Use fewer digital platforms well instead of attempting to engage on every new site or application was the message to restaurateurs navigating the digital world from industry insiders at a panel discussion hosted by OpenTable at The Restaurant Show’s Business Bootcamp on Tuesday, 9th October.
Participating on the panel was Eimear Lambe, Twitter; Matt Kirby, Fishbowl; and Mike Xenakis, OpenTable.
“Pick a few and do them well” said Eimear Lambe, setting the framework for the conversation. Don’t set up “digital graveyards”, she added.
Simplicity is key: It’s about what works for you amidst all of the channels, advised the panel.
“Try out a few applications and see where you’re most comfortable,” commented Mike Xenakis.
Using Twitter well
The 12:1 ratio is a good rule of thumb – for every tweet that pushes out information about the company, twelve should add value to the readers, explained Eimear Lambe.
Think about what your followers would be interested in reading and ask yourself whether they would share that information with others, added Mike Xenakis.
Day to day management
Some restaurants share the responsibility of managing digital media, the panelists noted. Most successful operators do delegate the role to someone internally, added Matt Kirby.
“Find little bits of time throughout the day to respond and make your tweets a dialogue. At a minimum, respond,” said Eimear Lambe. She advised modifying your communications approach depending on the platform.
Email is a great format to measure results and broadcast messages. The optimum time to send email correspondence is 4pm on Thursdays, advised Matt Kirby.
The massive shift to mobile devices was acknowledged by the panel. There is a big difference in the type of content shared on a mobile platform, they highlighted.
A benefit of mobile is the added element of location. A local busines can tap into more customers this way, said Matt Kirby.
As for measuring the impact, Google analytics is useful, as is creating trackable campaigns, noted Eimear Lambe.
“The move online has allowed for better measurement: you can see what people click and open through online campaigns,” said Matt Kirby.
However, it is important that this marketing activity translates to reservations, said Mike Xenakis.
“Whether or not you’re there, the conversations are happening about you. It’s a question of if you want to get in and shape that communication,” Eimear Lambe explained.
3 top tips from the panelists:
- Pull out your mobile device and look at how your restaurant is displayed. Do a search of your restaurant on Twitter, said Mike Xenakis.
- Do simple things like make sure you’re listed on UrbanSpoon, Google Places and TripAdvisor, added Matt Kirby.
- People are already talking about your business, join the conversation, advised Eimear Lambe. Download Twitter’s guide to best practices at business.twitter.com, under “case studies”.