Restaurant brands large and small should build social media strategies to include data and learnings from e-listening audits to help define a brand’s presence in the digital and social worlds, as well as determine best courses of action for building followers, engagement, and eventually, restaurant traffic, according to social media consultant George Assimakopoulos.
Learn more at NRN's new social media resource center, NRN Social.
Nation’s Restaurant News partnered with parent-company sibling Penton Marketing Services and EyeTraffic to launch a series of free webinars aimed at social media marketers and restaurant operators looking to expand their knowledge of the digital landscape. The first in the series covered e-listening, a process that aggregates and analyzes a brand’s digital footprint and uses it to efficiently execute social media strategies and practices.
Nearly 200 participants joined the e-listening call, hosted by Assimakopoulos, an EyeTraffic vice president. He outlined six social media principles for success, all built upon the foundation of an e-listening, including: developing a personal brand; curating social content; leveraging customers; education and training for the team; and the measurement and analysis of results.
“First listen, then learn, then engage,” Assimakopoulos told attendees. “Don’t just jump in.”
Below you’ll find a transcript of the question-and-answer portion of the webinar. All questions were answered by Assimakopoulos. For more information on the webinar, to listen to a replay or download slides, visit the archive.
Q 1: Do you recommend individual franchisees to have social media pages that are specifically for their locations?
Yes. You need to be authentic and oriented to the locality, not the generality, of the audience. Localized Facebook pages, for example, achieve this well. What the master-franchisor should do is provide the franchisees with best practices, governance and guidelines based on what was learned through social media monitoring over a longer-term period and across all regions. Consider e-listening learnings as one of the tools that a franchisee gets when they sign up to join the franchisor.
Q 2: How many posts per day should we do if we run our social media sites for a 14 location restaurant located only in Georgia?
Frequency of posts really depends on the issue or task being addressed. If you are posting menu specials or event information, one post per day to subscribers/followers is ample. Just be sure that you mention in your posts any specific points that are unique to any one of your 14 locations. If you are addressing a crisis or a reputation situation, deal with each comment accordingly. Your customers will feel that you care about them individually.
Q 3: Is Instagram a good tool to use for restaurants?
Absolutely — especially in the hands of followers that like to share. Encourage the usage!
Q 4: What is the best way to engage in e-listening? I think the Starbucks concept is great.
My checklist that was provided is a great start to engage correctly. Check out slides #14 and #15. But remember, have a clear set of social media goals in mind. This way you can structure your e-listening study to return the data that is most important to you. There are free tools and paid tools (see slide #12) and other service providers (like EyeTraffic) that utilize all these tools who can support your eListening requirements. The available resources that you have will dictate what level of engagement support you will need.
Q 5: What is the most effective way to monitor what people are saying about you online? Google search your brand name?
Nope. Google Search does not offer you any information about what they are saying unless it is newsworthy and a top story. This in fact is what e-listening. So, please consider setting up an e-listening social media monitoring program that covers the entire web for any mention of your business (or name). Then allow the tools to do what they do best — they'll measure for sentiment, perception, etc. These studies can be set up to recur at a frequency that your business needs, whether that’s daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly. Please remember that these tools are simply data aggregators. The analysis of this data becomes imperative for the success of any social media strategy and execution.
Q 6: I am one person who manages 12 Facebook pages. Do you have any tips for not getting burnt out or something to generate new, fresh ideas?
You should consider using an aggregator tool, like HootSuite, that will allow you to post fresh ideas across multiple Facebook (and other) pages at once. There are various aggregator tools available just to assist with that socially active poster who needs to cover lots of land with a single idea. Here are some more apps to consider: BufferApp, TweetDeck, SocialMention and SproutSocial.
Q 7: George keeps answering what tools, but the last two questions have been what media, i.e. Yelp, Facebook. Which should restaurants focus on and in what priority?
Okay, sorry about that. Here are the top 10 Social Media networks that restaurants should target: 1) Facebook, 2) Twitter, 3) Foursquare, 4) Yelp, 5) Pinterest, 6) YouTube, 7) Google+, 8) LinkedIn, 9) Stumble, 10) other community and RSS feeds.
Q 8: How do you differentiate the professional Yelper looking for a free ride from a true influencer?
Awesome question, and one that I want to look into further. As an immediate answer, though, e-listening can track and measure how frequently an individual posts comments based on their handle-name. You can also measure if that person has a larger following of social friends and is actively tweeted or re-tweeted. As they say, data doesn't lie (even if the person who is making the posts might).