Elements of Facebook Pages
Page profile images can have a maximum size of (w) 180px by (h) 540px. Make sure the creative reflects your restaurant’s brand in a way that resonates with your target audience(s). The area is large enough to support marketing messaging beyond a simple logo. Plus, there is no limit on how often you may change the graphic. In some instances your likers are even alerted when you do so.
The most recent update to Facebook Pages traded page tabs for a vertical navigation menu, which resides under the Profile Image. The “Wall” is the heart and soul of your page. It is where the conversation happens. Your posts, your visitors’ comments and updates of your other Facebook activities appear in a sequential format.
The “Info” tab, located to the left of your wall tab by default, is Facebook’s version of an “about us” page. Though not the most engaging presentation, the content is very important to those visitors that want to understand your business. While it does not influence outside SEO, the information is used by Facebook’s internal search. Ensure that the box includes a brief description of your restaurant, using your most relevant keywords. Also include links to your other web properties; corporate site, blog, YouTube channel, etc.
One of the most powerful default apps on Facebook is the Events tab. The app provides a complete solution for creating, promoting and managing your restaurant’s special occasions. Each event has its own page, which can host photos, videos, links and wall posts. Those that RSVP have the event posted in their wall stream and the option to forward to friends. As the organizer, you have the option to message guests directly and can even print the guest list. Just remember, attendees per event are limited to 100.
User Experience Considerations
There are two main groups on Facebook as it relates to your marketing efforts; those that have “Liked” your restaurant, and those yet to do so. These disparate groups should be treated quite differently upon arriving at your page. And despite being the network’s default setting, neither should go straight to your wall. Facebook makes it simple to define a different landing page for each user group within the same custom tab.
For those yet to click the “Like” button, your page should convey the value for taking this action. Standard online conversion rules apply. Build credibility with critics’ reviews, customer endorsements or magazine features. Offer a little opt-in incentive; a trial coupon, event access, etc. Ease your visitors’ concerns with a no-spam guarantee.
The landing page for those that already like your page should act more as an advertisement. Use the opportunity to promote your new dish, upcoming events or special offer. Change the content often to keep your audience engaged. Be sure to let your followers know when it has been updated.
According to Yankelovich, more than three-quarters of consumers do not believe that companies tell the truth in advertising. In fact, this distrust has helped fuel the explosion of social media. Screaming “Buy my food” will not work, as the audience on Facebook is not looking to be sold. You should instead engage your customers and guide the conversation that surrounds your restaurant’s brand.
- Post interesting and relevant content only. Leave out the sales “spin.”
- Repost what your guests, critics and others are saying on and off of Facebook.
- Make your audience feel special. Reward your fans for participating on your page. Though discounts and coupons do work, exclusivity and involvement can also be effective without risking your restaurant’s brand.
- Aggregate your social properties, like YouTube, your blog and SlideShare on Facebook.
- There is no correct content frequency. Every audience is different. Test various levels and ask for feedback from your likers. The numbers will show how often you should communicate.
Putting the right message in front of a receptive audience also requires impeccable timing. Automation takes the leg work out of this otherwise tedious process. It’s most simplistic application is triggered messaging. Systematically delivering predefined email messages at a particular date and time, like a guest’s birthday or anniversary.
Whereas triggers send a one-time message, a decision tree is a collection of emails that respond to various points of choice in a communication series. Think of it as one of those Choose-Your-Own-Ending books you read as a child. Your audience’s actions dictate their path, thus helping to improve the ongoing engagement of your restaurant’s email marketing program.
The two-way aspect of Facebook is social media’s true departure from traditional media. When your brand makes the decision to participate in this ever-evolving world, customers assume you accept the common etiquette. They demand responsive, personal attention. And there is often #### to pay if they do not get it. Nothing can more quickly undermine social media efforts than being perceived as a “social phony” by your audience. It is vital that you effectively respond to your customers to let them know you are indeed listening.
- Be responsive. There is no optimal timeline, but be sure to set expectations and monitor your customer’s feedback. You will know it’s taking too long if you begin to hear about it on your wall.
- Be authentic and transparent. When facing a difficult comment or question, an honest response that illustrates your restaurant’s enthusiasm and genuine concern for the customer will always fair better than silence or a veiled response.
- Be even-keeled. Maintain the high road when responding to criticism. In many cases your restaurant’s fans will come to your aid, putting naysayers quickly in their place.
- Be grateful. Unlike television or print ads, Facebook is not interruptive. Your fans have come to your page of their own volition. It is this conscious choice that makes the network such a powerful tool for marketers. Do not take it for granted. Be sure to show them that you appreciate their efforts. Comment on their pictures, like their posts, or just wish them a happy birthday. These small gestures are the building blocks of strong customer relationships in the age of social media.
Join the Conversation
A major pitfall of many brands on Facebook is the “if you build it, they will come” mentality. You must reach out and develop a lively social community around your restaurant’s page. Engage with your audience all across the network, not just on your property. The more you immerse yourself in their space, the more you will learn about your audience. Thus, becoming better equipped to communicate with them effectively on Facebook.