EAT ME! The Do’s & Don’ts of Digital and Social Marketing for Food Businesses

By Jennifer Lam

Marketing a restaurant or a café can be an overwhelming and costly process. If you’re tired of the low success rate of your current marketing tactics, whether it be distributing flyers to nearby households or advertising coupons in the local paper, maybe it’s time to consider internet marketing this new year. 

Internet marketing doesn’t have to cost big bucks and with these results-driven strategies, you can be getting bums on seats much sooner than you think. Here are some do’s and don’ts to get you started: 

  1. DO make sure you have a web presence. Get one professionally developed that reflects your restaurant experience.
  2. DO invest in SEO (search engine optimisation). Building a search engine friendly website makes your restaurant more visible and increases the chance of potential customers finding your restaurant.  
  3. DO update your website regularly, keeping menus, costs and any specials current. 
  4. DON’T ask your staff to design a website for you, just because they’re studying a web design course. Remember that the website is often the customer’s first impression, so make it a positive one.
  5. DON’T clutter the website with poor food photo-graphy. Hire a professional food photographer and create an enticing appeal. 

  1. DO start building a database of subscribers. Use it to collect feedback, inform customers of special events or new menu items or boost sales on your quiet days by promoting a special.
  2. DO analyse your email campaigns and adjust your strategy accordingly. Look at what the customers respond well to.
  3. DON’T ask customers to opt-in if you don’t have an email-marketing plan. These people have manually opted-in and are expecting to hear from you so don’t disappoint.
  4. DON’T send longwinded e-newsletters. Keep it short and sweet with clear call-to-actions. 

Social Networks – Twitter, Facebook, Urbanspoon, Eatability, etc

  1. DO use it to engage with your customers and build a relationship. Be genuinely interested in what they have to say and never leave a conversation unfinished. 
  2. DO use it to build a reputation. Gain reviews and customer service feedback but most importantly, be human.
  3. DO set up metrics and measures. Keep the rule ‘quality over quantity’ in mind.
  4. DO respond to negative comments. Turn disgruntled customers into loyal fans. 
  5. DON’T pretend to be the consumer! Customers are able to read through this and dishonesty is often associated with having something to hide, so be transparent about who you are. 
  6. DON’T set up an account if you’re not going to regularly use it.