything else, and while I hate the buzzwords that have obscured the issue (brand ambassador, engagement, influencer, conversation facilitator, etc.) there is no denying that the core of the issue is customer relations. Therefore the person that becomes the online face of your restaurant must possess several indispensable skills:

1)They must be articulate – and not just in 140 characters

If someone is writing about your food you need them to able to express themselves confidently and coherently. Great literature no, remedial grammar abilities – yes! Typos happen, but they shouldn’t become a distraction to potential dinners reading about your current desert special.

2) They need to be knowledgeable

Whoever is tweeting or posting about your menu should know it at least as well as your servers do – if people ask questions they should know the answer.

3) They need to be invested

And I don’t mean financially – the person must be invested in the success of your restaurant in a manner that extends beyond the next week, the next pay check or the next tip. They need to be a committed professional that cares about product and service.

4) They need to be personable

Personality is an integral component of any dining experience – an engaging server can mean a big difference in check size versus one going through the motions – it works the same online. We all know a limp handshake is worse than none at all.

5) They need to be accountable

There has to be a chain of command where it is clear exactly who is responsible for social media marketing – and who they report to. There are already too many cracks for this process to fall into – make sure everyone knows their role.

Okay, the next question is who is the person that fits all of these criteria? Well, they are probably already on your staff – and they may not be the person you think they are. First of all let’s discuss who this isn’t.

It isn’t the host or hostess. Yes, I do realize that Derek or Mary are very personable, probably cute and no doubt perky, enthusiastic and likable (you hired them, after all). However if you look at the list above you’ll see that they may not be knowledgeable or necessarily that articulate about food. And they certainly aren’t invested or accountable. While they may blossom into an eventual GM they could just as easily tell you they’re leaving for a week at Bonnaroo at the end of the month. And while they may be extremely active on Twitter or Facebook, it doesn’t mean that those personal habits translate into marketing skills. Looking good behind the wheel of a car doesn’t necessarily mean you know how to drive.

It is also probably not the assistant manager – the person responsible for schedules, seating, printing, reservations and pretty much everything else happening on the floor. You don’t want your field general in charge of public relations – they’re used to prioritizing, and something called “Twitter” is going to fall off the end of that list faster than you can say “The ice machine is broken”.

It is also not the chef, waiter, back waiter or bartender – all of these employees might be willing and available, but will almost always fall short in one of the above stated qualifications (I know, I’ve tried everyone). However, there is someone we haven’t mentioned. I can also say that with almost four years’ experience developing the online marketing programs for the Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group, as well as other prominent restaurant organizations, that this is the clear cut favorite for the position of social media manager.

Virtually every restaurant has someone in charge of Group Dining and Event Planning. This may be a dedicated role, or the responsibilities may be combined with other promotional efforts, but in general it’s going to be someone that possesses the requisite skill set. The catering manager is going to know the menu – they have to sell it every day – and they are going to be able to speak about it intelligently and confidently. They are going to be personable and skilled at marketing – they are probably working on some sort of commission. They are going to be invested in the success of the restaurant because it benefits them both monetarily and professionally – and they are going to be accountable, they are probably already an important person in the chain of command.

However the most important part of this role may be one I haven’t mentioned – consistency. It is important to not only appoint the current group dining or catering manager social media point person – it is critically imperative to make it part of the job description. And anyone applying for such a position in this age of constantly evolving social networking should already have those skills – you don’t hire the sous chef hoping for on the job training. This will ensure that you won’t find yourself searching for passwords or logins – responsibility for account maintenance will be handed off the same way it is in the kitchen and on the floor – qualified personnel in the right place to do the right job.

Now, before I get a lot of unhappy comments from devoted hostess tweeters and bartender bloggers – this does not mean that other people on your staff are automatically unqualified or unprofessional. For instance – Jimmy Y, Server at Ravaglia’s restaurant in Lake Mary, Florida is engaging and informative when writing about his menu, and he also takes the most amazing food pictures I’ve ever seen – but that is very much the exception to the rule. Social Media Marketing Admin is an increasingly vital position in any marketing campaign, and the position is one that needs to be consistently executed at the same level of competency expected from any other position on your staff. Any other approach is a sure recipe for, are you ready, failure.

social media discussion

Social Media Marketing

Marketing communication is shifting. No longer will traditional promotion alone (banner ads, print, TV, radio, email, outdoor media, direct mail, etc.) build company brands and bring the results needed to be successful. No longer is communicating just one-sided. Marketing is now a two-lane highway where companies—engineers and contractors as much as retail or commercial businesses—not only speak to their audience, but also, more importantly, must listen to what they have to say.


