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9 Great Tips For Marketing A Restaurant With a Facebook Fan Page

12 Oct, 2009 McKell Naegle


In an article entitled 9 Tips For Marketing Your Restaurant With a Facebook Business Fan Page, Mark Ijlal provides some great tips for restaurants and eateries hoping to use Facebook to increase clientele. Here is his list of 9 suggestions (slightly altered) that he gave to a friend who started his own restaurant.

Read through these and let us know any you might add.

1. Give real world guests a gift certificate to become Facebook Fans

[Mark’s friend’s restuarant] serves around 600 guests every week who have already experienced his food and his place and if they are even 75% satisfied, it is worth every effort to get them to go home and Fan him up. Right now he is giving them a little business card with his Facebook URL and a promise to be invited to future wine tastings. Not good enough. Make a gift certificate for his guests who go home and Fan him up (free dessert or free appetizer next time they visit) and email them the gift certificate once they have fanned him up and emailed him. Personalize the gift certificate (Microsoft Publisher / Save as PDF) so guests know that this was made just for them.

2. Build an email list

Don’t ask guests when they are doing #1 to just email you. Let them opt-in via a simple three-line form (first name, email, did you just fan us up on Facebook?) before you email them the gift certificate so now you have added them to your email list also. In 12 months he should have couple of thousand names in his database.

3. Throw the business card away. Give out an Invitation Card to your Facebook Business Fan Page

American Express Black Card. Tiffany Blue Box. Packaging matters. Instead of giving them a cheap business card with the Facebook URL printed on it, that he got printed at Staples, let’s print a small 4 by 6 invitation card, in a linen cream color envelope, to be given to the guest. It should look so classy that a guest with a pulse would have a hard time tossing it away as soon as they leave and it is big enough that they cannot stick in the wallet and forget all about it by the time they get to their car which I suspect is happening right now.

4. Make your fans hungry. Show pictures. Daily.

I took some pictures last time I was there and put them on their Facebook Fan Page. They had guests that night and three nights later who were coming in asking for “that chicken dish that is on your Facebook”. They have daily specials. Typically two appetizers and three dinner items. They have a board in their place where they write the items up in white chalk and then the waitress recites the specials to every guest. Every night take the picture of the dishes that they are planning to put on the board as specials and at 4pm – post the picture on Facebook. Most people check their email before they leave work for the last time. Get a good looking dish in front of them before your fans make the dinner plans for the night.

5. Do 2 Wall Worthy Videos every week that have nothing to do with your restaurant

Michael did a video for his restaurant and he was actually very good in it. Not over the top Jim Kramer type but more Charlie Rose “Hey I know Italian Food” type. Restaurant kitchens are a great place to shoot videos because they have good lights, strong visuals of food being made, people moving etc. There is motion. Shoot two videos every week (Kodak has a great HD camera for around $150) that actually do not promote your restaurant directly but have wall worthiness written all over them so your existing fans might embed them in their own walls OR forward them to their friends.

Here are the first 6 short under two minutes videos I outlined for him:

  • Dry pasta vs. fresh pasta?
  • What do chefs order when they are in mood to eat steak?
  • How they eat pasta in Italy?

6. Test Facebook coupons that only last 24 hours

Michael hates using coupons to bring people to his restaurant. His objections have to do with discounting yourself to shutting down the place and his brand. I agree with him on both of these accounts. Cutting price to bring people in is the easiest thing to do and hence every restaurant does that even to the point where they start losing money. Not a good business model. But what I want to test is how fast his Fans notice something new in their Newsfeed. I want to test online coupons using Sprout coupon builder that actually shows up in his Wall and in this Fans Newsfeed and see how many of them come in then next 24 hours.

7. Do a specific event JUST for your Facebook Fans

He has only 185 fans right now. Even if 20 Fans show up for the first wine tasting that is fine. Shoot a couple of videos. Take tons of pictures. And put it all up. You will have 40 next time. 100 on your third time. Print 2 good pictures and add them to your Facebook Business Fan Page Invite envelope. Show your guests that when you say you treat your Fans with love and special care, you are serious about it.

8. Run Facebook Ads in a 10 mile radius

I spent 10 minutes on Facebook and the list of keywords that Facebook is generating is amazing. From the obvious Italian food to like discovering new restaurants. CPM’s are around 30 cents. Test it out for 90 days with a small ad budget, maybe around $5 per day.

9. Make a very very good offer on your landing page / custom tab

He has a decent landing page custom tab right now with FBML switching pictures and thanking people who become his fans. Nice but I would like to add an offer for his non-fan, just found you, via a Facebook Ad traffic. He does not want to do a coupon. But I believe that we can bump up conversions if we have a good exact offer besides the fuzzy fan-us-and-we-will-invite-you-to-future-wine-tastings type of thing.

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