Social Networking for Your Business: Part 1 [Food Establishments]

Facebook is king. The number of people using the social media website has exploded over the past few years. Business owners take note – you can take advantage of this new generation of websites. Ask yourself the following question: ‘How does Facebook help my business make money?’ The answer may seem fairly obvious –  make a Facebook page for your business. But how does that generate revenue for your organization?

Many Facebook users are composed of a younger audience (high school and college students); many of those users have abandoned radio for the portable music, and ranked current events as secondary. There goes the newspaper. Television has been traded in for Hulu and Netflix. So how does a business advertise most effectively to its prospective clients?

In the first of a two-part series, I will teach restaurant owners a basic advertising strategy – coupons, coupons, coupons for loyal customers. Your loyal customers will “become a fan” on Facebook. You can offer a coupon for the purchase of one of your more popular food items, or offer a free drink with the purchase of a meal. Maybe, you choose to offer $5 off your purchase of one or more of your food items.

These promotions are already being deployed using social media. My personal story involves a local tex-mex franchise. I’m a huge fan of their food and I became a fan on Facebook after I found out from a friend that they offer deals for their Facebook fans. Not only that, but they advertise their standard deals on the website for those who don’t listen to radio or watch television.  I once took advantage of an offer for a free cup of queso with the purchase of a burrito and drink for their Facebook fans. Another I recall was for the two-year anniversary for one of their stores – at that store, they were offering $1 burritos all day.

The key is to never lose money on an item, right? Well, sort-of. What you lose on your “fountain drink”,  you plan to compensate for in bulk sales of your “burrito”. Deploy a Facebook coupon the same as you would a normal coupon or advertisement and it rewards your loyal customers, keeping them just that. Always make the coupon or advertisement a good deal. The people who follow you are generally your most loyal customers, and you want to keep them coming. Never decrease the role of coupons or advertisements as part of your marketing strategy. That would be disastrous.

Overall, social networking can only work in your favor as a business owner/manager. It is gradually replacing other types of media where advertisements would traditionally be found, especially among the younger crowd. Reward your loyal customers for coming back and keep them coming with good deals.