  1. Content is King
    Develop strong content to display through social media channels. The content produced—images, stories, videos, graphs or charts—needs to be timely and relevant. According to Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairperson, as much information is created in two days as was created from the dawn of civilization until 2003. That is more than five exabytes of data every 48 hours. In a world where everyone has a voice, a company’s brand must stand out from the noise by being positioned as a leader and influencer. No need to throw current marketing plans out the window; just amend the plan to include social strategies that complement the business objectives.content social media marketing
  2. Develop Voice
    Engage in communities, blogs and LinkedIn discussions where people are discussing the industry’s “hot” topics, such as the latest construction software, Building Information Modeling (BIM), upcoming talent shortages, design-build, etc. Regular participation keeps a business’s name and expertise in front of potential clients.
  3. Connect Communities
    Fostering connections with industry bloggers, LinkedIn groups and publications will promote a firm and its expertise. These communities can introduce an audience which may not have otherwise been reached. For example, LinkedIn can help pursue potential clients and allows for possible business opportunities. Furthermore, commenting on industry blog posts or even guest blogging can mark a firm as an industry expert.
  4. Share Expertise
    Start a company blog to announce new products, communicate successes, showcase work, discuss new trends, and announce events that are being hosted or attended. Do not forget to promote these posts in social media networks: Tweet about the post, start a discussion on LinkedIn, share the post on Facebook. Did a company executive just finish an extensive project that the firm is proud of? Share photos on Flickr or create a video about the project and upload it to YouTube. These tools will put a company’s portfolio on display for a wide audience.
  5. Improve SEO
    Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing the number of visitors to a website by getting a high ranking on search result pages. One of the main benefits of social media is that it directs traffic back to a company’s website and increases SEO. From there, the website can showcase even more work and provide details about services and products. Now a business is on its way to generating leads and improving bottom lines.

As social animals, people love to share good things as well as bad experiences. Businesses need to humanize their image and create a personal appeal that resonates in their market. Companies must begin to find out what people are saying about them on social channels. When they start to monitor these avenues, companies can discover useful information on how to further position the brand to reach company goals. Companies must ask themselves whether they are listening to what is being said.

google my business

Why Google Business Listing is extremely important?

There are over 3.5 billion people searching on Google every day, and your business is just one in a million that shows up on each relative search. But Google is the fastest way to let people know about your business and can even convert your products into sales.


“My business is over 10 years old and everyone already knows about it”

It’s true that you have a lot of regular customers for your business, but with the new generation coming in, are you sure that they actually know about you? You really don’t want to miss out on that market. Google has an amazing tracking system that will let customers – who might be interested in your products or services – will see your listing first. It is a much better method of advertising, especially for businesses who have been in the game for a long time and may fear that their industrial voice has been lost.


“I did my Google Business listing 5 years ago”

Is the information on your Google listing still up to date? Google loves fresh content. Everything you update about your business gives you a higher chance of Google putting your company above the others.


 “I don’t know if I have a Google Business Listing or Not”

Many business owners have said that same thing when asked about their Google listings.

Emerson Street Automotive, for example, were unaware that they already maintained a Google listing and attempted to create a new one. However, since Google doesn’t allow duplicate business listings, the old listing information needed to be retrieved and updated.

The fastest way to check it is to search your business name on Google. If you have listed with them before, there will be a small window on the right that will have all your company’s information.


“I don’t have the access to my Google Listing”

Mid-State Construction has been on the market for over 10 years. Their website, which was created at the time they opened the business, was still a listing in the Google search queues. That means that their old website was receiving all former and updated customer information, because customers were still going to the old site; also, the experience of the old website was not as user-friendly as the new site was designed, so their clientele had taken a small hit. Remember to be careful when storing account information, because it can take anywhere up to two-weeks or so to retrieve the information from Google and verify that it is indeed your account information.

social media search

Top Social Media Search Tools

Finding it difficult to find the right people to connect with on social media?…or… Do you want to identify when someone talks about you, your product or brand on social media channels? Do you sometimes struggle to find great content to share? In this article, you’ll find some great answers to all these questions. Here are 7 different ways to do an effective social media search.

1. Find mentions on social media channels using Brand24

There is a broad range of social media monitoring tools that allow you to track mentions across various social media channels. Brand24 is one such tool. In the image below, you can see that you can filter content from Twitter and Facebook. It even finds images that are shared that mention what you are looking for.

You can also see, in the image above, that it tries to identify how influential the person is on Twitter. You can apply a filter to look at which influential people are sharing out the content. You can also look at charts such as this.

People and companies sharing your content the most

This shows you the people with the most influence who are sharing your content, and the people/companies sharing your content most frequently. You need to track both lists. You need to look after the key influences and best supporters and build relationships with them.

