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Restaurant owners know that restaurant Facebook pages are as necessary to reach the modern dining audience as the old phonebook used to be. They hire design groups to create professional close-ups of menu items and spend hours dreaming up the “look” of their Facebook page. True, the design of restaurant Facebook pages is important, but what will make your fans loyal is the intent, promise, and incentives for your fans. If they like you enough to join your fan base, they are looking for the incentive to return to your establishment. And, you should like them enough to make your message clear, make personal business goals that Facebook can generate, and not let the creative process overwhelm the usefulness of your page.
Learn From These Creative Restaurant Facebook Pages and Enjoy Success
“Promise, large promise, is the soul of an advertisement.” ~ Samuel Johnson
Creativity is important, but what is your “Promise” for their experience? We recently tracked down some very successful restaurant Facebook pages for your convenience and consideration. Let’s explore their methods of creating loyalty, excitement, and a whole lot of “likes”.
1. Johnny Rockets
There are many reasons why Johnny Rockets is one of the top-rated restaurant Facebook pages. Mostly, they are great about promoting big prizes, such as their recent Yankee Tickets contest. They constantly reply to fan comments and they stay high- profile, with their CEO appearing on “Undercover Boss”. It’s a smart mix of media marketing and publicity while building a valuable social network. Sports fans love promotions, and the contest marketing tradition is put to great use.
2. Panera Bread
This page is refreshing, isn’t it? Not a ton of busy copy; instead they focus on rich imagery that supports their brand promise of freshness. It looks like a glossy magazine page, and that stands out from the typical uniform appearance of Facebook. Restaurant Facebook pages like this paint a picture of fresh food and a healthy mindset.
Look closer – there are several interactive activities for fans to get involved in like the “Make a Sign” campaign and videos from Head Chef Dan Kish with “Fresh Tips”. Fans feel engaged and get a deeper connection to the brand with the one-one-one time feeling of the chef videos.
“Likes” are a new way of keeping score for restaurant marketing departments. It is part of how they build a case internally for shifts in budget allocations away from traditional media and toward digital media. “Likes” are votes and competing brands want to out-do the other. Beyond just ego or building an internal business case for social media, “Likes” are valuable customer affirmations and will play an increasingly important role in the future for how search engine algorithms work (up to now, keyword density and links played a big part in how search results were ranked but in the future, the number of votes — such as “Likes”, Diggs, +1, etc — will be given an increasing share in algorithm formulas).
The Chili’s landing page just jumps out at the viewer. It’s simple, it’s big, it’s colorful and it has a message that says “Like us and Get Stuff”. Who doesn’t like to know right away they will be rewarded for being a loyal fan? They have interactive contests, giveaways, and offers. This is a simple concept that still works.
4. Yo! Sushi
It seems like only yesterday that I met with Robin and his marketing folks with Yo! Sushi in London. We connected after I gave a keynote at a conference there in 2008 on the rise and importance of digital marketing. We met subsequently at their headquarters and discussed their new design and marketing strategy of incorporating highly visual Japanese pop culture fashion and Animee as a means of standing out and appealing to a more youthful and irreverent clientele. Now they’re consistently breaking new ground with their campaigns and standing out on an international level for their innovative restaurant marketing and sophisticated use of social media. It’s another great example of how “overnight success” usually starts long before it is recognized as a success. Robin is one of those forward-looking guys that “got-it” years before others did. Comparatively small as a restaurant chain, Yo! Sushi is a frequent best-practices and case study pick for those who monitor and report on global restaurant industry trends and developments. Way to go, Robin, on being so far ahead of the curve.
Why Denny’s? Well, something must be going on for this chain to show up on several top 100 lists of successful Facebook pages. Their wall page isn’t too exciting, however, the State of the Day page is an excellent alternative to simple discounts and coupons. If only their menu and general brand relevance were as up to date as their digital marketing efforts. Denny’s is an example of waiting too long to update the brand and then trying to make up for it with marketing alone. Great marketing can’t make a bad product better. Because of the failure to keep the concept current and relevant to evolving consumer dining behavior and shifts in the restaurant unit economic model, they are struggling as a chain and are having to still rely on discounts (as evidenced on their FB page) to maintain store traffic.
Hopefully, they’re working hard on addressing the more systemic brand issues hurting them at the moment, but (at least for now) they can be applauded for getting on the digital marketing curve as early and successfully as they have. Congratulations go to the marketing team that won the internal fight for digital marketing resources and also for helping show both within your company and to the wider industry that digital marketing is a game-changer for the restaurant industry.
Why Does Facebook Matter?
Remember, it matters that people “like” restaurant Facebook pages. Yet, there must be an incentive to keep them coming to your establishment. Think out of the box. Think big, yet keep it simple.
Offer fun, offer deals, and offer your loyalty to them. This means doing your part to find out what your customers want. Use your restaurant Facebook pages for feedback, comments, and to gain a better understanding of your fans. Social media has changed marketing from a monologue to a dialogue. Your customers are ready to engage, converse, immerse in the brands they love; and to know that the brands the hold in high regard are relevant today. Being relevant today necessitates adopting digital marketing and participating fully in social networks like Facebook.
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ABOUT AARON ALLEN & ASSOCIATES:
Aaron Allen & Associates is a leading global restaurant industry consultancy specializing in growth strategy, marketing, branding, and commercial due diligence for emerging restaurant chains and prestigious private equity firms. We have helped restaurant companies around the world drive revenues, increase profits, and enhance the guest experience through improved marketing, messaging, and menu engineering. Collectively, our clients post more than $200 billion, span all 6 inhabited continents and 100+ countries, with locations totaling tens of thousands.