“Do we have to be on Facebook, and Twitter, and Instagram, and Snapchat, and *insert platform name here* ?”
Almost everyone starts their social marketing with a Facebook page. Highest reach among most age groups; highest engagement levels for daily users. It’s a no-brainer. But what about the rest of them?
Your customers are likely interacting with more than one social platform. The natural conclusion is that your brand should also be where they are. And that’s where the practical issues kick in.
Creating engaging content for social media is not easy. It’s certainly entertaining and rewarding. It’s also time consuming and expensive, especially when using professional creative services.
Seeing how much effort has to go into the content, the restaurant owner/marketer usually decides to cross-post the content (i.e. take the Facebook content and use it on Twitter, Instagram and maybe even Snapchat at the same time). It only takes a couple of days of practice to figure out that it’s tedious to re-post the same content across multiple channels. The next stop is an affordable marketing automation platform like HootSuite or HubSpot that allows to cross-post much faster. But is it a good idea?
While both Hootsuite and Hubspot provide the cross-posting functionality, they strongly advise their users to utilize it sparingly. A post that is effective on Facebook won’t always translate into a good post for Instagram, and even less so for Twitter or Snapchat. A little human intervention can make it look less mechanical, but it’s unlikely to be great if it’s just borrowed from another platform. As a result, the business ends up with mediocre content that doesn’t help it achieve its goals.
My advice to restaurant owners facing this challenge is to start by staking out the accounts/social media handles across all platforms they could possibly use. If the brand continues to grow it would be very sad to be held ransom by the account handle pirates! Then the owners must decide which one to focus on and keep the rest of the accounts dormant. Facebook is the default starting point; but if the brand skews much younger, Snapchat may be the right answer. Or if the brand features exceptionally striking visual innovation or is intent to promote the culinary aspect with recipe sharing – Pinterest may be the right place to be.
Whichever platform you select, keep an eye on your strategy. Are you in it for brand awareness/top of mind? For increasing frequency of your loyal visitors to the restaurant? To encourage trial for those who don’t know you?
Start with defining your strategic goals, then follow up with building a content plan to meet these goals. Plot the content into a monthly calendar for a given platform, including the target audience for each message and the appropriate hour for messaging. And at that point it’s completely appropriate to use the HootSuite or HubSpot for scheduling the communications.
Whichever platform you choose, make sure that your lead marketer is intimately familiar with that particular platform – not just with social media in general. If your choice of marketers is restricted, it’s often better to simply pick that person’s favorite platform and let them be creative with the approach (while keeping the strategy in mind). As your social media budget grows, add other platform content to the mix, one at a time. It’s more effective to build a loyal following across one or two platforms than to scatter content in multiple places.
Bottom line: Have a foothold everywhere but don’t waste time being active across all platforms until you have the resources to do each one extremely well.