2. Use Google to search social media channels

When you are searching through LinkedIn, your search results are restricted based on the subscription that you have paid for. But…The majority of profiles are indexed on Google. If you could just search on Google and find what you were looking for, would that be useful…? Want me to tell you how? On Google, you can use the site command to restrict a search based on a particular site. For example, a search for “mediarescue” (without the “”) will return mentions of mediarescue on Twitter. But there’s an easier way. You can set up a custom search engine for Google that automatically filters out content. Here is a custom Google search for LinkedIn. If you log out of LinkedIn and do a search using this custom search engine, you get access to everyone’s full profiles with no restrictions!
Here is an example: when you click on each one, you get full access to their profiles, assuming they have not switched off any/all of their profile for Google indexing.

Search for LinkedIn profiles using a Custom Google search


3. Find Most Popular Content using Post Planner

Post Planner is a social media management tool for Facebook and Twitter. One killer piece of functionality with Post Planner is its content-discovery engine. It finds the most-shared content across social channels and you can then pick links from this content to share out on your own social channels. I recently listened to an interview on Kim Garst’s show on Blab where she talked with Josh Parkinson, founder of Post Planner. He said that, when you share content on Facebook, Facebook will share this out to more of your fans and followers if this content has already proven to be popular on Facebook. Of course, the opposite is also true. Share something that is unproven and it’s more likely that Facebook won’t share it out to too many people.
With Post Planner, you can do things like:

  • View a list of the most-liked images on Facebook for a particular category/time frame
  • View the most-shared pictures on Instagram to re-share on other platforms
  • View the most-shared updates from one or a collection of Facebook Pages that you add.

This is really powerful functionality so it’s well worth checking it out.

4. Use a hashtag-search tool

Hashtags are very popular on Twitter and Instagram but they are less popular on other platforms. But, if you want to search social media for content around specific topics, then searching hashtags could be very useful. There is a variety of hashtag search tools available but one of the most useful ones is Tweet Binder. There are paid and free versions but you can get some cool information with the free version.
Here’s a list of the most active people that Tweet Binder found for the hashtag #blogchat, which is a weekly chat about blogging.

Here’s a filter of the tweets based on this hashtag.

5. Use keyword filters provided in Hootsuite or similar tools

Hootsuite is a social media management tool and it gives you the ability to set up a filtered view of content by using keywords (and also hashtags). It’s not a very advanced search but it could be used to filter content based on your company name, personal name or certain queries you are interested in. For example, if you ran a restaurant in Dublin, you may apply a filter for: Restaurant Dublin ? You’re looking for any tweet that has these words included in any order. The reason you use the question mark is because you want to filter out things that are not questions. If you’re looking for a restaurant in Dublin, you are likely to say something like:
“I’m looking for a restaurant in Dublin for 15 people, any ideas?”

This search string will show you tweets that include both the words in your search, and tweets that include a question mark. These are most likely to find tweets that you could respond to and prove yourself to be useful.

6. Use a content cu-ration tool such as ContentGems

ContentGems is a site that helps you to find relevant links and stories to share to your social networks. By inputting some keywords and search terms, ContentGems curates a list of content, relevant to your search, that you can read, store or share socially. In the example below, ContentGems auto-filled some keywords and search results. They are in a format that you will be familiar with if you have ever used any kind of advanced search capabilities, with words that can be included, words that should not be included, and words that must be included.

Here are the results we got:

You can see that there is a wide range of content from a variety of different websites. At the bottom of each result, there are some icons. Let’s take a look at them:

Actions you can take on each article
On the left, there are icons for Hootsuite and Buffer. If you click on either of these, it brings up the relevant interface so you can share the article directly or add it to your sharing queue. Next, there are icons for Instapaper and Pocket. If you want to save an article to read properly later, you can do it with these services. Then, there is an envelope icon to share an article by email, and the final icon lets you share posts through ContentGems itself. On the right, you can see how many times an article has been tweeted. These sharing and saving options makes ContentGems easy to use alongside the tools you already take advantage of. It integrates with some of the most popular services, making it a great option for finding and sharing relevant stories and links to your social media feeds.

7. Find trending content using BuzzSumo.

It’s good to know what topics are trending in your niche. If you share them on social media, it shows that you are aware of what’s going on. And it makes sure you don’t miss out on any industry news. BuzzSumo is a tool we’ve talked about a lot in the past, and one of its features is very useful for finding trending stories.
In the menu at the top of the screen, choose Trending Now.

Next, you can choose whether you want to see trending topics for wide categories, or for your own search terms.

You can choose from the categories at the top or, like we have done, you can click the + symbol and add your own search terms. Unsurprisingly, we chose ‘social media’!
BuzzSumo then shows you the topics that are trending for your category or keyword.

If the results you see aren’t quite right, you can tweak them by changing whether the trending topics should be from the last two hours or 24 hours, or anything in between. You can also choose which country they should be from.
When you see a result that looks interesting to you, you can see the number of social shares that link has had. This can be a good indication of whether your audience will be interested in the topic.

There is a goldmine of information out there on social media. But you need to filter the noise to find what’s relevant. What are you doing to find the best information to share?